By Rich Franklin
Extracts and spices are often useful with foods. Sweet
potatoes are a favorite of mine. I like them plain, but occasionally have a
sugar craving. Try putting cinnamon and vanilla extract on it. It will help
fool your body into thinking it is eating sugar.
I love granola in the morning, but it is processed and I
avoid processed foods as much as possible. Instead of buying granola, I use
plain oatmeal and use sliced bananas and honey. I avoid processing and control
the sugar content.
During a tough training session sports drinks are very
convenient and useful, but I hate the processed sugar and enriched electrolytes
in them. Instead, try coconut water. It is full of natural sugar and
At a restaurant, ask the waiter to put mint leaves into your
water. It will give it a hint of flavor and possibly make it a bit more
palatable for those who like to drink flavored beverages.
Ever try freezing your fruit? Try freezing grapes or any
fruit of your liking for a snack. It takes longer to chew them and gives you
the feeling of eating candy.
This article concerns sugar and sugar products added to food, not naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit.
The annual sugar consumption per person has risen from 124 pounds in 1970 to 170 pounds in 2008 (USDA statistic). Often, these numbers are a bit inflated because they are based on production and sales, and the USDA has no way of measuring actual consumption. Some product is wasted or disposed of due to shipping or a number of other variables. Let us err on the conservative side and assume each person consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year.
We do some simple math…carry the 1 and that is about 750 calories from sugar per day. Most nutrition labels will read, “based on a 2000 calorie diet” at the top of the label. If 750 of your daily calories come from sugar, that represents over 1/3 (33%) of your total calories (actually it is 37.5%). 33% represents way more than the little tip of the pyramid we are all too familiar with from grade school.
If you are consuming 750 calories from sugar, chances are you are eating more than the 2000 recommended. These excess calories equal fat, and the damage excess sugar does to the balance of the human body is another article. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar for men and 20 grams for women per day. One can of most sodas contain more than 40 grams of sugar. Pay attention to your nutrition labels and look for sugar additives if the grams are not given.
Artificial Sweetener: Sucralose
by Rich Franklin
It is nearly impossible to avoid artificial sweeteners in our
modern world. They are in virtually every “Low Carb” or “Diet” food and drink on
the market, but you may be surprised by some of the other products in which you
find them. Of the many artificial sweeteners, sucralose is one of the most
popular, and can be found in an array of processed foods like baking mixes,
salad dressings, jelly, chewing gum, or even common household items such as
mouthwash or toothpaste.
There are many versions of artificial sweeteners, but let’s
focus on sucralose. It was discovered by
accident in a lab while trying to develop an insecticide. The chemical name of
sucralose is way above my pay grade, but simply put it is a manipulated sugar
molecule bonded with a few chlorine atoms. However, the sugar portion of
sucralose is manipulated in such a way that it is no longer naturally occurring,
and your body lacks the enzymes to digest it properly. Combine that with
chlorine and you have an organochlorine.
Organochlorines can be found in pesticides, Freon, plastics
and many household cleaners. We are environmentally exposed to more than we
realize, and they can be extremely damaging simply by contact, let alone
ingesting them. FDA reports show small
percentages of sucralose will actually metabolize. Common sense tells me
metabolizing a chemical similar in structure to a pesticide (DDT for example) is
not good for the body…no matter how small the percentage. Organochlorines have
been associated with such things as blocking sex hormones, several types of
cancer, infertility, and this list could go on. They are fat-soluble and
accumulate in tissues high in fat such as the brain, and are believed to store
there permanently…compounding with exposure over time. If you would like more information on this
subject, check out “Sweet Deception” by Dr. Joseph Mercola.
The bottom line is that many people believe they are eating
healthy when they choose a food with the label “low carb,” “low fat,” or “diet.”
There are many ways to label a food “healthy”. Know that a packet of Splenda
contains 4 calories (from the manipulated sugar portion), but can be listed as
zero since if is less than 5 calories. Between the chemistry of this product and
the nutritional value, in my opinion it is better to allow yourself a little
real sugar than the alternative. We all know sugar should be limited in our
nutrition, so products like sucralose do not give us an excuse to forgo the
discipline to control cravings. My advice is to make informed decisions, and try
to eliminate sucralose as much as possible if not eliminating it completely.