Is it Added Sugar?

I gotta say, I feel slightly badly about posting this incredibly yummy picture of chocolate at the beginning here. It makes my mouth water just looking at it. Here is why I put it here, as a reminder that it nutrition is mind over taste buds:

Making you aware of the recent trends in the food industry has always been a priority of mine, especially when you may think they are a positive change that will help you with good nutrition. So the question here is: Does substituting the white pulp of the cocoa bean count as added sugar in your diet?

The following is an article from That Sugar Film Website, that discusses the positive and negatives of this new trend.

“As awareness around limiting added and free sugar intake increases, food manufacturers are innovating and testing alternatives to provide (what they believe to be) a better, yet still sweetly satisfying, option for consumers to delight in.

Nestlé has recently announced it will be using the white pulp of the cocoa pod — the fleshy part that surrounds the cocoa seeds or beans — in place of “refined sugar” in some confectionery products.

Sounds great, right?

Before we start reaching for these pulp-sweetened chocolates, let’s clear up the confusion around the term “refined sugars”. 

In recent years, this term has been commonly used to differentiate between highly processed sugars, such as white table sugar, from those sugars or sweeteners some consider “healthier”, such as rice malt syrup or coconut sugar. 

But to the body, freely available sugar will still be treated and processed as sugar. Sure, there are better versions than others, but let’s not trick ourselves into believing that because a sugar or syrup is considered less refined, we can glug back a tonne of it. 

So, the removal of some “refined sugar” in a piece of Nestlé confectionery is irrelevant. It is what they replace it with we need to consider.

To our understanding, the cocoa pulp being used in place of stock standard sugar is processed into a dried fruit sugar product and maybe classified as free sugar.

This is because the powder is not an intrinsic sugar, the type of sugar found incorporated within the structure of intact or whole fruit and vegetables, or sugars from milk.Intrinsic sugars we are not concerned with (we absolutely endorse eating whole veg and fruit); it is the added and free sugars we need to keep an eye out for.

The original cocoa pulp, which contains intrinsic sugar, is dried and made into a powdered sugar alternative via a patented technique. It this processing that sees the sugars fall under the definition of free sugars, which includes those originally and naturally present in fruit and veg but processed into a powder, juice, concentrate, purees, and extruded veg and fruit products.2

Nestlé has stated that by using the powdered pulp, overall sugar content is reduced by 40%. That is a plus, along with claims Nestlé is using the cocoa pulp, among other initiatives across their food manufacturing processes, in an attempt to reduce food waste.

This is great from an environmental and business perspective as currently, a fair proportion of the pulp is wasted in the chocolate-making process. 

But this doesn’t make the chocolate they make a ‘health food’ at the end of the day, and if you are going to have some, such products should be treated as a once-in-a-while food.  And as with all other free and added sugars, consumption should still be limited to 6 teaspoons (25g) per day.”

Article By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med)

Boring Breakfast Solutions:

I am always looking for new products that support healthy, clean eating. I realize that sometimes that means options that are in the processed food isles. Here are the latest items added to my local store that, with a little tweaking, are great breakfast ideas:

I tell clients all the time that as we demand better products, the industry will respond. This cereal is an affordable way to get a balance of fruit, fiber and protein with limited sugar. To make it a powerhouse breakfast, add a handful of your favorite nuts and/or fresh berries and serve with milk or plain yogurt. Now you have boosted the protein content and it keep you fuller longer.

This is a great one for Sunday mornings with the family. These pancakes only require eggs and milk/water. They are also low in sugar and bake up fluffy and light. Add berries or sliced banana and a smear of peanut butter and you have a balanced meal.

Foods to Ease Anxiety

Did you know that some foods will help ease anxiety and encourage “feel good” hormones in your brain (ie. serotonin)? With the hectic, busy lives we live these days, it is helpful to know what foods help you reduce anxiety and support your immune system for your best health.

Here’s a list:

Walnuts – high heart healthy fats, magnesium and Omega 3s

Oatmeal – a regular serving actually changes brain chemistry and activates serotonin. Also helps combat pain and bring on calm feelings. Not to mention the bonus of fiber since it is a complex carbohydrate.

Bananas – this fruit improves the transportation of tryptophan into the brain to be converted to serotonin

Salmon – Not only full of Omega 3s, but is rich in tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin)

Spinach – Nutrient dense powerhouse. A mood booster rich in magnesium, a natural way to relieve tension and relax muscles

Chia Seeds – touted as a tryptophan powerhouse. These little seeds help boost mood and promote restful sleep. Easy to sprinkle on salads, add to smoothies, and to garnish meats.

Perhaps some of these were a surprise to you, or perhaps you knew them all. Oatmeal was the one that I didn’t expect because I always focus on eating it for it’s fiber content. Find ways to include these in your daily eating and you will reap the benefits of less anxiety and a healthier body.

source: The Trails Mix July 2019 issue 146

Servin’ the side dish: Asparagus

This post is aimed at giving you new ideas to make vegetables interesting and tasty again. Whether it be for kids or your significant other, Asparagus is worth a second look. Here’s why:

a 1/2 cup serving delivers folate, vitamin C and iron. Plus 1/2 days worth of Vitamin K, which helps absorb Vitamin C.

Here are some ways to mix it up using asparagus:

  • Steam until bright green and slightly crispy. Overcooking them makes them limp and bland green, much less tasty.
  • Chop spears into bite sized pieces and add to a stir fry or fried rice recipe
  • Dredge spears in flour, dip into beaten egg, then roll in breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden. Or throw coated spears in your air fryer until golden brown.
  • Cut spears and cook in microwave for 3 minutes until slightly tender, then toss with rice or pasta, sprinkle with butter and shredded cheese.
  • Include lightly steamed asparagus with greek yogurt dip as a veggie tray snack for events or while doing homework/work before dinner.

resource: 7 Foods Your Kid Doesn’t Like (yet), Parenting Magazine, May 2019 modified by eatlivefit.net

Sugary Drinks plus Sitting are Metabolism Killer

Several recent studies are looking into how sitting still for hours (ie. work) and combinations of lifestyle choices have on our bodies. Here is a great example of how the combination of more than one influence can have an impact on our overall health. This article was posted recently to That Sugar Film’s website and is worth the read.

“As tasty as they may be, any joy gleaned from drinking these beverages is momentary, with the impact to the body significant and enduring if you are knocking these back on a regular basis.

It is well documented that excess sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is correlated with weight gain,1 and a few sips provide a sugar high from which we soon come crashing down, only to crave more.

Beyond these, there are other impacts on the body we should be concerned about.

Sugary drinks and metabolic function
A recent review noted that one SSB a week, such as a can of soft drink, could raise blood pressure. Two cans increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

This is because sugary drinks provide large doses of quickly accessed added sugars, such as fructose and glucose, which the body has to work hard to rapidly metabolise. This places immense strain on body organs and systems. Long-term, this may lead to various issues with health, including cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

Individuals may experience metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including high blood pressure, abdominal weight gain, increased blood triglycerides, decreased HDL (‘good’) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

To further add to this growing area of research, a recent trial undertaken by the Baker’s Institute2 studied the impact of sugary drinks on the metabolic function of the body in a ‘real world’ situation, where prolonged sitting with no activity and up to 750ml of soft drink consumed between meals each day is common.

The study
The small, randomised control trial took 28 overweight and soft drink sipping participants, aged 19-30 years, and compared the impact two sugary drinks had on blood glucose and lipid metabolism with water consumption. The drinks were taken after breakfast and lunch at mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

The researchers found when sugary drink consumption was combined with 7-hours of sitting, circulating fatty acids and triglycerides levels were reduced, indicating suppressed lipid metabolism. Simultaneously, blood glucose and insulin levels were significantly elevated.

What does this mean for us?

“The acute metabolic effects outlined in this study are very worrying and suggest that young, overweight people who engage in this type of lifestyle are setting themselves on a path toward chronic cardiometabolic disease,” says senior study author Professor Bronwyn Kingwell.

“This highlights significant health implications both for individuals and our healthcare system.”3

The moral of this sweetened and seated story? Sugary drinks are not required in the human diet. Regular overconsumption of added sugars can increase the risk for weight gain and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, liver and heart disease.

So, sub them out for water (sparkling or plain, and maybe infused with fresh slices of fruit) and make sure you move regularly throughout each day to reduce the risk of some pretty serious health conditions.”

By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med.)

References

  1. World Health Organization 2015, Sugars intake for adults and children: Guideline, viewed 31 October 2018, <https://www.who.int/elena/titles/ssbs_adult_weight/en/&gt;
  2. Varsamis, P et. al 2018, “Between-meal sucrose-sweetened beverage consumption impairs glycaemia and lipid metabolism during prolonged sitting: A randomized controlled trial,” Clinical Nutrition Journal, viewed 31 October 2018, <https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(18)32392-6/&gt;
  3. Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute 2018, Study reveals the damaging metabolic effects for inactive, young, obese people who consume soft drink regularly, media release, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, 17 September, viewed 31 October 2018, <https://www.baker.edu.au/news/media-releases/soft-drink-metabolic&gt;

Note of Motivation

Many of you set new goals as you began the new year and right about now, the newness is most likely wearing off. It may even feel too difficult to carry on. The comfort zone may be coming back to haunt you, teasing you to come back. Don’t let it creep back in! You started a new path and to see change, you need to keep keepin’ on!