Sugar-not so sweet or healthy

By Jane Sylvestre, RD - 6/3/2015

What is in our food that is making us Fat?

Sometimes I walk down the aisles of the supermarket and I am so amazed at the number of products that are marketed as food, yet you read the label you can’t even understand the ingredients that are used to make the product.  This is coming from a dietitian!  What are people eating these days?  Once there was a blueberry package label that I read that didn’t even have any blueberries in it!  How does that work?  I just don’t get it.  I know companies are out to make money and it might be less expensive to make products out of unnatural ingredients, but they are compromising our health.  Remember when cigarette companies advertised their product as a healthful habit?  Our unhealthy foods are following down the same path.  Don’t be fooled.  Most people are not even aware of how bad the “food’ we eat is for us.  Look around, obesity is everywhere.   An excessive amount of sugar in many of the foods we eat is one of the culprits.

You probably know that sugar is called by many, many names:

1.Barley malt 2. Barbados sugar 3. Beet sugar 4. Brown sugar 5. Buttered syrup 6. Cane juice 7. Cane sugar 8. Caramel 9. Corn syrup 10. Corn syrup solids 11. Confectioner’s sugar 12. Carob syrup 13. Castor sugar 14. Date sugar 15. Dehydrated cane juice 16. Demerara sugar 17. Dextran 18. Dextrose 19. Diastatic malt 20. Diatase 21. Ethyl maltol 22. Free Flowing Brown Sugars 23. Fructose 24. Fruit juice 25. Fruit juice concentrate 26. Galactose 27. Glucose 28. Glucose solids 29. Golden sugar 30. Golden syrup 31. Grape sugar 32. HFCS (High Frustose Corn Syrup… Very Bad!) 33. Honey 34. Icing sugar 35. Invert sugar 36. Lactose 37. Malt 38. Maltodextrin 39. Maltose 40. Malt syrup 41. Mannitol 42. Maple syrup 43. Molasses 44. Muscovado 45. Panocha 46. Powdered Sugar 47. Raw sugar 48. Refiner’s syrup 49. Rice syrup 50. Sorbitol 51. Sorghum syrup 52. Sucrose 53. Sugar (granulated) 54. Treacle 55. Turbinado sugar 56. Yellow sugar Bonus (Fake Sugars): Splenda Aspartame

Of course, one of the most infamous sugars of all is high fructose corn syrup.  You will find this ingredient in so many of the foods we eat.  High fructose corn syrup is used in place of table sugar because it is much less expensive to produce.  For this reason, it is the sugar used in most of the processed foods in America.  This includes everything from sauces, salad dressings, beverages, sweets to crackers, breads and snack foods.  You’ll even find it in cough syrup!!  All this “sugar” is making us fat.

All I can say is do your best to get back to the basics.  Avoid buying all those pre packaged, processed foods and get back to the natural wholesome foods.  This does not mean you have to do your food shopping at Whole Foods.  I know that sometimes WholeFoods can definitely be “whole paycheck!”  By getting back to basics I mean filling your carriage with foods that come in the form that it was grown.  For example, a banana, spinach, or a nut.    The bulk of your carriage should be filled with LOTS and LOTS of vegetables and fruits.  Also include some healthier protein options such as nuts, seeds,  edamame, dried beans and chic peas (rinsed / canned ok),  fish, chicken, fat free milk, plain yogurt (eat with fresh fruit) and maybe a few whole grains like quinoa or unsweetened oatmeal (again, sweeten with fresh fruit.)  Some healthy fat, like the nuts and seeds above, avocados and olive oil are also natural and healthy contribution to your diet.  Just limit the portions of these as the calories can add up fast.  I was looking at sunflower seeds the other day and ¼ cup = 180 calories!  Wow!!  So even though a food can be wholesome and healthy and can also be a big calorie contributor.  This is why I think it is so important to fill up on vegetables.  They are so low in calories, yet really help you feel full.  I always tell patients to use them as filler!  Of course, being a bariatric surgery patient you need to eat your protein first to ensure you are not too full before you get to it, but veggies should be the second food you choose.

I always like to see how few processed foods I can get away with.  I think last week I had 4 or 5 in my carriage.  There is always room for improvement for all of us.  For example, I bought a salad dressing which I know had some added sugar.  I would have been better off using a straight olive oil and balsamic.  Start making some changes in your diet.  Start reducing the number of processed foods you eat and increasing the number of wholesome, healthy, natural foods.  You will get some exercise at the super market too because you’ll be able to walk down the aisles really fast without having to pick up many food products from the inside isles along the way.

You will be amazed at how good you feel, how much better your skin will look and how much easier it will be to lose weight once you make better food choices.  I even find that people eventually stop craving the sweets once they can eliminate them from their diet for a few weeks.   Sugar can definitely be an addiction.  You have the power to stop the addition and cravings.  Take the first step by making some changes and commit to a new lifestyle of healthy eating.  You won’t be sorry.  Watch the documentary “Fed up” on Netflix if you haven’t seen it yet.  The movie will definitely be an inspiration to make some positive changes in your diet.  You can change your whole life by choosing more wholesome foods!

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