Nutrition Class, Nutrition Tips

Nutrition Class 3 | Carbohydrates | Part 3/3

This is the last part of carbohydrates so if you didn’t read part one and two this might be a little confusing. This entire post is about SUGARS and can be read on its own.

Before I begin I just want to point out again that I’m sharing what I’ve learned from the course — https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:WageningenX+NUTR101x+2T2016/course/ — and my own experiences. I will clearly indicate when it’s from the course, it’s the cursive writing, so there is no confusion.

Health Effects from Sugar

If you’ve been following me awhile you might remember the little short challenge slash project I was doing on my Instagram while I was doing this week. This week in the course was the most eye opening and started ‘slap of reality’. It was a bloody good point I was making and although I stopped after a few shares, I still keep this into account. It’s almost a year later and it still helps with my sugar consumption. I still 100% agree with all of my slap of reality posts so I’m going to re-share a few of my favorites.

Here is the picture to the first every slap of reality post.

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Knowing is one thing but seeing it is another and that’s my goal behind Slap of Reality. I want to show you just how much sugar is in your favorite goodies. Awareness is key. My goal is not to completely put you off from ever enjoying said treat. Now I’m going to throw the math at you. This snicker bar which consists of two 40g bars (but let’s face it you can’t just have one and leave the other one to feel lonely) contains 41,4g of sugar in total! So more than half of the actual sneaker bar is just sugar. To put it even more in perspective the total recommended sugar intake for myself is 65g. A healthy diet does in fact consists of sugar but the problem is that this sneaker bar that will take up more than half of my total sugar intake for the day is empty calories meaning it basically has almost zero nutritional value. My normal diet which consists alone of 65g (or that’s the goal) will be added to this 41,4g. A little bit of added sugar does little harm and thus can be part of a healthy diet but we are not informed or educated to properly interpret ‘a little bit’. And I’m sorry but 41,4g of added sugar is not a little bit 1g of sugar contains 4 calories which means in total the sugar alone in this sneaker bar is 165,6 calories. But I’m not done yet: I burn 13,536 calories in one minute of CONSTANT squatting. So this means it would take me 12 minutes and 23 seconds (give or take) of constant squatting to burn ONLY the sugar in this sneaker bar! It really makes you think doesn’t it? It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth and an addiction to candy goodness but after learning about the negative health effects of sugar and the over consumption of it is eye opening. I’ve tried so many things in the past to cut down my sugar intake and this is probably the most successful. Seeing just how much sugar I would truly consume if I eat that sneaker bar and how much hard work it would take for my body to burn it is enough to make me rethink before eating my candy treats and that’s why I think ‘Slap of Reality’ is a clever way to reduce your sugar consumption

There is another slap of reality post I want to share so here goes.

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75,4% of this packet is sugar. That’s 24 teaspoons of sugar. It has zero nutritional value. My slap of reality series is truly eye opening and not once have I been able to eat or drink any of the products I took the time to work out how much sugar it contains. I finally made that switch to sugar free candy. This is probably for the first time in my fitness journey that I’ve been able to stay candy free for longer than 7 days because now there is just no way of escaping the facts. I encourage anyone to take those extra few seconds to read the label and then make the educated choice if you want this inside your body. There is healthier alternatives for almost everything highly processed on the market. Now I’m in no way shape or form trying to throw shade on any of the products I show in this series. They just happen to be my favorite brand and favorite candies. Again like I’ve mentioned before a small amount of added sugar (25g according to the World Health Organization) won’t be considered unhealthy but this packet of sugar, I mean candy is not it. If you really adore these packets of candies, split it up into smaller portions. I personally can’t see myself devouring an entire packet in one go ever again. Be smart with your sugar, your body will thank you for it.

Looking back to that is a big ‘wow that’s insane’ moment. I really should start doing it again every time I want to stuff my face with a lot of sugars. I had a moment last year but now I take the sugar free option where I can. I also read the labels and explore my options for products with low sugar. Curing a sweet tooth doesn’t happen overnight. I mean I feel like even my new blog readers knows I’m a sweet tooth. I’m rewarding myself after one year of candy free by going to the northern lights. Now I’m even trying to follow a very low sugar diet. I will talk more about it some other time but let’s talk a little more about the course and what I learned from it. I mean this week inspired slap of reality which kind of forever changed the way I think of sugar and has made a massive difference in my overall health.

The next part comes straight from the course.

Sugar consumption

Many foods contain substantial amounts of sugar, often without us realizing it. Did you know that a blueberry muffin can contain up to 45 grams of sugar? And that a 12 oz (355 mL) can of regular Coke contains nearly 40 grams of sugar. Since so many foods contain sugar, how much sugar are we actually consuming?

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Negative health effects of sugar

Why is the high sugar consumption in many countries considered to be bad? A number of valid arguments exist against consuming lots of sugar. An important concern is that added sugar is almost a synonym for empty calorie foods. Empty calorie foods are rich in energy (calories) but are relatively devoid of other nutrients and thus carry little nutritional value. The higher the consumption of empty calories, the less room there is for nutrient-rich foods, decreasing the nutritional quality of the diet.

Another concern is that sugar is often consumed in liquid form, for example in soft drinks or fruit juices. Scientific studies have demonstrated that consumption of a food in liquid form is less satiating than consuming the same food in solid form. For example, drinking apple juice is less satiating than eating an apple. High consumption of sugar-rich beverages may therefore lead to caloric excess and weight gain.

WHO’s current recommendation, which was last revised in 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day. The new draft guideline from 2014 also proposes that sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day. It further suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits. Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI). The suggested limits on intake of sugars in the draft guideline apply to all monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) that are added to food by the manufacturer, the cook or the consumer, as well as sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The guidelines from 2002 were met by strong opposition in the USA from the US Sugar Association. The US Sugar Association urged lawmakers in the US congress to consider withdrawing funding to the World Health Organization.

Before I continue, the course goes into a lot of detail about sugar (there is another 16 pages worth of information) and I really don’t want to copy and paste everything so I’m going to try to keep it as short as I can. If you want to read everything (16 pages)

An ongoing sugar frenzy

At this moment, there is a lot of discussion about sugar and obesity. Many people believe that excess sugar consumption is a major culprit in the current obesity epidemic. The negative image of sugar is mostly confined to added sugar, not the sugar already present in foods such as milk and fruits. People such as Gary Taubes and many others have written books and generated lots of publicity claiming that the high sugar consumption is responsible for most of today’s health problems, especially obesity. According to them, eating sugar makes you ill and fat. They claim that most of our health troubles would simply disappear if we stop eating sugar. The anti-sugar movement preys on the inherent desire among the general public to appoint a convenient scapegoat to a particular societal problem. And with that I don’t mean to say that people such as Gary Taubes don’t have a point. I am just saying that people like to hear that a very complex problem has a very simple explanation. Accusations have also been raised against sugar as contributing to poor mental health, including depression, impaired learning ability, and anxiety, although these are very poorly substantiated. Other people have gone so far as to consider removal of dietary sugar as a universal panacea.

What is the view of nutrition scientists? Most nutrition scientists and health authorities have expressed concern, serious concern about the high sugar consumption in many countries, and recognize that efforts need to be undertaken to lower added sugar consumption, especially in children. However, they do not consider its avoidance a simple cure for obesity and are not necessarily happy with the singular focus on sugar in certain media and the hyperbole that inevitably accompanies a blind fixation. They are concerned that the overemphasis on sugar and fructose has distracted us from the importance of avoiding caloric over consumption, which ultimately is responsible for weight gain. Reducing sugar intake will certainly be helpful toward that effect but obviously there is more to the contemporary diet that demands our attention.

The course continues with the strategy that the sugar industry is taking which was quite interesting to learn. It then looks into replacing sugar by non-nutritive sweeteners. There is one last part I want to take out from the course before we call this sugar lesson a day.

Sugar and tooth decay

Nowadays, excess sugar consumption is mainly discussed in the context of obesity. But before our society became obese, sugar already had a bad name for its connection to tooth decay. From a dentist’s perspective, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including juice and sports drinks, can damage teeth and should thus be discouraged. Sugar itself is not directly damaging to teeth. Sugar provides the substrate for bacteria that grow in our mouths and produce acids. It is the acid that negatively affects our teeth by softening and gradually dissolving the hard enamel surface covering the teeth.

This part was interesting to me as well all know that I have some teeth problems and I blame it all on my really high sugar consumption the majority of my life. I’ve been meaning on seeing the dentist since the health insurance restarted this new year but I’m being a massive baby. I will probably surrender soon. I still loath seeing the dentist. The entire experience is horrible and I always got sick afterwards so honestly being adult sometimes sucks. But let’s finish this post before I get distracted.

The course continues talking about health effects of dietary fiber, lactose intolerance, diabetes and glucose intolerance. It’s truly a very informative and great source. I’m going to end this blog here as I feel like I’ve made my point. Sugar can be a silent killer. Keep your sugar consumption into account. I’m not saying cut all sugar out for the rest of your life I’m saying enjoy it in moderation and go for the healthier option when you can. Weigh loss will most likely follow. I hope you found this post enriching and educational.

Thank you so much for reading. I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips, Story Time

My First Special Candy Occasion | Candy Free

Boy oh boy was it hard to wait eighteen days to finally tear open a packet of candy and stuff my face. By day twelve the cravings started to kick in but I was going strong. The northern lights is one juicy carrot. As my birthday neared, my first special occasion since the challenge started, the excitement grew and grew. I carefully considered what candy I would enjoy on the day but eventually after some time I decided on soft wine gum candy and chocolate. Compared to the normal I would say it’s on the more side of things but it’s definitely not the most candy I’ve eaten in one day.

I however was surprised by my lack of appetite after a few bites. I quickly became nauseous as the candy was almost too sweet for me. It just goes to show how quickly your taste can change. Half way through the packet of gums I was done. Sick to my stomach. Not even five bites into my chocolate I was done. Sick to my stomach. Too much sugar. This would’ve have happened eighteen days ago. Heck the night before new years I inhaled the same chocolate and I had no problem with the sugary goodness.

This is not the first time this happened. Every time I go candy free for longer than two weeks my first candy is always to sweet and always makes me nauseous. The second candy is a little better but by the third and fourth candy its back to the normal taste. I’m not really finding any research paper or reliable source on the matter but I do remember my high school biology teacher explained it as your taste buds adapt to your low sugar diet so when you suddenly eat a product with a high sugar content the difference in taste stands out more than usual. So basically when your taste buds are used to high sugar products eating more of it won’t make a difference to you. Heck you won’t really taste all of the sugar but once you go without, well then it’s completely different. Is this even making sense to anyone?

I do want to add that I didn’t go sugar free. Not completely. I’m making conscious choices to choose the sugar free option but I’m not being over serious about it. Being gluten free is enough for me. My main goal is just to stay candy free so basically I avoid candy, chocolate, soft drinks and more.

My next special occasion is on Valentine’s day and this time around I will only eat one type of candy, chocolate. I will definitely buy a small chocolate as I don’t think I will be able to stomach more. It’s interesting how things work. Other than that I haven’t really noticed a big difference since going candy free but I’m sure with more time I will definitely see a difference. I will tell you all about it when the time comes.

I wish you all the best and I will see you in a click!

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Nutrition Tips

My Nutrition Plan For 2018

Hold up. I’m actually writing a blog post about food or something nutritional related? What world is this? I’m just kidding. I have so much nutritional content I want to share but for some reason I just never really got to it. I always just want to write a story time. I can tell you one thing for sure, I’m going to be sharing a lot of food related content in 2018. You will see why in a second.

So the entire December I’ve been thinking of what I want to achieve in the year 2018 and what I want to do differently. There is nothing like a new year to try a lot of new things. To grow. You might have seen the no candy for 365 days for the northern lights post go up around that time if not, please feel free to go give it a read. Self promotion at its finest. Cutting down on sugar is one of my biggest goals for 2018. I got somewhere in 2017 (a lot later in the year then what I originally wanted) but I could do better. One of the places I really lacked was the amount of vegetables and fruit I eat. 99% of my meals for dinner does contain some sort of vegetables which is a MASSIVE step up for me but that’s one meal. I only eat fruit in the summer. That’s not good enough. So for the new year I want to try 1-2 portion of fruit and 1-2 portion of vegetables per day. If my favorite fruit is out of season then I just need to think of something. I still have some hints of the same picky eater of a child in me. Hey it’s one step at a time.

Drinking water is so damn important I’m not even going to touch that one but I’m not drinking enough of it on a day to day basis and that needs to change. I used to be so damn good with that one, heck I was in danger of drinking TOO much water. I’m just going to strive for 2 liters of water per day. I do seem to do drink more water if I have an app to put my amount in. My favorite app for tracking water is Plant Nanny. I eventually deleted the app because I’ve gotten every plant there is so it was less exciting but it took me nearly a year to reach that level so definitely still go for it! I’ve recently started using a new app, My Water. It’s doing okay. I did get a FitBit watch for Christmas and the app has a water tracker function so I will most likely end up switching over. You just need to find a way where it fun or exciting to drink all your water. The app is just nice because I get a reminder.

The next nutritional related thing I want to do in the new year is something I’ve tried on and off. Every time I do it my body responds to it quite well. I don’t know why it hasn’t became a habit. I don’t have anything against the taste or anything like that. I just need to start drinking it on the daily and eventually it will become a habit. I want to drink green tea or lemon water 3 times a week if not more. It just flushes everything out and it makes my body feel so good. It just clenches everything.

The last thing on my list is a 7 day smoothie clench. I’m not sure why this one is on my list but I know how it got on. I want to say late 2016 I discovered my favorite raw vegan Alyse Brautigam, the founder of Raw Alignment. On her YouTube channel she was doing a juice clench. I really liked the idea and thought it would be something nice to try out. I however would pick a smoothie over a juice any day so hence the 7 day smoothie clench.

Oh who can forget about the nutritional blog related stuff…I’m just going to try out new recipes and play around with clean treats. I’m not sure how great that will go but we will see now won’t we? May this year be as clean and green with a little sprinkle of chocolate on the side (special occasions for me)!

2018 IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING YEAR!!!

 

 

Nutrition Tips

The Northern Lights For 365 Candy Free Days

Oh wow what a title right? So the new year is coming up and I’ve been spending the month of December thinking back of what I achieved in the year 2017 and what I want to achieve in the year 2018. Yes, I’m making my new year’s resolutions. This year was the first year I actually completed something on my list and it has lit up a fire inside my soul. I want to achieve more. I want to challenge myself. I want to see how far I can go. Now sometimes we change and grow as the year process and the goals we set in the beginning of the year are not something you want to achieve anymore. It happens. Now there is also so many things on my list that if I complete it, I will be so fucking proud of myself because none of it will be easy and a walk in the park. It will be a challenge but I want to see how far I can go.

So as I was making my list I was looking back to my 2017 list. One of the things on there was to limit my candy intake to twice a week. There was months in this year that I completed that goal. There was a month that I didn’t even touch anything candy related and there was months where I basically forgot all about that goal. These last few years I’ve tried to limit my candy intake as I know it will be better not only for my teeth health but overall health if I can achieve this goal. If I can enjoy candy every now and again my health would take a drastic improvement. So I decided I want to go candy free excluding special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, just over all big moments but truly a special occasion) for one year. Now I know that this will be anything but easy heck I have no idea if I can achieve this but I want to try. I want to be able to say I really tried. Plus I feel like if I can achieve one year…I don’t know I feel like if I can do I can do anything I set my mind too. Candy is my addiction. I have zero self control when it comes to the sugary goodness. I want to overcome my weakness. I want to see how far I can go.

I however also know myself very well. I know how my mind works and just saying one year of no candy because I want to see I can won’t motivate me to fight the cravings on a bad day. That I know so I had to dangle something delicious in front of me if I complete the goal. It’s like dangling the carrot in front of the donkey to get it to move forward. So I started to brainstorm. The carrot had to be juicy and something big that I can’t just convince my husband to buy. It had to be worth the work. It had to be a one in lifetime experience. The northern lights. Every since that snow day I fell in love with the idea of being far away from the city, surrounded by snow. Add the northern lights. That’s an experience I would do anything to get. 365 days without candy for the northern lights? That’s nothing. It’s the perfect carrot.

This…

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For this…

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A price I’m willing to pay…