Back in the “good old days”, food was simply a source of energy. However today, food has become a cultural, social and sensory experience. Our eating habits have changed dramatically in the 21st Century. Thanks to industrialization, Americans eat 30 times more sugar than our ancestors did 200 years ago.
Studies show that over 65% of todays dietary calories come from foods that were not available during the Paleolithic Era; high sugar breakfast cereals, yogurt in a tube, microwave foods and “drive-thru” fast foods. Many of these foods are made with simple sugars that get absorbed quickly into the blood stream, cause blood sugars to spike resulting in a spike in insulin production.
Breaking the sugar habit takes time to reset your taste buds. The best way to avoid sugars is to read labels and know the many names of sugar. Many have “ose” like fructose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose and lactose.
Start by adding in more fresh fruits and sweet vegetables to your diet. Reduce or avoid commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or as Michael Pollan says “industrial novelties”.
10 EYE-OPEINING SUGAR FACTS:
- Americans eat approx. 165 lbs. of sugar a year, that’s approx. 31- 5lb. bags.
- Only 29 lbs. come from the sugar bowl that we add to our food.
- A soda containing 40 grams of sugar contains 10 teaspoons of sugar!
- A glass of 100% apple juice can have the same amount of sugar as a glass of soda
- Sugar is hidden in many foods we eat like bread, peanut butter, lunchmeats, salad dressings, condiments, sauces, pizza, etc. CHECK YOUR LABELS!
- Refined sugars have been documented to contribute/aggravate health problems; asthma, mood disorders, heart disease, & arthritis to name a few.
- Sugar can lead to “type 2” diabetes & elevate cholesterol.
- Sugar can make you fat. Our bodies store excess sugar as fat.
- People consuming 2,000 calories a day should have no more than 10 teaspoons of refined sugar a day.
- Artificial sweeteners are NOT a healthy replacement for sugar.
When life calls for sweetness, moderation is my motto. I use pure organic maple syrup or local raw honey. They are nutritious and tend to be sweeter than table sugar so you don’t need as much. Even with their health benefits, limiting your intake of all sweeteners is the advisable way to go. Natural doesn’t always mean healthy!
When you sweet tooth beckons, try my Roasted Pear recipe.
- 2-large ripe pears
- 1-cinamon stick
- 2-tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup toasted pecans or walnuts
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel pears using a vegetable peeler.
- Cut in ½ lengthwise and remove seeds and core.
- Place cut side down in baking dish and squeeze lemon juice on top.
- Split cinnamon stick in ½ and place in dish.
- Drizzle maple syrup over pear.
- Roast for approx. 25 minutes or until soft. Turn over pear and baste the juices. Roast for 5-10 minutes or until soft.
- Sprinkle with nuts & enjoy.
Susan Chasen is a Nutrition & Health Coach and the founder of The Organic Teaching Kitchen. She offers cooking and nutrition workshops to kids, teens and adults. Susan sees clients privately and in small groups.
Susan offers on-site Work Place Wellness programs which enable employers to invest in the health, vitality, and happiness of their employees. Her School Place goes into schools with interactive nutrition & cooking workshops to inspire kids (and teachers) to try new foods. Birthday parties & Girl Scout workshops are offered at TOTK in Croton.
Contact Susan for health consultation. It’s complimentary to Mom Offers More Readers.
The Organic Teaching Kitchen is located at 18 Old Post Rd. South. Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Check out her monthly group workshop schedule at http://www.theorganicteachingkitchen.com or contact her at [email protected]