Healthy Diet

Junk Food Disguised as Health Food

Health Food might be the largest growing industry with regards to groceries on the shelves. It seems like every week there is some new product out there making outrageous claims and taking up residence on the fancy shelves nearby the organic produce…that’s how you know it must be good! Right?

Well let’s talk a little bit about some wolves in sheep’s clothing, junk food disguised as health food, and foods that were designed for one specific population or usage but are being used too generally by the public and regarded as “healthy”.

Clif Bars: Perhaps these bars have pictures of cliff-hanging rock climbers on them because you’ll need to participate in that level of adventurous activity to burn off all the sugar lurking in these! The “Crunchy Peanut Butter” flavor has 17g of added sugars (see label: first ingredient is brow rice syrup. A sneaky way to say added refined sugar.)! Although the rest of the ingredients are not too bad these bars are not an ideal way to spend 250-300 calories. Instead try an RX Bar. They contain no added sugar and any sugar in the bar comes from natural sources like dried fruit.

Slim Fast: “Meal replacement” shakes took the dieting world by storm during the 1990s and 2000s. They’re quick, easy and promise convenient, steady weight loss. However, we now know that they are more likely to leave you hungry continuously because chewing is an important process for feeling satisfied from the food you eat, AND check out this number from Slim Fast’s flagship Chocolate Milk Shake: 18g added sugar in the only 190 calorie shake! That’s nearly half the calories from processed sugar. Not only will you still be hungry, but you are in for a sugar crash!

Sabra Hummus: Read your hummus label carefully! Chickpeas, Lemon juice, EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Tahini. That is all it should contain aside from added spices for flavor. Sabra and many other varieties of hummus in the grocery aisles are made with vegetable oil which is significantly less healthy than EVOO, and contain preservatives like potassium sorbate. Additionally while many people think of hummus as a high-protein snack it only packs 2 g per 70 calorie serving, which is ok! Not everything you eat needs to be high protein, but it is important to know what you’re in for.

Whole Wheat: Many people think of “whole wheat flour” or “whole wheat bread” as a health-food, but standards for what passes as “whole grain” are quite low. Most of these products are just about as “healthy” as white bread or white flour. Most “whole wheat” is just as processed and refined, has a nearly identical glycemic index, low fiber content, and likely has sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and/or hydrogenated oils. *Hydrogenated or Partially-hydrogenated oils (mono and diglycerides) are essentially Trans Fats that don’t have to be labelled. AVOID THEM. Nature’s Own is one popular bread brand out there with many ugly ingredients lurking within the label. Instead search for a “sprouted” whole grain bread like Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 or Angelic Bakehouse bread (both found many places now including Costco!).

Peanut Butter: Peanuts. Mashed. That is what makes peanut butter. Maybe salt if you like. Unfortunately though, most peanut butters have added sugar and palm oil or some other oil added. Instead of always choosing foods based on the pretty front label drawn up by their marketing team, start choosing based on the backside of the label mandated by the FDA. It is also important to note that peanut butter is predominantly fat which makes it a satisfying snack that gives you energy, but it doesn’t really fall under the category of a “high protein” food.

Sports Drinks: One 32 oz classic Gatorade contains about 52g of sugar! Keep in mind that Gatorade was designed for elite athletes competing at a very high level for sometimes several hours in the heat (originally from Florida). This drink is not designed to quench the average thirst of the average person. Many forms of Gatorade have unsavory additives and artificial flavors or colors, and even G2 which boasts about half the sugar achieves this by adding an artificial sweetener. We’ve suggested avoiding artificial sweeteners in the past, but if you’re going to choose a product that contains them, at least make sure it doesn’t ALSO contain 20g of sugar for goodness sake!

Try this electrolyte recipe instead:
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/06/16/water-outperforms-sport-drinks.aspx

Watch For Too Much Sugar!!!

We get so many questions on sugar but we hate to make sweeping assumptions that one food or substance is the root of all evil!  I usually leave the nutrition talking to Tiffany, our weight loss director, however, you can’t watch the news or read a fitness or health magazine and think that sugar isn’t at least contributing to America’s Obesity epidemic!  So, let’s take a look!

CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO

To clear this up a bit let’s look at some science!  Blood Sugar is a sticky substance that coats the red blood cells. If left in the bloodstream (instead of being burned as energy) the particles will start to stick to the cells interfering with blood circulation. Naturally occurring sugars are broken down and used for energy. However too much  “added sugar” can lead to:

Suppression of your immune system: Free radicals can cause a lot of damage in healthy cells and lead to many illnesses of the body. Research has shown that white blood cells are less efficient at fighting illness when exposed to sugar.

Diabetes/ High blood pressure: Due to the interfered blood circulation this causes high blood pressure (forcing the blood through the body at above normal levels of pressure). Your body will also become less efficient at regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels due to spikes and drops in insulin release. These conditions can lead to: heart attack, stroke, eye conditions, nerve damage, and kidney damage.

Excess Weight:  Sugar in the blood that is too much for the body to consume completely is stored as fat. Too much fat in the body can lead to obesity, and obesity is known to trigger diabetes and heart disease.

Wrinkled skin/aging: Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and other white flour products are high in sugar and will cause an inflammation of the skin. This in turn creates high levels of free radicals which attack the collagen that keeps the skin stay firm. Without enough of this collagen, you will start to notice wrinkles. When we eat too much sugar, the process called glaciation can occur. When this happens, some of the sugar we consume sticks to the proteins in our body, causing our body tissues to lose their elasticity. It is not just our skin that is affected, but also our internal organs. The faster that the body loses its elasticity, the faster aging occurs.

Attached is a great handout we use at Ellipse to help clear up some of the questions on sugar. (Click this link to download attachment)  I think the most important thing to watch is ADDED sugar, like in soda or juice.  Naturally occurring sugars in fruits, etc wouldn’t get such a bad wrap if we were controlling our consumption in other areas!  Let me know if you agree, or what you do to regulate the added sugars in your diet!

I’m not sure how scientific this picture is, as I saw it on Facebook, BUT—it does make you think of a FEW ways to cut back on the white stuff!

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