I find sugar to be one of the worst ingredients in the human diet. It has been connected to multiple diseases and now it is linked to causing heart disease. It breaks down the endothelium, our body’s most important protective barrier. Sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine in laboratory studies. When laboratory rats were given a choice between cocaine and sugar, the majority chose sugar. It causes mood swings, irritability and lethargy.
I decided to eliminate all sugars from my diet. My main source of sugar was vanilla soymilk. At the time, I enjoyed about eight ounces of this sweet creamy soymilk in my morning coffee. I began making my coffee with plain, unsweetened soymilk. I found I was only drinking about ¼ cup before abandoning it on the counter. I would notice with amazement as I walked back to the kitchen at lunchtime that I wasn’t drinking my coffee. I thought I was hooked on the caffeine. This went on for a week or so until I stopped making it all together. I didn’t experience headaches from caffeine withdrawal. I was confused until I realized it was the sugar in the soymilk I was addicted to. The first thing I had every morning was sugar in soymilk camouflage.
Whole fruit is the only source of natural sugar designed for human consumption. Isolated or concentrated sugar is not natural in our diet. Eating fruits in their whole food form is ideal, whereas juices are not. Whole fruit is complete with fiber to slow down the absorption of fruit’s natural sugar in our system. Juices remove the fiber from the whole food, disrupting the fiber and allowing sugar to be rapidly absorbed in our system. Sugar in liquid form such as soda pop, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, and juices are not health promoting choices. Not even organic pomegranate juice comes home in my grocery tote. Have you ever had a pomegranate? It is full of seeds encased and surrounded with little burst of juice. When consumed in its whole form, the fiber of the seeds is present. This slows down the digestion and slows down how much you have time to consume. It’s brilliant how nature grew things in perfect form for us to consume.
Unfortunately we started to blend, process and concentrate all of these perfect foods. We made an orange go from a healthy snack to a glass of five oranges with the fiber removed. Let’s just call that glass of juice a sugar and calorie overload. If your teeth fell out and you’re on a liquid diet, it is acceptable to blend your food. If you are underweight and want to pack on a few pounds and can’t be bothered with eating, juice and blend up your food.
I’ve had many overweight students who were making smoothies for breakfast. They felt they were doing something wonderful for their bodies. They looked at it as fruit, but never looked at it as sabotage to their calorie budget and sugar overload on the first meal of the day. Some of them drank their smoothie alongside a bowl of oatmeal covered with dried fruit and nuts. Let’s break it down. Are you going to do a triathlon after breakfast or will you be driving to work? How much caloric energy do you need? The average fruit smoothie I was finding in food journals contained 424 calories and 50.6 grams of sugar. Typical ingredients included : One whole banana (105 calories and 14.4 grams of sugar), 1 cup frozen blueberries (84 calories and 14.7 grams of sugar), 1 cup vanilla soymilk (100 calories and 8 grams of sugar), three dates (60 calories and 13.5 grams of sugar) and 2Tbs flax seeds (75 calories). We compared their smoothie with a 7.5-ounce can of Coca-cola, which has 25 grams of sugar and 90 calories. The smoothie will set you up for an unproductive day, in terms of reaching your health goals. No right-minded person on a diet with a goal of shedding unwanted body fat would drink a coke for breakfast. This smoothie is double that in sugar, more than four times that in calories, but is camouflaged with fruit. Eat your fruit; don’t blend it. When you eat whole fruit, you will feel full longer and it will be less taxing on your liver. If you drink a smoothie, you will likely need a mid morning snack. The example of the smoothie provided is actually an example of a somewhat simple smoothie. I have found some to include fruit-sweetened yogurt, raw honey, and agave nectar. Agave is liquid sugar and is no healthier than honey and maple syrup. I have even seen a smoothie at the store that is ready-made sweetened with cane sugar. Cane sugar is sugar. Along with honey–raw or not, agave–organic or not, or coconut sugar, it all acts the same in your body as sugar.
My goal is to help you understand which foods are health promoting, and which foods are not. There are many products that are labeled and marketed as “healthy” that are not. You are not to blame if you are confused by marketing and product packaging. These products are basing their health factor on being a better choice than most other choices; however, they’re often still poor choices. If a cereal bar says “healthy”, it is because it is better than a candy bar. It doesn’t take much reduction in sugar to allow this labeling. It is also allowed to contain many food additives, chemicals, artificial sweeteners and colorings. We can’t put an end to this major problem in advertising, so I will teach you how to stop relying on packaged foods. You need not worry about ingredients and labeling any longer. You will save money and time spent trying to find healthy packaged choices. They do not exist, so stop looking for treats and bars that are healthy. I’m here to sort it all out, break it down and give you the knowledge and education to gain perfect health.