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I am on a weight loss plan, should I eat fruit?

Fruit and weight loss

Sometimes, short stories help to paint the picture, so here I go… one fine Saturday morning at our local cafe in Coogee after a very enjoyable ocean swim…

Friend: May I get the muesli fruit salad and a freshly squeezed apple juice please…

Me: Uh?? What happened to the big brekkie and long black you always order?

Friend: This is the new me mate… I need to drop a few kilos so I’m on a health kick!

I order an omelette and congratulate him on his new found enthusiasm for his health kick and weight loss plan. At this point I have two options:

A) I could sound like a food nazi and tell him my thoughts on what he just ordered… or B) Keep my mouth shut and wish him the best of luck.

I choose the latter… the last thing I wanted to do was dampen his spirits with my thoughts with weight loss and fruit, so I thought I’d put into a blog post instead and mail it to him…

Sugar, Fructose & the Forbidden Fruit

Whether you follow a Paleo lifestyle or you are some kind of fruitarian, fruit is fruit. So lets take a look at my friends muesli fruit salad first.

I noticed there was a fair bit of banana in there, I’m guessing half of one.

So the first thing that pops in my head whilst eating my omelette is this:

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 1

i) A banana contains approximately 40-60g of carbohydrates (4-5tsp’s of that is sugar). I’ve found over the years, for effective weight loss, many peoples daily carb’ intake needs to come in under 150g per day minimum (& that’s mainly veggies).  One banana and you’ve almost hit a 1/3rd of your quota!

ii) To burn off that banana it could take up to 1hr of fairly intense exercise. In my friends case 1/2 hr.

Remember, he’s trying to lose weight here, not maintain his weight. And is he training intensively often? Not likely (sorry mate)…

Then there is the other fruit in the bowl, but more on the fruit itself in a sec’. Let’s take a look at the muesli.

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 2

I) Muesli is usually 40-45% sugar content! (yes even your ‘healthy’ ones).

II) Dried fruit (which is in the muesli) is simply a sugar hit, it’s not nutritional. Look at it this way… If you ate enough raisins to cover the palm of your hand you have just consumed roughly 10 tsp’s of sugar! Yes, 10 tsp’s!

Then there’s the chopped up fruit on top of the muesli along with the half  banana. Let’s say for arguments sake it equals one piece of fruit. There’s another 4 tsps’s of sugar.

So far my friend is up to approximately (I’ll be conservative here) 12-15 tsp’s of sugar.

The next question he should ask himself is if his muesli fruit salad is nutritional?

I’m not going to mention the rolled processed oats here, I’ll keep that for another post, let’s just stick to the fruit.

Have you ever wondered how fruit can stay fresh for so long?

Imagine having a apple tree in the back garden. When the fruit falls from the tree onto the ground, how long does it last there? Would it be fair to say a few days or week at most before it begins to rot?

If you are a major food corporation this would cause a problem. When delivering fruit to the retailers, by the time it’s transported, shelved and then sold, this process can be a considerably long time.  Then think how long it lasts after you purchased it and have it sitting in the fruit bowl or the fridge. A little bit different to your apple tree in the back garden don’t you think?

For it to stay ‘fresh‘ for so long they coat the fruit in a waxing mineral oil, which retains the moisture. This is waterproof, so washing your fruit won’t help it either. A quick search on the net and you’ll find different information about this and the waxes they use, which vary the longevity of the fruit.

In the food industry, where it may be called “wax”, it can be used as a lubricant in mechanical mixing, applied to baking tins to ensure that loaves are easily released when cooked and as a coating for fruit or other items requiring a “shiny” appearance for sale - Wikipedia

From my understanding, the problem with this is that the fruit cannot breath. Combine this with stored refrigeration and the fruit will slowly begin to ferment. The sugar content goes up and the nutritional value goes down.

Personally, I’m not too keen on the idea of eating fruit coated in waxing mineral oil, which is months old and has little nutritional value.

I still find this amazing! Does anyone have more thoughts on this? Would love to hear more on this…

Last but not least, let us take a look at my mates freshly squeezed apple juice:

Weight loss & fruit hot tip No. 3

i) Juicing fruit removes a lot of the nutrients (what’s left of them anyway with waxing & storage) by taking away the pulp and fibre. This makes for a much more concentrated dose of sugar water. You are much better off eating the pulp instead!

ii) Let’s say it takes 3-4 apples to make his freshly squeezed apple juice. One piece of fruit equals 4tsp’s. There’s 12-16 tsp’s of sugar right there!

iii) A glass of freshly squeezed apple juice is the equivalent to drinking a can of coke! Those apples can be organic and blessed by a Tibetan monk, it would still equal a can of coke. All you are really drinking is flavoured sugar water.

180 Nutrition Fruit Sugar Guide

But isn’t the Sugar in Fruit Different?

The sugar in fruit is fructose. This is a little different to your regular table sugar as fructose has no immediate effect on your blood sugar levels. The reason for this is that it is metabolised almost exclusively by the liver. Even though there is no immediate effect, it has plenty of long term effect.

The liver has never evolved enough to the kind of fructose load we are starting to have in modern diets. When we flood the liver with fructose, our liver responds by turning much of it into fat shipping it off to become fat tissue. This means that this is the carbohydrate we can convert to fat most readily! If this is done over many years along with other sugars and processed foods, you are seriously asking for trouble.

In my mates case, he’s had a big hit of concentrated fructose from the juice and the fruit muesli. Along with long term storage of fruit and wax, the question he needs to ask himself is – by eating this kind of breakfast am I helping my health kick and new weight loss plan?

“The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Meira Field, PhD, a research chemist at United States Department of Agriculture, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high-fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.”[59] While a few other tissues (e.g., sperm cells[60] and some intestinal cells) do use fructose directly, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver.[59]

“When fructose reaches the liver,” says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, “the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose.” - Wikipedia

Conclusion

I don’t want to make out that fruit is the villain here, but I do feel smarter choices are needed regarding fruit. When you think that over 60% of our daily calories in the typical western diet includes – cereals and grains, sweetened dairy products, vegetable oils, dressing and condiments, sugar, bars and sweets – Rewind the clock and look at a Palaeolithic human existence, humans would not have derived any of their energy from these things. If you are eating many of the above foods and then compound it with fruit and more importantly fructose, surely this is only fuelling the problem with ones weight?… but more importantly health?

Do I eat fruit?

Yes I do, but not a great deal of it and I buy organic when possible. I’ll usually use a few strawberries or dessert spoon of berries in my 180 protein smoothie in the morning along with a fresh coconut for breakfast. This is simple to prepare and non processed. I’ll also have a 180 protein smoothie with a banana in after an intense workout. I’ll have the odd apple or orange if I feel a bit parched. So I’ll end up having at least 1-2 pieces of fruit in my daily diet, but keep in mind I’m a pretty active person and I’m usually doing some kind of exercise, whether it be gym or play six days a week.

I don’t drink fresh fruit juices, if I do have a juice it’s vegetable based – spinach, celery, cucumber, capsicum etc. I usually sweeten it up with a yellow grapefruit and a lemon. This makes for interesting taste but I honestly don’t mind it. I find things taste very different when you have hardly any sugar in you diet. At the very least go for 30% fruit and 70% green based vegetables.

To sum it up:

  • I eat organic fruit when possible
  • I mainly eat berries, strawberries & raspberries
  • If I’m training fairly intensely I’ll also eat bananas
  • I generally eat 1-2 pieces of fruit per day
  • I often have a high fat smoothie instead of high fruit

So the next time you see me eating an omelette for breakfast in the local cafe…  you know why!

13 Fruits To Eat (And 4 To Avoid) If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

Fruits To Eat And Avoid

Lynda: When did ‘nature’s candy’ become a poison to avoid? Many people are genuinely concerned about fruit intake. Some (including yours truly) have even gone as far as avoiding fruit altogether for extended periods of time. Do we all need to avoid fruit, and if we do, are we missing out on magical nutrients and flavours?

Why Are We Concerned?

The main reason some of us worry about fruit is because of the naturally high-sugar (fructose) content of some fruits, which some believe may affect our blood sugar levels and weight-loss goals and may contribute to diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

There are also those who are sensitive to fructose. These people may experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as bloating, belching, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea after eating fruit.

While I believe food sensitivities and GI symptoms need personalised dietary attention and further investigation, I do think that most of us are avoiding fruit unnecessarily and missing out on a great deal of disease-preventing, health-promoting goodness.

Need convincing? A quick glance at the benefits of my top fruit picks below should sway you.

blueberries1. Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in the flavonoid anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Studies show that blueberries can improve memory and learning and reduce depression.

raspberries2. Raspberries
Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that can improve cardiovascular health and prevent hardening of the arteries. Raspberries contain raspberry ketone (RK), which burns fat and prevents obesity and fatty liver. Raspberries have also been shown to possibly prevent the growth of cancer cells.

blackberries3. Blackberries
Blackberries burst at the seams with antioxidants. These compounds are protective and help to prevent tumor progression, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and bone loss.

cherries4. Cherries
Cherries are rich in the antioxidants anthocyanin and quercetin, as well as potassium, fibre, vitamin C, carotenoids, and melatonin. These nutrients have impressive health benefits such as prevention of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and inflammatory conditions.

kiwifruit5. Kiwifruit
Kiwis are a personal favourite of mine. They are exceptionally high in vitamins C, E, K, folate, carotenoids, potassium, fibre, and phytochemicals. Kiwifruit have substantial cardiovascular benefits like reducing high blood pressure and increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol. Kiwis support the immune system and may even reduce the risk and severity of the common cold and flu. It’s even been shown to improve poor sleep quality in those with sleep problems due to its antioxidant and serotonin content.

papaya6. Papaya
Papaya and papaya seeds have proven anti­-parasitic activities. The dried papaya seeds in particular are effective in treating human intestinal parasites, without significant side effects. Papaya may be useful in preventing kidney damage, is amazing for digestion, and reduces common IBS symptoms, such as bloat
ing, constipation, and heartburn.

avocado7. Avocados
Avocados are fruits full of nutrients that can assist in weight loss, reduce inflammation, and protect and nourish the heart and brain. See more on avocados here: Can I Eat Too Many & Will They Make Me Fat?

tomato8. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene is anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant. Tomatoes are a very valuable addition to one’s diet, particularly to support heart health and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

green banana9. Green Bananas (Raw)
Green bananas are an amazing resistant starch, which has many health benefits, like weight management, diabetes control, and cholesterol lowering.

grapefruit10. Grapefruit
Studies have shown that grapefruit can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. Grapefruit is also a great addition to a weight-loss program and can improve insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

oranges11. Oranges
Orange peel and flesh are rich sources of flavonoids and compounds associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and cardiovascular benefits, and have been shown to lower high blood pressure.

lemons12. Lemons
The combination of lemon intake and walking has been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, and magnesium and are an excellent source of fibre, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, and folate. They have been shown to suppress weight gain and body fat accumulation and improve insulin resistance. The presence of flavonoids in lemons helps to aid digestion and assimilation of food.

apples13. Apples
Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. Apples also improve weight loss and lung function.

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What Fruits to Avoid

fruit salad1. Fruit Salad
Eating fruit salad is a very easy way to over-consume fruit. Stick to whole fruit pieces to avoid excessive fructose consumption.

fruit juice2. Fruit Juice
Fruit juice lacks the fibre, vitamins, and minerals that whole fruits contain. The fibre in whole fruits helps to slow down sugar absorption, regulate bowel movements, and reduce constipation. Manufacturers often add extra sugar to fruit juice, which can affect blood sugar balance associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

dried fruit3. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit has had its water content removed, making it extremely sugar dense. Dried fruit often contains preservatives, added sugar, and harmful inflammatory vegetable oils.

daiquiris4. Mango Daiquiris and Dessert Wines
Toxic sugar and chemicals in a fancy vehicle. Enough said.

 

How Much Fruit Should You Eat Daily?

Stick to a modest one to two medium-sized pieces of fruit or ¼ to ½ cup of berries daily.

lynda griparic naturopathThis article is brought to you by Lynda. She is a fully qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with over 13 years of experience in the health industry. Lynda specialises in detoxification and weight loss. She has extensive experience in running healthy, effective and sustainable weight loss programs and has expertise in investigating and treating the underlying causes of weight gain and metabolic problems. If you would like to book a consultation with Lynda, CLICK HERE

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The So Called “Healthy” Breakfast Foods I Won’t Feed My Kids

Healthy Children Breakfast?

Angela: Breakfast is such an important meal and I can’t say it enough it should not be missed. Making time for a healthy breakfast to break your fast is ideal in achieving a healthy metabolism, balanced weight, good concentration levels and making good food choices for the rest of the day.

Breakfast sets us up. Missing breakfast gives us lack of focus, low concentration and energy levels, more chance of cravings, especially sugar, and less chance of making good food choices through the day. Some so called ‘healthy’ breakfast foods like fruit juice and cereals are loaded with sugar and not a good start. Here are my breakfast do’s and don’ts for myself and my children …

Muesli Don’ts

museli healthy breakfastMost supermarket bought muesli’s are high in sugar and contain processed carbohydrates. Toasted muesli also contains damaging vegetable oils. I avoid these (Here’s our thoughts on cooking oils).

Muesli Do’s

Make your own homemade muesli. You can use olive and coconut oil to toast your own muesli. You can avoid using sugar or use sugar-free alternatives and can make it grain-free by using quinoa flakes or other grain-free alternatives.

Our healthy grain-free granola recipe here.

Fruit Juice Don’ts

health food fruit juicesFruit juice is just straight up sugar and just as bad as a fizzy drink. Fruit juice can contain more sugar than a can of Coca Cola. Up to 12 tsp per glass. You are better off eating a whole piece of fruit so that you consume the fibre along with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and feel full after one or two pieces. There can be up to 10 apples in a 200ml bottle of apple juice and that’s not the fibre just straight up sugar. Learn more here why we don’t like fruit juice here.

Fruit Juice Do’s

Make your own juice with 80% vegetables and 20% fruit or make a Green smoothie instead. I love smoothies as you consume the fibre as well so nothing is wasted. I always include protein, vegetables, good fats and low fructose fruits like berries. Try our Greens Cleansing Smoothie here. Packed full of goodness and only takes a few minutes to prepare.

Toast Don’ts

gluten free breadDon’t have gluten free toast and think you are doing yourself a favour, or by adding organic strawberry jam. Most gluten free breads have sugar in their ingredients, contain thickeners, stabilizers and emulsifiers to give them the same texture as the gluten based breads. Also many gluten free products are made from corn, potato, tapioca and maize starch, which send your blood sugars sky-high.

Toast Do’s

Try instead spelt sourdough or our paleo style bread which is gluten free, high in protein and nutrient dense. Sourdough is made with a fermented dough that makes the bread easier to digest and doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in blood sugar levels. The gluten in sourdough is rendered and is less likely to cause food intolerances. Spelt is an ancient grain which has lower levels of gluten that people find easier to digest.

Fruit Salad Don’ts

fruit salad healthy breakfastHave you seen those fruit salads that are piled high with fruit the size of a truck. I suggest having no more than 3 pieces of fruit in a whole day. If you are going to eat a mountain of fruit which contains sugar you are going to have spikes in your blood sugar levels and leave you hungry for more.

Fruit Salad Do’s

Try adding protein like greek yoghurt, 180 Natural Superfood or chia seeds along with having low fructose fruits like berries.

Cooked Breakfast Don’ts

cooked breakfast healthy breakfastHash browns fried in vegetable oil and for that matter everything fried in vegetable oil. Tomato/BBQ sauce is laden with sugar. Do you know that 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce has 2 teaspoons of sugar? No veggies on the plate and a side of white bread containing gluten and no fibre. This is why I don’t eat wheat here.

Cooked Breakfast Do’s

Cook with coconut and olive oil. Include tomatoes, mushrooms, greens, asparagus and avocado. Have paleo based breads. Include free range bacon, smoked salmon, eggs or what about sardines.

Conclusion

Don’t be scared to think outside the box. Breakfast can be the same as lunch and dinner. It’s OK to have leftovers from the night before. Make sure you include real food, good fats, vegetables and protein. Some ideas here.

Supercharge Your Breakfast with 180 Superfood Protein – Learn more here

What To Eat When On A Detox

Detox Foods List

By Guy Lawrence

If you follow our Facebook page, you may know that I am on an 8-10 week detox. I have a parasite that’s killed all my good bacteria, and has essentially affected my feng shui in the gut!

I am taking Metagenics supplements too, but these have been prescribed to me for a direct role related to my gut.

Why is this post relevant to you?

If you fancy implementing a clean eating plan for a few weeks, then the foods I’ve listed below will do the trick nicely.

For those of you that follow my blog, you’re probably aware I can’t do fluffy and nice to well, as I need to say it as it is. So if you think detoxing is buying some kind of tea from the chemist, or cutting out the potato chips for a limited time whilst ‘detoxing’, I apologise in advance. My purpose is honestly to educate and inspire, not to intimidate and throw it in the all too hard basket. But if you want the sugar coated topping without the real deal, buy a copy of a glossy magazine like No Idea.

One step at a time

For some just stopping alcohol for a month and having a cup of lemon tea is detoxing. Simply cutting out sugar or stopping that 3pm cookie fix is detoxing too. Whilst these are all fantastic and are steps in the right direction, I think it’s healthy to understand why you are doing it and the choices you are making. And if that’s where you need to start then go for it! Just don’t fall back to old ways after a week.

I feel I’ve surrounded myself with the best in the health business, and I am being guided all the way through my detox by Naturopath Tania Flack. So if you are looking to go the whole nine yards with a detox, I suggest you check out a local Naturopath in your area and be guided the right way too.

If not and you just fancy cleaning up your diet, then following my eating guidelines below will certainly help a great deal!

The detox foods I eat

Detox foodsTo make life easy I’ve grouped them into macronutrients; Protein, fat and carbs. I will combine all these foods to the best of my ability. I’m no Jamie Oliver, but I enjoy the challenge of the detox to make me think more creatively when it comes to what I can do with food.

Pic right: The difference between my creativity & Healthy Playful Living’s creativity whilst making detox friendly foods.

Main Source Of Animal Proteins

I will be having a palm size portion of these 1-2 times a day.

  • Fish
  • Grass fed beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Eggs (3 = 1 serve for me)

I will avoid eating:

  • Processed meats
  • Sausages
  • Pork
  • Bacon
  • Dairy – I only have limited dairy usually which is cream in my coffee, a little cheese in my omelette, butter & the grass fed WPI whey protein in the 180 Protein Superfood. I don’t drink milk. But all these are off limits for me for 8 weeks.

Main Source Of Plant Proteins

I will avoid eating:

  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Main Source Of Fats

Essentially most fats from their raw natural sources

  • Coconut Oil (Will do all my cooking with this too)
  • Coconut milk & cream
  • Egg yolk
  • Olive oil (cold only)
  • Macadamia oil
  • Avocados & avocado oil
  • Liquid Metagenics Fish Oil
  • Fats from 180 Protein Superfood Vegan
  • Saturated fat from grass fed meat

I will avoid eating:

  • All fats in 95% of supermarket products (usually hydrogenated). This is a no-brainer and should be a priority whether you are on a detox or not! If you want to learn more about this, read David Gillespie’s book Toxic Oil. It’s a must!
  • Homogenised fats. i.e found in most full cream milk & chocolate. I avoid these anyway.
  • Butter & cream :( I Love my butter & cream, but it’s gone for 8 weeks due to the dairy free protocol. Margarine isn’t an option, & if it’s in your fridge go and throw it in the bin right now!

Main Source Of Carbohydrates

  • Green vegetables – Combination of cooked & raw with most meals
  • Coloured vegetables - Combination of cooked & raw with most meals
  • Sweet potato – I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Pumpkin - I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Quinoa - I’ll have this after heavy exercise sessions
  • Some legumes

Fruits I will eat:

  • Berries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Avocado – Knowledge is knowing it’s a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad :)

I will avoid eating:

  • All bread
  • Grains (unless listed)
  • All flour & pastries
  • Sugar (No-brainer)
  • White potato
  • Essentially 95% of supermarket products (Again, whether you are on a detox or not you should seriously consider these things)

Fruits:

  • I’ll avoid all other fruits except those listed above for the duration

So there you have it in a nutshell. I understand that I haven’t gone microscopic with the foods, but you get the idea. Feel free to share any recipes you have with me!

To make myself accountable, I am tracking my meals & progress over on:

- Instagram

- Twitter @180_Nutrition

- Facebook

Simply type #180detox into any of these 3 social media platforms search fields to see all.

Are you on a detox? What do you think a detox should look like? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, Guy

Can I eat honey and agave syrup if I am trying to lose body fat?

Is honey healthy

By Guy Lawrence

‘For all but the last few hundred years (a heartbeat on the genetic evolution time scale), really sweet foods have been difficult to find.’ – David Gillespie

Sugar… It’s a delicate topic. Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you will know that sugar has been copping a lot of flack from the media over recent times (and rightly so I feel). But even with all this media attention, it still washes over many people’s heads and gets thrown into the all too hard basket, with my mate included.

I’ve been guiding my mate now for quite some time with the misconceptions of weight loss and his health kick. He felt that eating fruit salad would help his weight loss plan, counting calories and drinking diet sodas was a healthy choice, following the food pyramid was  beneficial and hours and hours of running a week was going to improve his health. Then I challenged him and his way of thinking and asked him to reconsider his approach, and thankfully he has so far.

We caught up for a cuppa and a chat recently, and as he puts a great big spoonful of honey in his tea, he looks at me and says “this is ok isn’t it? I mean, it’s natural right?”

He then tells me he’s stirring lots of agave syrup into his porridge in the morning too. O’ dear…

In my head I’m thinking ‘mate, if it’s sweet it usually means there’s sugar in there, natural or not.’

But I did not want to deflate his efforts as he was making great progress overall. His intentions where honorable, but he was a little off the mark.

I felt it was now time to delve into a little more about sugar… I just hoped he was ready to hear what I had to say…

Some technical stuff on sugar

SugarYou could write a book on this stuff, in fact someone has and it is called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie (a must read if you care about your health). So bear with me here as I try and condense masses of information into a paragraph in this blog post.

From my experience, when you think of sugar, most people will think of table sugar. So white, brown, caster, or raw sugar is pretty much all the same.

Now table sugars technical name is ‘sucrose’. Sucrose is actually made up of two simple sugars – glucose and fructose – at molecular level. When you eat sucrose, your body actually digests it as half fructose and half glucose. Make sense?

To recap:

  • All types of table sugar = Sucrose
  • Sucrose = 50% Glucose + 50% Fructose

So if you ate 10g of table sugar (sucrose), your body is actually seeing and digesting 5g of glucose and 5g of fructose.

To throw a little more into the mix, there are only three important simple sugars: glucose, fructose and galactose. All sugars you are likely to come across in food are going to be some form or combination of these three.

For instance, fruit will contain sucrose, fructose and glucose. But our body see’s this simply as fructose and glucose because we now know sucrose is a combination of both.

Another good example is milk, which contains the sugar lactose. Lactose is a combination of glucose and galactose.

These three sugars make up the majority of food we call carbohydrates along with fibre (cellulose). Fibre we don’t use for energy.

Now contrary to popular belief, sugar is quit rare in nature. It’s just that us humans have made it insidious and put it in all our food and beverage products. A lot of manufactured foods are basically bland as bat shit so they load them up with sugar so they taste all sweet and yummy.

Now we certainly know sugar impacts our health from stressing the body by effecting blood sugar levels and increasing insulin production. These things alone effect longevity of life (I’ve covered all these things on many posts with more to come). But what seems to slip under the radar a little is fructose.

Fructose has minimal effects on impacting insulin and blood sugar, hence it’s low GI. The problem is that fructose is much more damaging than glucose or galactose. It’s actually 20-30 times more glycating (damaging) than glucose. Why?

In wikipedias own words:

“The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Meira Field, PhD, a research chemist at United States Department of Agriculture, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high-fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.”[59] While a few other tissues (e.g., sperm cells[60] and some intestinal cells) do use fructose directly, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver.[59]

“When fructose reaches the liver,” says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, “the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose.” - Wikipedia

In other words, when we eat glucose we have controlling mechanisms. We can use the glucose for energy and/or produce insulin to convert the glucose into fat and save it as stored energy. Fructose on the other hand bypasses the controlling mechanisms and is directly converted to fatty acids. So all the fructose we eat is converted to fat.

apple juiceNow if you consider an apple is approximately 8% fructose (2 teaspoons), throw in the fibre, skin, flesh and all the other nutrients and an apple a day isn’t going to knock you sideways… But the moment you start to process these things (like 10 apples to make a juice) and it’s a different story!

Fructose is even found as one of the main ingredients in many health/weight loss products. It’s used as a cheap source of carbohydrate. The mind boggles…

If companies started listing their ingredients transparently with pictures next to them like we do here, I think things would be a little different.

And to top it off some bright spark came up with high fructose corn syrup – HFCS – (it’s in lots of processed foods), which is extremely damaging. Think of it as an industrial strength sweetener. I read recently that this is the number one source of dietary calories in the USA, amazing!

Do you have these foods in your daily diet?

These are some of the foods sweetened with HFCS: Sodas, cookies, soups, salad dressing, sauces, bread, peanut butter, mustard… To name but a few but you get the picture. Read the labels first. Fortunately HFCS doesn’t get used as much here in Australia as it does in the US, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that changes in time. It’s cheap to produce, transport and store. As always just follow the money.

As mentioned by the Wikipedia quote above, there have been numerous studies undertaken where animals (usually rats) have been fed a high-fructose diet, and they developed livers of an ageing seasoned alcoholic.

Then if you look at the rest of your food and how they are affecting your insulin and blood sugar levels, you could be digging an early grave with your fork. A good example of unsuspecting food is breakfast cereal. Did you know that there are breakfast cereals on the market that effect your blood sugar levels more than glucose? Incredible.

Personally, if I was a diabetic or suffering high cholesterol/ high blood pressure etc. The first things I would cut out of my diet are fructose and breakfast cereal. But that’s just me…

honey

Agave syrup & honey

So back to honey in my mate’s cup of tea and agave syrup in his porridge. We now know if you want to have a fatty liver like a raging alcoholic and get fat, consuming lots of fructose daily will greaten your cause. If you don’t want that, cutting back on your fructose intake is a smart move over the long term.

You know what’s coming next right? Honey is on average 38% fructose. Agave syrup is anywhere from 70% fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.

Agave is touted as this wonderful natural sweetener. The only thing wonderful about it is the marketing. Agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup are made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes.

Quit the sweet stuff

Should my mate quit the honey and agave syrup? It’s entirely up to him. But I would suggest to taking a close look at his diet and seeing how much processed foods, breakfast cereals, processed fruits, dried fruits etc make up his daily diet. I try and keep my fructose intake to a minimum. I’ll get it through a little bit of fruit each day. Personally I don’t sweeten things, as I don’t have a sweet tooth as I don’t have much sugar in my diet.

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…

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Are diet sodas a healthy choice?

Diet Soda Health Risks

By Guy Lawrence

“They may be free of calories but not of consequences.” - Professor Helen Hazuda speaking on diet soda.

After knocking the wind out of my mates sails regarding his healthy fruit salad and apple juice (click here if you’ve no idea what I’m on about), the next topic that came up on the radar was his diet soft drink. You see, the next logical step for my friend to take whilst on his weight loss plan was to be drinking the ‘diet’ stuff instead of  ‘normal’ stuff.

I mean, if a soft drink has the word ‘diet’, ‘sugar free’ or ‘low cal’ etc… It’s got to be healthy for you right?

His new found enthusiasim for his health and weight loss plan had already taken a dent regarding fruit and sugar, so I understood the switch to sugar free soft drinks. After he finished guzzling down his cold can on a sunny day I said one word to him… Aspartame.

In a nutshell, this was my response…
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