Join Our Newsletter

...and like us on Facebook

* indicates required

4 Reasons Why You Don’t Need to Fear Carbs, According to Experts

This article was written by Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with adolescents, survivors of trauma, eating disorders, body-image issues, and mood disorders. She is a blogger on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She is a junior board member for The National Eating Disorder Association. http://www.jenniferrollin.com

“These days, carbohydrates are frequently demonized by popular media and diet culture. People often proclaim the “benefits” of low-carb diets with an almost religious zeal. Many individuals have developed a sense of anxiety and guilt surrounding foods containing carbohydrates.

As a psychotherapist who specializes in treating individuals with eating disorders, I know the danger of labeling specific nutrients and food groups as “good” and “bad.” This mindset can contribute to disordered eating, eating disorders, and may lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes.

I reached out to some nutrition experts to help debunk the myth that carbohydrates should invoke a sense of fear. The following are four reasons why you don’t need to fear carbs.

1. Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source.

Carbohydrates are an important energy source for your body. Carbohydrates are actually the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. Additionally, it is recommended that carbohydrates supply 45-65% of our total daily energy needs.

Julie Seale, RD, of Seasoned Nutrition, explains, “Why avoid carbs? They are the primary source of energy for the body, plus they are in most foods…and they taste great! Avoiding carbs would limit many other nutrients.”

Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian/Owner of Goodness Gracious Living Nutrition says, “Carbohydrates contain essential nutrients that our bodies need to function each day. In fact, our brain’s nutrient of choice is glucose which comes from carbohydrate intake.”

“The body’s main and preferred source of energy is carbohydrate. So, “cutting carbs” will come at a serious energy loss. People are often scared of carbohydrate-rich food because of past experience with it – they’re afraid of overeating it because they’ve done it in the past. This is not about the food itself, though. This is a behavior that can be addressed by looking at the underlying issues that contribute to someone overeating/binging,” Lauren Anton, MS, RD, Co-Chair of the Health at Every Size Special Interest Group of the Academy of Eating Disorders, explains.

Anton says, “Also, I’ve found in working with my clients that the more someone doesn’t give him or herself full permission to have a particular food, the more they will disinhibit (read: overeat) when they encounter that food.”

2. Carbohydrates can help to boost your mood.

“Carbs are needed to make serotonin, our hormone that helps us feel calm and relaxed, like our own natural “chill pill”. If you like being in a good mood, make sure carbs are on your menu,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, and author of the upcoming book Body Kindness.

Additionally, going on a “low carb diet” or “cutting carbs” can have negative implications in terms of one’s physical and mental health.

Michelle Kuster, RD, LD, certified intuitive eating counselor, explains, “There’s always a nutritional demon; carbs are currently the culprit. With a $60 billion diet industry, marketers think of creative ways to make people fear food. But carbohydrates are your bodies and brain’s preferred source of fuel, and even a short time without them will lead to fatigue, headaches and irritability.”

3. Carbohydrates add satisfaction and pleasure to the eating experience.

Food provides important fuel for the body, but it is also supposed to be a source of pleasure and enjoyment.

“Without carbs, meals tend to be less satisfying. Having a source of carbs with meals helps you stay full and happy for longer. Who doesn’t want that?” says, Josée Sovinsky, a Non-Diet Dietitian.

Ultimately, you deserve to be able to nourish yourself with food and movement that you enjoy.

4. Restricting carbs can create a disordered relationship with food.

Cutting out carbs or going on a “low-carb diet” can trigger disordered eating or an eating disorder in individuals who are genetically predisposed.

Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN, registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and host of Food Psych podcast, explains,

“Cutting out carbs is a great way to make yourself start bingeing on them. Because carbs are your body’s primary fuel source, your brain is wired to seek them out if there’s a shortage. Carbs are essential for keeping your blood sugar from dropping too low. If that happens (as it often does in a low-carb diet), your brain will actually send out neurotransmitters that drive you toward whatever high-carb foods are available. So people who attempt to cut carbs end up feeling out-of-control around those very foods, without realizing that this is actually their body’s way of protecting them. To avoid this vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing on carbs, don’t cut them out—instead, learn to trust your body around all foods.”

Michelle Kuster, RD, LD, certified intuitive eating counselor, says, “Any time we over-emphasize one aspect of nutrition, we lose the big picture, which is that all foods can be enjoyed in a balanced diet, and avoiding foods typically leads to unintended consequences such as intrusive or obsessive thoughts about food.”

The Bottom Line

Having a “black and white” mentality surrounding food sets people up for disordered eating habits. Further, mental health is an important part of one’s overall health. I think we can all agree that feeling guilt and shame about eating a bagel is not mentally healthy.

Instead of thinking in extremes, aim for balance, variety, and moderation in your eating experience. Work to let go of judgments of certain foods as being “good” or “bad,” and instead choose to mindfully nourish yourself with food that you enjoy.

If you are struggling with this, it can be helpful to reach out to a registered dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating, the non-diet approach, and disordered eating.

After all, life is just too short for food rules, chronic dieting, and self-hate.”

Carbs

Considering Gluten-Free? Why It’s Probably Not Necessary (and May Even Be Bad for You)

 

gluten-free_LARGE

 

The Gluten-free craze is one of the most popular dieting and weight loss trends since the turn of the century.

But, in reality, it’s probably not necessary for most of us and may even be harmful.

A little background on Gluten before we explain why you may not really need to worry about it.

 

What is Gluten? And why do we love it?

Gluten is a protein composite that gives wheat products like bread and cereal their chewy, flexible texture. It is found in most modern-day carbs and humans have been consuming it, in some form, for thousands of years.
So why did we break-up with bread?

In the early 2000s, cardiologist Dr. William Davis began advocating against gluten and wheat, a concept that quickly caught on with celebrities and others in the health space.

Dr. Davis’ 2011 book, “The Wheat Belly” quickly became a New York Times bestseller, and the gluten-free diet has inserted itself into pop culture ever since.

The Expert Truth About the Gluten-Free Diet

Here’s the thing: most people eating a gluten-free diet don’t need to be, and may actually be harming themselves.

A gluten-free diet should only be used by people who have celiac disease — an autoimmune disease where the body mounts an immune response to gluten, causing stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating, gas and even osteoporosis. And, in reality, just 1 percent of the population actually has celiac disease.

“There is no harm with whole wheat unless you have the disease,” says Dr. Gabe Mirkin, fitness guru, long-time radio host and sports medicine doctor with more than 50 years of practice.

Mirkin is one of thousands of health experts who have come out against the idea of leveraging a gluten-free diet for health and weight loss.

In fact, he says people who eat whole wheat are actually better off.

“Virtually everybody agrees that people who eat a lot of wheat, these people live longer, have less cancer, fewer heart attacks, diabetes, etc.,” Mirkin says. “Whole grains prevent disease. That’s what all the literature supports.”

For example, on his website, Mirkin points to two studies published this year showing that gluten-free diets cause nutritional deficiencies:

The study in Clinical Nutrition (May 7, 2016) reviewed scientific studies published between 1990 and 2015 and found that most gluten-free diets:

  • Lacked fiber because low-fiber foods made from sugars, starches and refined flours were substituted for fiber-rich foods made from whole grains;
  • Lacked vitamins B12 and folate, and minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium; and
  • Contained more high glycemic load foods and larger amounts of saturated and hydrogenated fats.

The study in The Journal of Pediatrics (May 13, 2016), from researchers at Dalhouse University in Canada, found that when given to children, gluten-free processed foods could cause:

  • Delayed growth and development because they often lack essential nutrients (the B vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron); and
  • Weight gain because they are usually low in fiber and higher in sugar, other refined carbohydrates and fats.
Whoa, hold up a second.

Does that second study show that gluten-free diets can actually cause weight GAIN? Then why have so many of us been led to believe that gluten-free diets are a way to lose weight?

That’s a common misconception, Mirkin says.

“Yes, people who avoid flour and refined carbs can lose weight,” Mirkin says. “But the difference is between a whole grain and a ground grain, like flour.”

Processed flour, he says, can cause weight gain because it’s the result of wheat being ground up and refined into an ingredient that has little to no nutritional value (mostly to retain shelf life). That’s different than whole grains, which retain their fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium.

People do lose weight when they intentionally cut out gluten but it’s not because of the gluten, per se but rather that they have cut out things like cupcakes, chips, crackers, high-sugar cereals and the like. They lose weight because they’ve eliminated the refined flour — not the gluten.

So, wait, can I eat wheat or not?

According to the Whole Grains Council, when looking for a whole grain product, you should look at the list of ingredients to make sure it says; whole grain, whole wheat, whole wheat flour, and stone-ground whole wheat.

Processed wheat such as; wheat flour, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour and enriched flour (anything that doesn’t include the word “whole”), should only be consumed in moderation. If you find yourself at a bakery or restaurant where you don’t have access to an ingredients list, try to be conscious of the calorie content and portion so that your waistline doesn’t suffer.

Is a gluten-free diet right for you?

The best thing to do is to ask your doctor to give you an immunoglobulin A anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA TTG) test.

“If the test comes back negative, then it is extremely unlikely you have celiac disease and need a gluten-free diet,” Mirkin says.

 

If you feel like you react to gluten and may have an intolerance to it, cut it out for 3 months and then slowly feed it back into your diet. Make sure you take a good probiotic during the elimination and re-introduction phase so that your gut bacteria can assist with proper digestion and perhaps heal any damage you may have to your gut lining.

If you’re interested in cutting out refined flour and breads from your diet as a way to lose weight, take a look at Daily Dietitian’s Low Carb Diet instead, we will make things easy and delicious for you.

 

x DD

Low Carb Lamington Recipe

Lamington Recipe

These delicious looking and enticing coconut dusted cakes are an Australian tradition but have steadily gained popularity in South Africa. Unfortunately, whether bought or made, they are high in processed sugar and flour without beneficial nutrients.

Daily Dietitian’s Lamington recipe uses xylitol for sweeteness and almond flour instead of refined white flour. The xylitol-sugar swop ensure stable blood sugar levels and the almonds add healthy fats and decrease carbohydrate content.

DD SUGAR-FREE, LOW-CARB LAMINGTONS

Serves: 24 squares

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter (or coconut oil), at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp xylitol
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut

Method for the Lamington Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream the butter and xylitol together in a bowl. Whisk the eggs into the mix. Add milk and vanilla slowly and whisk until you have a creamy texture.
  3. Next, place almond flour, baking powder and salt into a separate mixing bowl, and add the coconut. Add the wet ingredients gradually, mixing well.
  4. Pour this into a brownie pan. Bake for 18–20 mins. They are cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  5. Place on a wire rack and let cool, then cut into squares.

TYPICAL NUTRITION INFORMATION (per 1 serving)

Each serving is 1 square

Per serving

  • Energy (kJ): 594kJ
  • Protein (g): 4g
  • Total Carbohydrates (g): 5g

    — of which are sugars (g): 0g

  • Total fat (g): 12g

    — of which is trans fat: 0g

  • Total Sodium (mg): 54g

TYPICAL NUTRITION INFORMATION (per store-bought Lamington cake slice)

Each serving is 1 square

Per serving

  • Energy (kJ): 782kJ
  • Protein (g): 2.3g
  • Total Carbohydrates (g): 23.0g

    — of which are sugars (g): 17.6g

  • Total fat (g): 9.1g

    — of which is trans fat: 0g

  • Total Sodium (mg): 127g

(Information taken from www.woolworths.co.za (Lamington Cake Slices 5pk))

Enjoy baking (or let us do it for you)

x DD

Za’atar roasted cauliflower, red onion, and lentil salad with harissa tahini dressing (gluten free)

salad recipe

This ridiculously delicious salad can be served without lentils to make it low carb, without chicken to make it vegetarian or as is if you are following a balanced diet.

It’s one of the favourites on our menu so if you have some free time, give it a try. If not, sign up to Daily Dietitian healthy meal delivery and we will be sure to feed you this delicious creation!

SERVES 4

Salad Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • ¾ cup dry brown, green, or Le Puy lentils, picked over (substitute 2 cups cooked lentils, or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and chopped into bite-sized florets (about 800g after prepping)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar spice mix
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 heaping cups arugula

For the harissa tahini dressing:

  • ⅓ cup tahini paste
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed or very finely minced
  • 2½ tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon harissa powder or paste (more or less, depending on your tolerance for heat)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • If you’re cooking lentils from scratch, mix the dry lentils in a saucepan with enough water to cover them by 5cm. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are still tender but retain their shape and firmness.
  • You can start testing them at the 20 minute mark for doneness.
  • Drain the lentils and set them aside.
  • While the lentils cook, toss the cauliflower florets and sliced onion with the oil, za’atar, lemon, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Spread the veggies onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast the vegetables for 20–25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browning, and the onions are getting crispy. Check on the veggies and stir them on the sheet halfway through roasting. Allow the roasted vegetables to cool to room temperature.
  • While the veggies roast, whisk together the tahini, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and harissa to make the dressing. If it’s too thick, add a few extra tablespoons of water.
  • When the vegetables are cool, toss them together with the lentils and arugula. You can either pour the dressing over the whole salad and toss to coat, or you can plate the salad and serve it separately. If you want to keep salad leftovers.
  • We recommend dressing each plate individually.
  • Salad leftovers will keep for two days in an airtight container in the fridge, and the dressing will keep for up to five days.

YUM!

x DD

Is meat good or bad for you?

meat good or bad?

There are so many conflicting reports about if meat is good or bad for you. Some say it can be part of a healthy diet. Others declare it is the root cause of disease – including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. I have friends who completely avoid it and other friends who embrace meat as an everyday staple.

Whether meat is good or bad depends on with whom you are talking. Paleo enthusiasts say meat is essential to longevity. Vegans will tell you to avoid it at all costs. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated processed meat and bacon are carcinogenic and red meat is most likely, as well.

There are very real concerns involving meat, including the ethical treatment of animals and their impact on the environment, as well as medical and health issues. For some, there are very real ethical concerns about eating meat. For example, if you are a Buddhist and believe that any creature could be your mother from your past life or in your next life, then we can fully support being a vegetarian.

It’s not hard to see why the average person, or even doctor or nutritionist is confused. However, at the end of the day, the whole carnivore-vegan debate misses the real point – the root of chronic disease and obesity is actually sugar and refined carbs.

Studies that take a pro- or anti-meat stance often miss the bigger picture. They overlook the fact that most meat eaters who participate in the studies that show harm from eating meat are also eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs alongside a highly processed, inflammatory diet. They certainly aren’t eating small to moderate amounts of grass-fed or organic meat along with a pile of colourful fruits and veggies.

Admittedly, it would be almost impossible to perform an accurate study about meat. You would have to randomize people into a whole foods, low-glycemic, plant-rich diet with grass-fed or organic animal protein and compare them to those on a high-quality vegan diet. That study has never been done.

Many of the studies demonizing meat use subjects who are smokers, drink too much, eat way too much sugar and processed foods, eat very little fruits and veggies, and do not exercise. It’s no wonder that these meat eaters with bad habits and horrible diets are sicker and fatter…

What if Meat Eaters Only Ate Health Food and Grass-Fed Meat?

Some groups rally against the saturated fat and cholesterol found in meat, or say that meat is inflammatory, or that it contributes to cancer or type 2 diabetes.

The story is not as simple as meat is bad, veggies are good, however. The real question to ask is: do grass-fed meat eaters, who also eat lots of healthy food, don’t smoke, exercise, and take vitamins have heart disease?

Thankfully, some researchers have asked this question. In one cohort study, scientists studied 11,000 people, 57% of whom were omnivores (meat eaters) and the other 43% were vegetarians. Both groups were health conscious.

Interestingly enough, researchers found the overall death rates were cut in half for both health-conscious meat eaters and for vegetarians, as compared to the average person eating a western-style, processed food diet. The study concluded that for the vegetarians, there was no benefit found; and for the meat eaters, there was no increased risk for heart disease, cancer or death.

Does the Type of Meat You Eat Matter?

Another problem with most meat eater vs. non meat eater studies is that the type of meat consumed is industrially raised, factory farmed meat. This industrial grain-fed meat is often full of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, with more inflammatory omega–6 fats from corn and fewer anti-inflammatory omega–3 fats. These population studies don’t include people who eat only grass-fed meat without hormones, pesticides or antibiotics.

What About Saturated Fat?

Another concern that is raised is that saturated fat in meat causes heart disease. Yet interestingly, the types of saturated fats that cause heart disease – stearic and palmitic acid – don’t come from meat. Your liver produces these two fatty acids when you eat sugar and carbs. In other words, your liver produces saturated fat from sugar and carbs and that causes heart disease.

In one interventional trial, researchers showed even on a low-carb diet that is higher in saturated fats, blood levels of saturated fats remained lower because of the carb effect.

Simply put: In the absence of sugar and refined carbs and adequate amounts of omega–3 fats in your diet, saturated fat is really not a problem. Again, quality matters: The saturated fat in a fast food cheeseburger is completely different than what you get in coconut butter or a grass-fed steak.

These same limitations apply for studies that show meat causes diabetes and cancer: Most focused on generally unhealthy people eating a highly processed diet.

4 Rules If You Eat Meat

I hope you can see how eating meat can become healthy or unhealthy when you consider the many factors. If you opt to eat meat, follow these 5 rules to help you make the best choices.

  1. Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised organic meats. They’re more expensive but ideally you will eat less of the meat and more plant-based foods. Think of meat as a condiment, not a main dish. 50–75% of your plate should be vegetables!
  2. Avoid all processed meats. Stay away from processed meats such as deli meats. These are the meats that the World Health Organization points to that have been proven to cause disease, illness and cancer.
  3. Prepare your meat the right way. The way we prepare meats is the key. High-temperature cooking like grilling, frying, smoking or charring causes toxic by-products. This also happens when you cook fish or chicken at high temperatures. All of this leads to the production of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which studies have shown, cause cancer in animals. Change your cooking methods to reduce your exposure of these toxic compounds. The same rule applies to grains and veggies. Cooking these foods at a too-high temperature can cause the same problems. Focus on lower-temperature, slow cooking for meat and veggies – such as baking, roasting, poaching, and stewing.
  4. Pile on the vegetables. Fill your plate with phytonutrient-rich, colourful, non-starchy veggies and use meat as a “condi-meat.”

At the end of the day, the message on meat is pretty simple. About half the studies show it’s a problem; half of them don’t. For those studies that show meat eaters, as a whole, aren’t a healthy bunch, the reason is most likely not the meat, but rather the smoking, sugar-filled, and sedentary lifestyle that creates heart disease and other problems.

A diet filled with lots of high-fiber fruits and veggies that rejects sugar and refined carbs, welcomes grass-fed meat as a health food, lowering inflammation and improving all of the cardiovascular risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Still unsure of how to eat well for optimal health? Let us feed you! Daily Dietitian uses on the highest quality ingredients when freshly preparing your daily meals which are tailored to your unique needs.

For more info go to our website.

xx DD

10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar is Bad For You

 

why sugar is bad for you

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases. Here are 10 disturbing reasons why sugar is bad for you and you should avoid it like the plague.

1. Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients and is Bad For Your Teeth

You’ve probably heard this a million times before… but it’s worth repeating. Added sugars (like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients. For this reason, they are called “empty” calories. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar… just pure energy.

When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar (or more), this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth (1).

Bottom Line: Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. It also causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.

2. Added Sugar is High in Fructose, Which Can Overload Your Liver

In order to understand what is so bad about sugar, then you need to understand what it is made of. Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars… glucose and fructose.

Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies produce it.

Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it.

The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts. This is not a problem if we eat a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it (3).

However, if the liver is full of glycogen (much more common), eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat (4). When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems (5). Keep in mind that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.

There is also massive individual variability here. People who are healthy and active can tolerate more sugar than people who are inactive and eat a Western, high-carb, high-calorie diet.

Bottom Line: For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver. Another reason why sugar is bad for you.

3. Overloading The Liver With Fructose Can Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

When fructose get turned into fat in the liver, it is shipped out as VLDL cholesterol particles. However, not all of the fat gets out, some of it can lodge in the liver.

This can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a growing problem in Western countries that is strongly associated with metabolic diseases (6).

Studies show that individuals with fatty liver consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person (7, 8).

Bottom Line: Excess fructose gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Another reason why sugar is bad for you.

4. Sugar Can Cause Insulin Resistance, a Stepping Stone Towards Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness.

One feature of the metabolic dysfunction that is caused by the Western diet, is that insulin stops working as it should. The cells become “resistant” to it. This is also known as insulin resistance, which is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases… including metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease and especially type II diabetes (9).

Many studies show that sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts (10, 11).

Bottom Line: When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases.

5. The Insulin Resistance Can Progress to Type II Diabetes

When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it.

This is crucial, because chronically elevated blood sugars can cause severe harm.
Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made.

Given that sugar can cause insulin resistance, it is not surprising to see that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes (12, 13).

Bottom Line: Because of the harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, it is a leading driver of type II diabetes.

6. Sugar Can Give You Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterised by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer (14).

In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer (15).

Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer (16, 17, 18).

Bottom Line: There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.

7. Due to its Effects on Hormones and the Brain, Sugar has Unique Fat-Promoting Effects

Not all calories are created equal. Different foods can have different effects on our brains and the hormones that control food intake (19). Studies show that fructose doesn’t have the same kind of effect on satiety as glucose.

In one study, people drank either a fructose-sweetened drink or a glucose-sweetened drink. Afterwards, the fructose drinkers had much less activity in the satiety centres of the brain and felt hungrier (20). There is also a study where fructose didn’t lower the hunger hormone gherkin nearly as much as glucose did (21). Over time, because the calories from sugar aren’t as fulfilling, this can translate into an increased calorie intake.

Bottom Line: Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone gherkin nearly as much as glucose.

8. Because it Causes Massive Dopamine Release in The Brain, Sugar is Highly Addictive

Sugar can be addictive for a lot of people. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain (22). The problem with sugar and many junk foods is that they can cause massive dopamine release… much more than we were ever exposed to from foods found in nature (23).

For this reason, people who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods (24). The “everything in moderation” message may be a bad idea for people who are addicted to junk food… because the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence.

Bottom Line: Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.

9. Sugar is a Leading Contributor to Obesity in Both Children and Adults

The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. It leads to decreased satiety… and can get people addicted so that they lose control over their consumption. Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are by far the most likely to become overweight or obese. This applies to all age groups.

Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association (25). The link is especially strong in children, where each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a whopping 60% increased risk of obesity (26). One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on sugar consumption.

Bottom Line: Because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

10. It Ain’t The Fat… It’s SUGAR That Raises Your Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease

The last reason on why sugar is bad for you, is that for for many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease… which is the #1 killer in the world. However… new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless (27, 28).

The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism (29). Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidised LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks (30).

These are all major risk factors for heart disease. Not surprisingly, many observational studies find a strong statistical association between sugar consumption and the risk of heart disease (31, 32, 33).

Take Home Message on Why Sugar is Bad for You

For people who can’t tolerate it, added sugar is incredibly harmful. Empty calories are just the tip of the iceberg.

For help in staying sugar free, contact us or go to the Daily Dietitian website and sign up to get your own personalised healthy meal plan and meal delivery.

x DD

6 Important Truths About Carbs & Which Ones You Should Eat

truths about carbs

It’s a common scenario: You’re out to lunch with co-workers, and you say no to the bread basket that’s passed around. Then an annoying co-worker across the table from you pipes up with, “Are you not eating carbs anymore? Are you on a diet?”

Au contraire, mon frère. You’re actually still eating carbs (carbohydrates, that is).

While you have an inquisitive co-worker, it’s easy to understand if their comments are guided under a common misunderstanding: “All carbs are bad!”

With so much information flying around from many emphatic sources, carbs are often relegated to doomed, definitive statements like:

  • “Carbs are bread and pasta!”
  • “Carbs make you fat!!!”
  • “Carbs aren’t healthy!!!”

First of all, there’s no need to use so many exclamation points. Second of all, this is only half the story… and a good opportunity to help you keep making healthy choices .

6 Important Truths About Carbs

  1. They are a nutrient: They’re one of three major nutrients your body needs to function, with the other two being fat and protein.
  2. They are found in food: Not just bread and pasta, like our restaurateur thinks. They’re also found in unprocessed whole foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables (more on that coming up).
  3. They are an energy source: There are several forms of carbohydrates, with the primary form your body uses called glucose. There are other less common types such as dextrose and fructose, with fructose becoming an increasing part of our diet over the last few decades, with a strong correlation to the worldwide increase in obesity.
  4. They increase insulin: Insulin is the body’s primary regulator of fat metabolism, so perhaps this is the piece of the puzzle as to why most associate carbs with gaining weight. When insulin levels go up, we store fat. When it falls, we use fat for fuels. It’s important to know that over time, due to many different factors – eating an excess of carbohydrates is one of them – the body can become more resistant to insulin, causing an increase in insulin production.
  5. They impact blood sugar: Insulin, as mentioned above, primarily works to lower blood sugar to healthier levels. When it comes to Insulin resistance, it leads to higher blood sugar. Persistently high blood sugar, otherwise known as diabetes, affects your metabolic health and can result in such diseases as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness, or ulcers.
  6. Different carbs do different things: Not all carbs are created equal. When it comes to optimal and total health – metabolic, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, bone, and blood – there are health benefits from some, and little from others.

Slow digesting carbs = Causes blood sugar/insulin to rise

Fast to digest carbs = Causes blood sugar/insulin to spike

In general, slower blood sugar/insulin rises are healthier than frequent blood sugar/insulin spikes.

Fast Digesting vs. Slow Digesting

Fast digesting carbs are typically processed carbs, such as starches, liquid carbohydrates, and foods made of refined flours. Think breads, pastas, muffins, cereals, cake, chips, cookies, beer, wine, fruit juice, soda, corn, potatoes, and rice.

These refined, processed foods are not as nutrient dense and are known to increase inflammation, diabetes, and insulin resistance because of the insulin and blood sugar impact we talked about above. Less fiber in your food means you might not feel as full or satiated when you eat, causing you to overeat which can lead to weight gain.

When your body has fiber to digest, you benefit in multiple ways, such as gut protection, through your body’s creation of its own butyric acid. Fiber lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels and improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Increased fiber intake also benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders including the following: gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Slower digesting carbs are called complex carbs and, when consumed in healthy moderation, have the fiber to keep your gut healthy and you satiated. Think sweet potatoes, veggies (such as kale, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli), fruits in their whole form (berries and citrus fruits) and beans.

The micronutrients found in these foods also give you necessary vitamins and minerals that play an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning.

Tying it all together:

If we revisit our lunch salad from earlier: A salad of mixed greens, some bell peppers, cucumber slices, kidney beans, and avocado, would contain carbs that give the necessary glucose and energy you need, but won’t make your blood sugar fly off the charts as it would if you ate the influx of carbs that processed foods bring.

Being mindful to have a daily diet comprised mainly of the beneficial kinds of carbs will help move you toward optimal health, maintain a healthy weight, and control your blood sugar.

For those of you who don’t want to think about carbs, which ones you should be eating and how much of them, let us help you.

Sign up to get perfectly portioned, tailored meals and snacks delivered to your door.

x DD

Avocado pancakes with lemon parsley butter recipe (gluten-free, sugar-free, low carb)

Avocado Pancakes

Here’s a really healthy breakfast idea that incorporates healthy ingredients like avocado and onions into something that we all love – pancakes! When you’re avoiding things like sugar and gluten, there are still ways to enjoy your favorite foods. All you need is a little creativity and some quality ingredients.

These pancakes are much, much healthier for you and your family than the regular pancakes that you might be making. With lots of healthy fats, protein and fiber, they will give you a long-lasting, sustained level of energy throughout the morning. A great way to start the day!

Avocado Pancakes with Lemon Parsley Butter

  • Prep time: 10 minues
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 pancakes

INGREDIENTS (PANCAKES)

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ avocado, mashed
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Butter
  • Avocado slices, spring greens, lemon slices [optional]
  • Thinly sliced green onions and minced parsley garnish [optional]

INGREDIENTS (LEMON PARSLEY BUTTER)

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  • In a small bowl, sift coconut flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sliced green onions and mashed avocado until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of pan. For each pancake, spoon about ¼ cup batter into pan and cook until bubbles begin to appear on the top and bottom is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancake and cook until second side is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Continue with remaining batter, adding more butter to skillet as needed.

Now prepare the Lemon Parsley Butter. Melt the butter and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve pancakes with sliced avocado, spring greens, lemon slices and a drizzle of Lemon Parsley Butter. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and minced parsley.

YUM!

Let us know how your pancakes turned out. If you’d prefer us to make them for you, along with other deliciously healthy meals tailored to your calorie needs, sign up to Daily Dietitian, or email us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za

x DD

7 sugar rules we follow

sugaronwoodentable-1400x450
The FDA recently proposed putting added sugars on a product’s nutrient label, a move that did not please the food industry. As consumers become savvier, manufacturers seem determined to make understanding sugar even more confusing.

Sticking with a whole food, unprocessed diet is the easiest way to avoid sugar confusion. When you eat broccoli or quinoa, you don’t need to worry about added sugar or sneaky sweeteners. But we live in the real world, which means sometimes you’re going to eat processed foods or add a little sweetener to your green tea. When you do, keep these seven rules in mind to make the best decisions:

1. Remember: added sugar is worse than total sugar.

All sugars ultimately have the same effect on your body, breaking down to glucose and fructose. That said, sugar in fruit and other whole foods comes wrapped with nutrients, phytonutrients, fiber and other good stuff that buffers its effects. Added sugars, on the other hand, often come in nutrient-empty, heavily-processed foods, which automatically deems them worse for your waistline and your health.

2. Sugar hides under innocuous-sounding names.

Manufacturers hide sugar under seemingly healthy names like fruit juice concentrate. Your pancreas and liver don’t care whether sugar comes in an organic package or carries a pretty name. It all breaks down the exact same way.

3. Sneaky sugars lurk in “healthy” foods.

Visit your health food store and you’ll likely discover numerous products sweetened with agave nectar, honey and other so-called healthy sweeteners. Don’t be fooled. A health bar could have as much sugar as a chocolate bar. Look at the nutrient label for sugar amounts, being aware this is for one serving and you’re likely to eat several portions.

4. Artificial sweeteners aren’t better for you.

For far too long, artificial sweeteners got a free pass. Then a few troubling studies surfaced that found, among other things, aspartame and other sweeteners created glucose intolerance (paving the way for Type 2 diabetes) and gut-flora imbalances. Steer clear of those pretty pink, yellow, and blue packages.

5. Green juices can have as much sugar as a coke.

One popular commercial green juice, which actually contains more fruit than veggies, packs almost 55 grams — that’s 11 teaspoons — of sugar in a bottle. If you juice, make your own or ask your juicer to only add veggies with maybe a little lemon/ one small green apple for flavor.

6. Be judicious when buying natural alternative sweeteners.

If you have to sweeten your coffee or tea, erythritol, xylitol or stevia provide better options. Just be aware many commercial varieties come loaded with nebulous “natural flavors,” dextrose (sugar) and maltodextrin (corn). Instead, look for a 100 percent xylitol, stevia or a stevia/ erythritol blend with no bulking agents or other added ingredients.

7. Fructose is especially metabolically damaging.

Unlike glucose, which nearly every cell can utilize, fructose heads directly to your liver, the only organ that can metabolize high levels of it. Studies show that fructose induces less insulin production and triggers hunger signals in the brain. Rather than utilize this sugar for energy, our body often turns fructose into liver fat. This increase in visceral fat has been shown to increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you want us to take the stress away from hidden-sugar searching, label-reading we will create your meals for you! All our food is sugar free, artificial sweetener free and preservative free so you don’t have to worry about a thing! Email us on hello@dailydietitian.co.za or go to our website.

x DD