Sunday, June 2, 2019

Carb Myths (cont.)

Carbs, carbs, carbs.  Last week we discussed two big carb myths.  One, the myth that grains are bad for you when they are not.  Two, that carbs are fattening when carbs such as whole grain carbs are good for your health, help you feel fuller and help one lose weight, not gain weight.    This week we will review any more myths about carbs.  Are you falling for some of these carb myths?  For every fact out there about carbs, you probably can find some fake information about carbs.  Before believing some of these fake posts, check out the information on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, a .gov website to see if the information is true.

Myth #3:  Natural Sugars:  good or bad?

Sugars – Americans eat a lot of sugar.  Some of the “sugar” is natural and already present in food.  But much of the sugar in our diets is added to foods.  Look at the ingredients on food in your pantry and you may be surprised at how many food items contain added sugar.  Americans eat too much added sugar, yet it is hard to avoid since so much sugar is added to the foods we eat.  What are the “added sugars” we should cut back on?  Added sugars include sucrose or white table sugar, high fructose corn syrup which seems to be added to so many foods, corn syrup, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, and maple syrup.  Why should we be concerned about all the “added sugars” in our foods?  The Centers for Disease Control notes, “Americans are eating and drinking too much added sugars which can lead to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.”  And added sugars provide calories but few nutrients.  That’s why added sugars are considered, “empty-calories” as these added sugar calories are pretty empty of nutrients.  But most of the added sugar calories we get in our diets comes not from the desserts we eat like candy or cupcakes but from the beverages we drink like sodas or fruit drinks that are not real juice like lemonade, fruit punch, sweetened tea, and sports drinks. What are some ways to cut back on added sugars in your foods?

1. Use fresh or frozen fruit to sweeten your cereal or yogurt.

2. Read labels and choose foods for your main course that have no added sugar.  Choose pasta sauce with no added sugar, look for bread with no added sugar, and try to cut back on the added sugar in foods that are the main part of your meal.  Save the added sugar for your desserts.

3. Packing lunch for your kids?  Look for fruit like applesauce with no added sugar and avoid the apple sauce with high fructose corn syrup added.  Buy the canned fruit that is canned in water or fruit juices and skip the heavy syrup.
Look for unsweetened applesauce

4. Drink water or milk with meals and skip the soda or sweetened tea.

5.  When baking try cutting back on the sugar in the food.  Some recipes use applesauce or other fruit to add sweetness to cut back on the amount of added sugar.  

Myth #4:  Fruit is high in sugar so avoid fruit

Fruit contains the natural sugar, fructose.  Yet, some websites mistakenly tell you to cut back on fruit or 100% juice because of all the “sugar”.  Yet, fruit and 100% juice, have no “added sugar”.  It is the added sugar in foods that we should be cutting back on. One website noted you should avoid bananas because bananas are too high in “sugar”.  Yet, like all fruit, bananas have no added sugar.  Pass up bananas and you are passing up potassium, manganese, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, Folate and other nutrients.  We want more potassium in our diets as potassium helps counteract all the sodium Americans eat.  One banana provides 10% of your daily potassium needs.  So, ignore anyone telling you bananas or any fruit is bad for your health.  As Natalie Rizzo, a registered dietitian talks about how crazy it is that some people believe fruit is high in sugar.  She notes, “It’s amazing how many people think fruit should be avoided….  Bananas have tons of potassium, red grapes have antioxidants, and pineapple is loaded with vitamin C.  There is no reason a healthy person should avoid fruit.”  
Enjoy some fresh fruit
 This week watch out for the carb myths you may encounter each day.  Whether it is a co-worker telling you bananas are high in sugar or a website telling you to avoid fruit.  And don’t be misled by a food labeled “natural” when it is full of added sugar.  Keep the carbs in your diet, the good carbs.  You want to include fruit and whole grains in your day.  Read some labels this week and look for the “added sugar” that is in so much of our food today.  I like my candy, my desserts and I know these have “added sugar”.  But I don’t need added sugar in my spaghetti sauce and my crackers.

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