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But Doc...I Don’t Eat Sugary Foods!


But Doc, I don’t Eat Sugar!

Most of us get it that soda, ice cream, candy bars and cakes / cookies are loaded with sugar, and should be restricted, or at least limited in our diet.  

Yet did you know that many foods promoted as health foods are actually just as sugar loaded as those we have labeled as junk, to include orange juice, granola bars, Protein powders and bars, instant oatmeal, milk, yogurt and yes, even some of our favorite fruits.  A medium banana has 31 carbs, a soda has 39 carbs.  Of course a banana has fiber and nutrients, all which are absent in sodas.  Yet nevertheless, if you are looking to limit your carb intake, is crucial to know what you are consuming.  Often what you eat centers around when you eat it.  Before and/or after a long endurance workout, I’ll throw down a banana or two. Yet not my go to fruit to grab while sitting and reading.  Berries, with a lower glycemic index would be a better choice. But never the right time for a soda with its empty calories. 

Also need to be aware of processed and refined foods.  A lot of frozen meals and other processed foods use sugar to enhance flavoring.  Would you have guessed that some popular jar spaghetti sauces have as much as 14 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup.  Likewise, condiments like salad dressing, ketchup and BBQ sauce are loaded with sugar and high fructose syrup.  As a rule of thumb, if it says fat free, you can bet it has added to sugar to make it more palatable in absence of the removed fats.  Same holds true with a lot of the gluten free foods on the market.  Sugars are added in an attempt to make them not taste like seasoned cardboard.  

But I don’t eat any of that stuff, I’m

Good....right?  Not so fast.  You have to watch out for those unsweetened, yet high glycemic foods, which include starches (potatoes), refined grains...to include rice and breads, corn, and as pointed out earlier, many of the fruits we frequently snack on. Tropical fruits tend to rank up high on the glycemic index, with fruits such as mangoes and pineapples nearing the top. Yet the popular fruits grapes and cherries are also very high, which would explain why they are so yummy. 

As far as starches, they can break down into glucose as quick as 15 minutes. So, though a calorie isn’t a calorie, when you factor in fiber and nutrient density, if you are insulin sensitive or resistant, need to be knowledgeable of what you eat.  Case in point, that “healthy” plain baked potato you had for lunch at 39 carbs is going to have more of an insulin spike associated with it than that 28 grams of carbs that Snickers bar is packing. One just gets a 15 minute head start. 

So, it’s not about good and bad foods, it’s about knowing what’s in our food and the affect on our metabolic functions, allowing us to make informed food selection decisions. 

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