plenty of fruits and vegetables. That’s about the only
health mantra that remains constant. Sugar is blacklisted, but
eggs are back. Our bodies need fat but the right fat. It seems
that nutrition experts are always changing the rules. Here are
some of the hottest health trends and some science behind
up on added sugar — sweetener that doesn’t occur naturally
in food — is a major don’t. It appears on nutrition labels
as high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, agave nectar, honey
and too many others to list here.
health advantage of naturally occurring sugar is the company
it keeps with lots of fiber and a host of healthy vitamins and
nutrients," said Dr. Stephen Devries, a preventive
cardiologist and executive director of Gaples Institute for
Integrative Cardiology in Deerfield, Ill. "Fiber found in
fruits and vegetables cuts the amount of sugar that is
experts point out, we need glucose to fuel everyday living,
but not sucrose, which is the fructose and glucose found in
added sugars. The body metabolizes all added sugars the same
way, causing insulin — the hormone that says "store
fat!" — to shoot up without the stabilizing effects of
the fiber, protein and nutrients provided in natural foods.
American Heart Association suggests that women get no more
than 24 grams of added sugar daily. Men should aim for less
than 36 grams. To put that in perspective, one 12-ounce can of
Coke has 39 grams of sugar, which is more than 150 percent of
a woman’s daily recommended amount.
there is no differentiation between natural sugar and added
sugars on a Nutrition Facts Label, but the Food and Drug
Administration is proposing a requirement to list the amounts
of added sugars and to also force companies to declare a daily
vs. fruit juice
eat a medium banana, you’re ingesting about 14 grams of
sugar in the form of fructose. That sugar is wrapped in
fibrous material that slows down digestion. On the other hand,
an 8-ounce glass of apple juice contains no fiber and up to 39
grams of sugar. The liver is the only organ that can process
fructose, so too much can overload your system and result in
insulin-resistant, or Type 2, diabetes.
juice in small amounts most likely won’t be a problem for a
healthy, lean individual, but juices have just as many
calories and sugar — and sometimes more — as sweetened
sodas. Stick to getting your juice from the whole fruit
is still out on what effect artificial sweeteners like
saccharin (Sweet’N Low), sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame
(Equal) have on the body, but research suggests it is not
gut bacteria fueled by artificial sweeteners send chemical
signals to the liver to make more sugar," Devries said.
"As a result, although artificial sweeteners themselves
don’t contain sugar, they can trick the body into making
findings by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel
suggest artificial sweeteners might alter the bacteria in our
gut, disrupting the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
concern with artificial sweeteners, specifically sorbitol and
xylitol, commonly found in sugar-free gum and candy, is that
they can worsen IBS symptoms, including diarrhea, gas and
abdominal bloating," said Jessica Schultz, a registered
dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine.
suggested stevia as a sweetening option. "Stevia, a small
green leaf that is naturally sweet and virtually zero
calories, can be grown all year round. We are currently
growing this ultra-sweet plant in our work garden. I like to
muddle it with mint and add it into my iced tea."
bodies need fat, but where we get it is important. Omega-6
fats, the kind found in processed foods, should be limited.
Most vegetable oils, including soybean, corn and safflower,
are high in these fats and should be avoided. "A diet
high in omega-6 fats will likely be lower in omega-3
fats," Schultz said. "(Omega-6 fats) may increase
inflammation and the incidence of disease. Ideally you should
aim for an anti-inflammatory diet with a higher ratio of
omega-3 to omega-6. A few examples of omega-3-rich foods
include flax seed, chia seed, walnuts and wild-caught fatty
intake of omega-3 fats encourages fat burning and reduces the
amount of insulin in the blood.
all food is processed in some way, but what this term refers
to is chemically processed food. Think of a banana versus a
100-calorie banana bread snack pack. It also refers to the
chips, cookies and breads that can stay seemingly forever on
processed foods are devoid of fiber, so the added sugar they
contain causes blood sugar levels to soar," Devries
added that "they tend to be high in calories, sodium and
unhealthy fats that can lead to inflammation."
summary of the 2014 meeting for the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans says, "Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient
of concern for overconsumption." What does this mean?
Mainly that the cholesterol in your food is not a main
influence on the cholesterol levels in your body, so don’t
worry about eating those egg yolks for breakfast.
offending culprit in red meat — steak, lamb, hamburgers —
is L-carnitine, according to a study by half a dozen U.S.
medical centers and published in Nature Medicine. When the
body ingests red meat, it provides certain gut bacteria with
the resources to make trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).
Researchers found that TMAO could accelerate atherosclerosis,
or the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
and soy diet most cows are fed also leads to an increase in
omega-6 content in the meat, Schultz explained.
buying meat, I generally recommend (joining) a meat CSA
(Community Supported Agriculture)," she said. "A
meat CSA allows consumers to buy grass-fed, sometimes organic,
local protein at a reasonable price while supporting good
quality farming practice."