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Tag Archives: sugar

Ditch the Sweet Stuff

Posted on July 18, 2016 by

Ditch the Sweet StuffWhat’s Hiding in Your Pantry? Go ahead – open the door.  It’s in there and you won’t have to look too far. Take the first package you see and turn it around. Find the nutrition label and look about two-thirds of the way down the list.  What do you see?  Total Carbohydrates – eeeek!  Sugar is hiding in places that you would least expect and may be the prime culprit in your battle of the bulge.

Carbohydrates tend to be mostly empty calories and leave us wanting for more almost as soon as we’ve finished whatever was in the package.  These sugars cause an excess blood sugar surge and trigger an insulin release in your body. Insulin, also being a fat-storage hormone, promptly sends these calories packing – right where you don’t want them – around the mid-section (aka Belly Fat!)

Cutting back on carbohydrates may help you do more than just lose weight.  Studies show that there are dozens of additional health benefits when eliminating extra sugar from your diet.  Here are 10 of our favorites!

1. It lowers your chance of diabetes

Just 2 sodas a day increase your chance of becoming one of the millions with Type 2 diabetes by 26%.  Steady sugar intake can result in insulin resistance. Easy decision – drink water!

2. It reduces your risk of certain cancers

Research suggests that risk of certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, can be attributed to excess sugar intake. Why take chances?

3. It may lower your blood pressure

Excess weight has long been considered the major factor in hypertension. New studies indicate that sugary foods can also increase blood pressure. When the heart and arteries are taxed over long periods of time, damage can occur in the whole circulatory system.  This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, kidney damage, artery disease and other coronary conditions.

4. It promotes healthy skin

Added sugar can leave the skin looking dull and wrinkled. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins, a process called glycation, that results in damage to your collagen and elastin. It may also leave your skin more prone to sun damage.

5. It improves brain function

Sugar can eat away at your brain cells much like it does your tooth enamel! Research shows a correlation between impaired cognitive function and excessive sugar intake. It has also shown to reduce the proteins that are necessary for memory and responsiveness.

6. It decreases your bad cholesterol

Consuming too many carbohydrates may lead to lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) as well as higher triglycerides (blood fats).  Clogged arteries can lead to heart disease!

7. It may help you avoid fatty liver disease

Fatty liver disease is very common in this country and is directly related to the excess sugar in the American diet.  High blood sugar results in excess insulin in the system that drives fat into the liver cells. This disease can increase your risk of diabetes, heart attacks and even cancer.

8. It makes for easy breathing

Those that partake in a high carbohydrate diet may be more likely to suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country!

9. You’ll have more energy

Carbohydrates give you energy – right?  Wrong!  Excess sugar actually decreases the activity in our orexin cells. These cells help keep us awake and lift our metabolism – that could explain the need for a nap after a carb-filled lunch.

10. You’ll have more $$ to spend on the fun things in life!

We recently talked with a surgical patient who had added up the cost of all the sodas and junk food he had been buying compared to what he was now spending on good food.  Even we were amazed!  You can save hundreds of dollars each month – and spend it on something to celebrate your healthy life!

How Healthy Are Your Holiday Traditions?

Posted on November 30, 2015 by

Holiday traditions are often based on recipes that have been handed down through generations and those memories that cling to the scents and sights of particular foods. Why should this year be any different? You’ve sifted through your favorite family recipes and all you see is sugar, butter & flour, right?  Don’t get discouraged – by making some substitutions, you may be able to enjoy them after all!

Using artificial sweeteners is tholiday_traditionshe most obvious switch. It seems like there are new options on the shelf every week but, not all sweeteners are the same!  If the dish you are making will not be cooked or baked, you are safe to use your favorite no-cal sweetener.  Baking or cooking is another matter – Splenda is one of the few that holds up under heat. Use the type that is specifically made for baking and cooking as it measures differently than what’s in the little yellow packets.

You might be able to cut back on the butter or shortening in some of the recipes.  Butter used for cooking shares its flavor well and you may not miss the extra fat.  Applesauce or other pureed fruits are a common substitute for butter and oil in recipes but watch out for the extra carbohydrates, it may not be worth the switch. Using a low-fat dairy product in place of the heavier one is generally okay but you may notice a bit of difference in the texture of your dish.

Flour may be one of the trickiest to switch out and you may have to do a bit of experimenting before you are truly happy with the results, but there are many options on the market today.  Flour made from nuts has a forth of the carbohydrates that wheat flour has and has the benefit of added protein as well. Soy flour is a great option too, it contains just one third of the carbs in all-purpose flour. You can substitute (both nut & soy flour) 1/4 – 1/2 of the amount of flour in most muffins, cakes and cookies.  Whole wheat flour has more fiber than white flour so it lowers your effective carbohydrate count but cannot always be substituted one for one in recipes. Crushed nuts or some of our protein Biscotti work great as crusts for pies or cheesecakes!

There are several low-carb baking mixes available either online or in health food stores. The reviews are pretty good but I have not tried any of them.

Check out the recipes that we have already tested!  Many of them may be similar to what you are trying to recreate.  You will find a great selection on our blog at www.cfwls.com/blog/, website (search recipes) or on our Pinterest page at www.pinterest.com/cfwlsva/.

 

Fat is NOT the Enemy

Posted on August 22, 2013 by

Although I specialize in bariatric surgery and enjoy fitness very much, I believe the one thing that will undermine any weight loss/fitness plan is not understanding or underestimating the power of food and how the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat affects your ability to lose weight.  That is why I developed Weight Management University™ and integrate education about all aspects of nutrition in all of our weight loss plans.  We want you to be successful, happy and satisfied.

Nearly every week at CFWLS, I hear a couple of comments from people just like you.  In fact, perhaps these are/were familiar to you:

“I exercise every single day and I am not losing any weight!”                                                   “I eat a very healthy low fat diet and yet, I seem to be gaining weight!”

The reason this occurs is usually a misunderstanding of how to balance your carbohydrate, protein and fat intake.  That’s the focus of this newsletter and of course, there is much more to learn but that’s the joy of your weight loss journey.  Once you understand the concepts of these macronutrients and balance them in your life, you will find yourself less hungry, losing weight and likely resolution of some underlying metabolic problems you have.

Sweet poison?

Sweet poison?

With regards to fat, I want you to understand that Fat is not the Enemy.  If I had to pick a primary “enemy” source with regards to food, it would be insulin which is controlled primarily by your sugar intake (all carbohydrates break down into sugar).   Thus, when I am out and someone says – “Look, I am going healthy – I bought no/low fat” I cringe.  If you compare labels for whatever the item is, you will find that the manufacturer has decreased the fat but increased the carbohydrate content.  If they didn’t, you likely wouldn’t eat it because it would not taste good.  Here are a few facts about fat:

√ Fat is the body’s preferred and most reliable form of energy, which is why we store excess energy as fat on our bodies.  If your body has less carbohydrate (sugar) as an immediate source of energy, it can finally get to breaking down fat for energy (which = less fat).

√ Fats help keep you feeling full (less hungry = a good thing).

√ Eating a controlled carb diet with adequate protein and healthy fats like those found in salmon or avocados is the easiest way to inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiety.  It also improves your ability to access stored body fat rather than lean body mass, which is helpful for fat loss and long term success (since your lean body mass is what drives your metabolism).

So…the next time you reach for the low-fat/no–fat options, you might want to think again.  More on these power foods in this newsletter and Weight Management University™.   See you at CFWLS – we are here to help!