Posts tagged ‘diet’

Bad Fats Can be Hidden on Nutrition Labels

My good friend Scott is probably the fittest person I know. He works out at least once a day (sometimes more) and eats like a champion.

A little while back, I was in Toronto and staying at Neil’s place (author of The Book of Awesome). Scott came by and took us to the gym for a personal training session. At the end, I was beat and he hadn’t even broken a sweat. Then he said, lets do it again! I thought he was joking, I really did… but he was not.

The point is, Scott is very fit and extremely well read. When I asked him what book I should read to learn more about nutrition, he suggested this book.

I’ve been reading it off and on for a couple weeks now and it’s a great book. I found the section about fats very interesting. Of course, most people realize there are good fats and bad. Fats that your body needs and fats that your body shouldn’t have. But, there was an interesting little trick for identifying fat that is not itemized on the nutritional label. If you look at “total fat”, that number is often higher than the itemized fats listed below it (at least saturated and trans fats must appear itemized in the US since 2006). If you add up the saturated and trans fats and the subtract that from the total, you’ll know the approximate amount of unsaturated fats. The reason I say approximate, is because the trans fat number is regulated to be inaccurate in some cases. (more…)

March 15, 2010 at 1:13 am 3 comments

The Sugar in Most Foods is Not Natural Sugar

Real sugar, from cane or beets, is expensive to import.  That’s why countries without real sugar, make it from other stuff.

The United States, Canada and the UK consume a lot of sugar and don’t have enough real sugar to meet their needs. A complicated series of transformations involving enzymes and fungi can process corn into a sugar substitute called high fructose corn syrup (known as “glucose/fructose” in Canada and “glucose fructose syrup” in the UK).

It is almost exactly like real sugar. Almost.

The safety of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a hot debate in health circles. Food manufacturers say that it is almost exactly like real sugar and there is no proof that it is any worse for you than real sugar. Other experts point to a key difference between natural sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup. It’s very technical, but I’ll try to simplify it.

Sucrose and HFCS are both made up of glucose and fructose, which is why the food manufacturers say they’re almost the same. The key difference is that sucrose contains a bond between glucose and fructose, while HFCS does not. Because of this bond, your body must break it down before it can be utilized. In high fructose corn syrup, there is no bond — allowing it to be utilized more easily.

When you have more energy than you can burn, it gets stored as fat. A high absorption of sugar can also lead to insulin resistance and then diabetes.

Pay attention to the type of sugar in your food, it’s important. You might be surprised by how many things contain high fructose corn syrup. Some examples include: yogurt, breakfast cereals, granola bars, crackers and of course things like soda/pop and cookies. But, for all of these products, there are brands with natural sugar. Even manufacturers are starting to pay attention, Pepsi is currently offering Pepsi and Mountain “Throwback.” They’re just like their normal drinks, but made with real sugar — a throwback to the good ol’ days.

Remember that if you’re not in the USA, high fructose corn syrup is called glucose/fructose or glucose-fructose syrup.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: WP HFCS, WP Insulin, Princeton University

Photo: *MarS (cc)

January 14, 2010 at 12:04 am 3 comments


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