There are always different theories about what foods are healthy and which foods cause diseases. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation is to consume less than 10 percent of total calories per day from sugar. Most of us consume much more than that from eating large amounts of refined foods. This does not only prevent healthy eating, but there are some real dangers of having too much sugar, which can sometimes be hidden and consumed without knowing it.
Of course, oversized portions of soda and sugared beverages like Frappuccinos are consumed knowingly without realizing how those calories cause weight gain. But what about other foods that everyone doesn’t think about?
Foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is an additive to food that is two times sweeter than fructose but it is not recognized by the brain, so when digested it gets stored as fat. In addition to not being recognized and stored as fat it can disrupt hormones in the body: insulin, which regulates blood sugar, as well as the hormones that regulate feeling hunger and feeling full.
Would you believe it: yogurts, wheat bread and cereal bars? Also, pasta sauces, dried fruit and instant oatmeal. All those foods could be healthy and are probably in your kitchen. Here are some tips for avoiding sugar for weight loss as well as for promoting healthy lifestyle habits.
Check the labels in the supermarket and avoid any foods that contain high fructose corn syrup or have any type of sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
Substitute naturally sweet foods for cooking and baking. Add fresh fruit to plain oatmeal and yogurt or add a mashed banana when baking.
Finish dinner with a sweet herbal tea instead of dessert.
Change your mindset: save desserts for holidays and special occasions.
Use alternatives to make foods sweet without consuming sugar; my favorite are agave syrup and date sugar (a sweetener made from dehydrated dates).
Cooking with less sugar too is very important for preventing weight gain and healthy eating. You could just use less than a recipe calls for but you could just avoid it altogether and you will see the food still turns out delicious. Lets take an example of a very popular holiday food: stuffed cabbage, traditionally prepared high in calories with large quantities of sugar. See recipe below for a delicious preparation using no rice and no sugar.
Healthy Slow-Cooked Stuffed Cabbage
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, cut in a small dice
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
- 1 head green cabbage
- 2 cups riced cauliflower (can make your own in food processor or buy already riced in a bag in the supermarket)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 ½ tsp. paprika
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- pepper to taste
1. Combine meat, garlic, onion and all spices in a pan.
2. Sauté over a medium flame until meat is no longer pink.
3. Add ½ the tomato sauce, ½ the tomato soup, water and the diced tomatoes to the meat, mix well.
4. Add the riced cauliflower, mix well, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
5. Cut the cabbage, remove the tough core, chop into larger chunks.
6. Put ½ the cabbage chunks into a slow cooker
7. Layer ½ the meat mixture on top of the cabbage
8. Repeat with another layer of cabbage and then the rest of the meat.
9. Mix the remaining water, tomato sauce and tomato soup and pour on top of the meat.
10. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
By Jamie Feit