So you’re consuming more ‘good’ fat and less of the ‘bad’ fat you say? Good for you. Good fats are essential to a healthy body when consumed in the proper amount. So why, in spite of your work-outs, diet and rest patterns are you not losing weight? Read the labels on the foods you typically consume and you might find the answer. In the 50’s a popular study emphasized at that time that too much fat was a major contributor to American’s heart disease issues. Our diet culture has largely been shaped around this study’s concept that all fat was bad but also missed highlighting the negative effects of sugar. In short, food manufacturers began trying to replace the missed flavor that fat generates in food with the addition of sugar to enhance flavor. Just take a look at some of your pantry goodies such as your favorite crackers, those condiments condiments such as catsup and salad dressings that make those veggie burgers and salads oh so much more palatable. (See the complete list of ‘Danger Foods from one of my favorite sites here.)
So what’s so bad about sugar, you ask? Not a thing if you’re okay with spikes in your blood sugar which load you onto what is referred to as the ‘high-glycemic rollercoaster.’ and those around you don’t mind you being in a semi-perpetual state of hangry (hungry & angry). Sugar will make you feel even more hungry as it will not quell your appetite, does create mood swings, and also stores excess fat in your body and makes you and addict (yes, perhaps more addictive than cocaine!). Oh, and did I forget to mention the scary risk of sending you down the path to Type 2 diabetes?
Okay, so now you’re scared, but no need to be if you choose healthy sugars which are a vital component to keeping your lean machine running, literally. The sugar molecule, the simplest form of carbohydrate according to MayoClinic.com, is absorbed into your bloodstream and becomes glucose, the fuel for body functions as crucial as breathing and as enjoyable as running. Your body stores excess sugar for use later (like for that early a.m. HIIT workout!). So get that sugar fix, but get it from the good stuff, like honey, certain yogurt types, fruit (bananas and also apples-added to my salad tope my list), vegetables (esp. carrots) and whole wheat bread.
And don’t forget to read those labels. The nutrition panel will list ‘carbs as sugars’ and this includes both natural and added sugars. As of March of this year (2015) The World Health Organization’s new guideline suggests that both adults and children now lower their daily intake of free sugars to no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. On the ingredients list of the nutrition panel, the higher up the list, the more sugar the product has. Look for the ‘ose’ ending which includes sugars such as maltose, sucrose, lactose, fructose, glucose). And don’t let words like xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol scare you off. These occur naturally in small amounts in plants and fruits and are common low-cal sugar replacements to provide that sweet taste we love with few calories. You can use xylitol to replace sugar in an equal ratio for home baking, too, and can be easily purchase at a variety of health food stores.
All righty, then. Read those labels, drink lots of water every day, eat 5-6 small meals a day with lots of protein and fiber-rich foods, don’t forget breakfast and HIIT it 3x’s a week!