Think you’re eating healthy? Think again

When I first met with a nutritionist to discuss health eating after my 2012 angioplasty, I brought along four pages of foods I liked to eat. She told me one by one that they were all unhealthy. Most had too much of one or more of what I call the evil triangle of American food — sugar, salt or fat.

My low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar pantry.
My low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar pantry. Are these healthy? For me, they are. Read every label before buying any food products.

This blog is the result of that meeting and of my attempt to keep eating foods I find tasty while cutting out the evil triangle. But it is extremely tough in a world of so many mixed food messages. That point was brought home to me by a recent piece I read on headlined 75 Percent of Americans Say They Eat Healthy — Despite Evidence To The Contrary. Continue reading “Think you’re eating healthy? Think again”

Why my new way of eating means an all-or-nothing approach

I really tire of people telling me I can “cheat” on my low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet once in a while without any consequences. Doing that last year caused me to gain back 15 pounds I’d lost over the past three years. I know how my body works. If I have one donut, I want more and I usually get them.

And the result is tasty chips with no salt and no fat.
My home-made salt-free potato chips are better than store-bought, but likely jsut make me hungrier.

Eating a little of something only causes me to get hungrier. Thankfully, a recent report explains why that is for me and for all of us, really. Time recently ran  9 Foods That Make You Hungrier.  Continue reading “Why my new way of eating means an all-or-nothing approach”

The UK has a sugar tax coming, will there be one in the US too?

Britain is about to try something that’s been discussed and discarded in many U.S. locales — a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. the tax begins this month (April) and amount to about the equivalent of none to 12 cents per can depending on sugar content.

That means soda makers and others will pass those costs on to consumers. The tax money collected is supposed to go to promote sports in British schools, reports FoodandDrink

My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, I given it up for water on the advice of nutritionists...who didn't mention arsenic in water could be a cause of my heart troubles.
Should sugar-sweetened beverages be taxed? The UK is giving it a go, as has Mexico.

Will the tax get companies to cut sugar content? This Q&A speculates that it would cost major producers like Coke more to reformulate than they may lose in sales because of the tax. Continue reading “The UK has a sugar tax coming, will there be one in the US too?”

New nutritional guidelines not tough enough on salt, target sugar instead

Anticipated U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines came out Thursday and, as I wrote last February, they let up a bit on salt concerns to focus on sugar as the worst of the evil three of salt, fat and sugar that we all eat too much of in the typical American diet.

“The average person eats 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, and the guidelines say everyone should lower that to 2,300, or about a teaspoon,” notes the New York Times report on the guidelines, which are issued every five years.

Salt gets off easy in the new dietary guidelines, too easy, I think.,
Salt gets off easy in the new dietary guidelines, too easy, I think.,

“Lowering sodium intake was the major push of the 2010 guidelines, and that document recommended that those most at risk of heart disease, or about half the population, lower their intake to 1,500 mg. The new guidelines delete that lower amount as part of the top recommendations. Later on, though, the report says those with high blood pressure and prehypertension could benefit from a steeper reduction,” the Times reports. Continue reading “New nutritional guidelines not tough enough on salt, target sugar instead”

Sugar or salt, which is harder to kick?

I’ve often characterized sugar, salt and fat as the evil triangle of foods — a triangle I have struggled mightily to avoid since my 2012 angioplasty. Of sugar or salt, which is harder to drop from your diet?

For me, its long been sugar. I’ve cut massive amounts of salt from what I eat by eating out less and eating less processed foods as well as by checking for low-salt varieties of such everyday kitchen staples as ketchup, tomato sauce and even olives.

Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.
Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.

So I was happy, if that’s the right term for  sad situation, to see this video report from Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert about a new research that shows it is indeed harder to drop sugar from your diet than salt. Continue reading “Sugar or salt, which is harder to kick?”

Need to quit sugar? Here’s why and how to do it

Most of us are well aware that salt, sugar and fat are the demons in our lives that make us unhealthy. The truth is that we do need a little of certain salts in our bodies. And our brains need glucose (a type of sugar) to function. And, incredibly, there are good fats that are absolutely essential to our bodies.

Telling the difference is easier than you think when it comes to sugar at least. It’s important to understand why the sweet stuff is just so bad for us, though. We all understand that too many sweet things can lead to weight gain, but perhaps the reason for it is a little unclear. The energy, or calories, from sugar, can be burnt off quicker than carbohydrates. It gives us that awesome boost of energy just as we need it, right?

A typical vending machine candy bar.
A typical vending machine candy bar.

Yes, there are such things as ‘sugar-highs’, when you have taken on so much sugar so quickly it makes you feel excitable and energized. But that passes really quick, and you can then feel low and lethargic. The process that removes the sugar from your bloodstream can also be damaged over time. This can lead to several health problems, including diabetes. That’s why even children shouldn’t be exposed to lots of sugar. It can just bring the problem on more quickly.

Continue reading “Need to quit sugar? Here’s why and how to do it”

Salt or sugar — pick your poison

Sugar has come in for a lot of criticism of late when it comes to health, being blamed for a range of issues. But now Canadian researchers are saying salt is the most demon of the demon trio of salt, fat and sugar.

Congress wants to keep American School children addicted to salt. Shame, shame shame on them.
Americans eat too much salt, period.

“[Sugar is] not of the same impact as salt and not associated with as many diseases. Salt is worse than sugar,” Dr. Norm Campbell with the University of Calgary’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta said in a recent CBC News item. “About one-third of hypertension around the world is caused by excess dietary salt, so about 300 million people in the world have hypertension due to excess salt and over two million in Canada,” Dr.Campbell said.

In addition to hypertension, salt also impacts:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and MS
  • Migraines
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Obesity

Continue reading “Salt or sugar — pick your poison”

Sugar is in the health crosshairs again

I’ve written about how sugar is being demonized as the real cause of heart disease and other health problems. I’ve also said sugar has been the most difficult on the evil triad of foodstuffs — fat, salt and sugar — for me to give up. I’m down to about 100 grams a day, with much of that coming from bananas (16 grams each, I eat two a day, so 32 grams of sugar there to start).

I've found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.
I’ve found two brands of low-sodium,low-sugar ketchup, Westbrae and LocalFolks Foods.

The anti-sugar movement got a big push forward this week with new Food and Drug Administration recommendations that we should eat no more than 50 grams of sugar a day. The recommendation, the first time the agency has put a cap on sugar consumption, got massive media play, including this New York Times piece.

Sugar, like salt and fat, is in most every processed food. Items “like low-fat yogurt, granola and wholegrain breads, as well as in ketchup, pasta sauce, canned fruit and prepared soups, salad dressings and marinades,” reports the Times. Continue reading “Sugar is in the health crosshairs again”

Diet soda news — Pepsi dropping aspartame

Diet soda is the topic of much disparagement among the food police these days. I tend to think it’s all overblown, but diet soda consumption has been dropping because of the negative marks its getting. And so big soda companies are trying to figure out a way to revive sales of what they see as their healthier offering.

Diet pepsi is removing aspartame and using two other sweeteners instead. Will it help alleviate consumer concerns?
Diet Pepsi is removing aspartame and using two other sweeteners instead. Will the change help alleviate consumer concerns? Doubtful.

Pepsi is responding to concerns by taking the sweetener aspartame out of diet soda sold in stores. You can still get the aspartame variety online apparently. But the bulk of Diet Pepsi starting in August will contain the sweetener sucralose and a second, acesulfame potassium, known as ace K (K is the symbol for potassium) is the soda trade.

Pepsi says consumers told it aspartame was the main reason they weren’t buying diet soda. Will the switch help? Continue reading “Diet soda news — Pepsi dropping aspartame”

Smuckers Fruit and Honey fruit spread — a tasty lower-sugar option

Low-sugar jams and jellies can be a tasty topping for the multigrain Thomas’s English muffins I’ve been enjoying lately. But I’m finding the world of jelly and jam can be a sugar mindfield. There’s regular jams and jellies, which have sugar added. Then there are no-sugar-added varieties and low-sugar varieties, meaning, as always, read the labels if you have concerns about eating sugar.

Smuckers new fruit and honey spread.
Smuckers new fruit and honey spread.
Nutrition information shows 8 grams of sugar per tablespoon.
Nutrition information shows 8 grams of sugar per tablespoon.

Smuckers has a new variety out that further muddies the waters by using honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Honey is in vogue these days but the reality is it’s all sugar to your body, nutritionists have told me. So even with Smuckers new Fruit and Honey spread, look at the nutrition label. The news there isn’t half bad. Continue reading “Smuckers Fruit and Honey fruit spread — a tasty lower-sugar option”

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