If the item is bad for you but tastes good, does the ‘tasting good’ have weight in deciding if it’s truly bad or only partially bad? I’m starting to think that is the case. I have even heard people state that eating ‘bad’ food is OK every now and then. Unfortunately, that typically means regularly. Because if you rarely eat bad food, when you do eat it, you will feel ill. It takes regular consumption for your body to process bad food without disruption of your system.
How about when we take a good item and processing makes it bad but tastes better than the original good item. Now we are all in trouble because yes oats are healthy, but oatmeal cereals are very unhealthy. Oranges are great for you but orange juice is the worst thing you can drink. Grapes are great but grape jelly is not. Potatoes are good but French fries are bad. Based on what takes up more space on grocery store shelves I can tell you which forms are sold in greater quantity.
Healthy looking packaging, farm scenes and use of those words make items appear healthier. Looking at the processed meat aisle I was shocked at how many farm scenes, craft paper-like wrappers and the use of the actual words ‘farm’, ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’ were used in the name of the product. I can tell you that processed meat will never be healthy no matter how pretty they wrap it up and suggest that it is. The same can go for the cereal aisle.
Commercials that proudly announce the health benefits of their products. This is often on those once ‘good’ food items that have been processed and no longer good for you. Boxed cereal is the biggest culprit in this scam. Wheat, sugar and lots of chemicals make up most boxed cereals and they should not be considered a healthy breakfast choice. But they will tote that a breakfast with whole grains support a healthy meal and therefore healthy for you. Sadly, anything good was is lost when items such as whole grains are heavily processed and added to the sugar and chemicals also found in those boxed cereals.
We live in a world where fast and cheap win over quality and health. It will never be easy, fast or super cheap to eat healthy. You will have to work for health and it’s not always cheap. But health is always worth working for.
I don’t like sugar. I don’t like that sugar is a leading factor for obesity and diabetes. I don’t like that people don’t watch their sugar intake or understand its damaging effects. I don’t like that fake sugars are seen as better alternatives when they are equally as bad. I don’t like that sugar is so addictive. I don’t like that our own government subsidizes sugar growers. I don’t like that our own government does not require % listings on food labeling for sugar in foods when it does for all other ingredients.
That’s a lot of dislike and why I have a major issue with sugar. Not the naturally occurring sugars found in fresh fruit, I am referring to added sugars. It’s everywhere, many people are not worried about it and seems to be linked to so many of our nations medical and weight problems. There are over 60 names for sugar added to food (I listed just a few at the bottom of this post). The government does not require the food label to state how much of the sugar per serving is added vs natural. So you need to know the names of those added to understand how much you are getting.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that on a daily basis no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) should be consumed for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The range issued for kids is hard to narrow since it depends on their age but typically they agree that children should not consume more than 3-6 teaspoons (12-15 grams) per day. So based on these numbers, that is not a lot of sugar to take in.
You don’t even have to eat junk food to reach your daily sugar totals. I find that most added sugars can be found in popular breakfast choices. Especially when they are flavored. Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal packages 13-19 grams (3rd ingredient listed) vs 1 gram in the plain Steel Cut Oatmeal. Special K Red Berries is 9 grams vs regular Special K cereal has 4 grams (3rd ingredient listed on both). Typical bagel with nothing on it has 6 grams of sugar. Add a flavored smear and you add 5 grams of sugar per 2 tbsp. Plain nonfat Chobani yogurt has 4 sugars which are naturally occurring, but opt for the Chobani Coconut and you are up to 13 grams of sugar. Flavored varieties over plain always have more sugars.
Sugar needs to be reduces in all diets. One way to do this is to limit packaged foods used in meals and move to fresh foods. Naturally occurring sugars are fine when consumed in their natural state. So opt for strawberries or apples and nuts vs. a breakfast bar. Or try slow cooked version of steel cut oats and add fresh blue berries for sweetness. Great site for low sugar, natural food recipes is www.mindbodygreen.com
My preference is go cold turkey. I think it’s better to just cut it all out and go through the withdrawals and feel better in a shorter window of time vs going slow. But you have to know your personality and your level of tolerance. So if you need to start slow then start with one meal a day and each week make small changes until you can incorporate more fresh items. Eliminating packaged foods is ultimately your goal. Preferring fresh options. Quality over speed. It may take you a little longer to prepare but your longevity and quality of life are worth every minute.
Here are just a few names for added sugar:
Dextrose, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, carbitol, disaccharides, galactose, isomalt, sorghum, sorbitol, malted barley, glucitol, erythritol, Florida crystals (seriously!), mannitol, maltodextrin, hexitol, inversol, malts, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol, evaporated cane juice, maltose….