Saturday, February 13, 2010


I have a few books by Dr. Joey Shulman, a nutritionist, based out of Toronto.  She also has a website - and you can subscribe to her free newsletter.   While watching the olympics on television, I have been reading her book "Healthy Sin Foods" and learned some interesting facts.  I thought I should share some of these nutritional food facts.

  1. If you want to know how much sugar is in a food item, there are 4 grams in 1 tsp of refined sugar.  If a product contains 16 grams of sugar per serving, that represents about 4 tsp of sugar.  The World Health Organization recommends that sugar should not account for more than 10 percent of an individual's daily caloric intake.  If you are consuming 2,000 calories a day, this would be 200 calories.  This recommendation does not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, vegetables and dairy products.   
  2. On the nutritional list of the food product you are eating, the manufacturer will lump together the naturally occurring and added sugars.   So  a cup of milk contains almost 3 tsp (12 grams) of sugar even though it doesn't have any sugar added to it.  Examples of sugar added to food includes: sucrose, fructose, maple syrup, molasses, dextrose, carob powder, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dehydrated cane juice, glucose, honey, invert sugar, raw sugar, fruit juice concentrate, maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt and xylitol. 
  3. To reduce your sugar intake avoid soft drinks and fruit punches; eat cereal that has less than 1 to 2 tsp (4 to 8 grams) of sugar per serving; eliminate foods with sugar as the first or second ingredient; try to add only 1 tsp of sugar to your coffee; and watch how much flavoured yogurt you eat.  
  4. Not all breads are created equal and the best kind is to consume bread that is made with whole grain.  Whole grain contains the bran, germ and endosperm and whole grain bread will have a lower glycemic index.  Examples of whole grain include 100 percent whole grain bread, barley, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, popcorn, whole oats, whole rye, wild rice, quinoa, spelt, kamut and millet.  
  5. If a bread or wrap says it is made from sprouted grains, it means that the whole grain kernel has been sprouted which takes a certain amount of time to do, eg 24 to 48 hours.  The sprouting process predigests some of the starch in the grain and therefore lowers the glycemic index of the bread. These sprouts are used in the bread making process. 
  6. Bananas are starchier than other fruits and carrots have a higher sugar content than most other vegetables.   Some diets restrict or won't allow the consumption bananas or carrots.  Consuming bananas and carrots won't make you fat.  There are other culprits - portion size, refined sugars and flours, lack of activity and eating too much fast food.   
  7. Fat makes food taste good and lower fat foods or fat free food usually has sugar added to it to compensate for taste.  
I didn't elaborate at all on glycemic index or glycemic load.  There is a lot of information available on this and easily found on google.  In a future posting I could explain the background on these terms and how they are used.   Likely my biggest challenge in eating more healthy is dealing with those sugar cravings.   I am talking about that after supper craving for a square of good chocolate, the candy sampling that sometimes occurs during the day at work, and the weekly bowl of ice cream.   It is too hard and unrealistic to be perfect.  Treats during the week need to be accepted and acknowledged, the decision is the frequency and the amount.  

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