Monday, September 8, 2008

Sugar Solutions

I just got home a little while ago from a workshop at Healthworks called, "Sugar Solutions: How to Tame Your Sweet Tooth," which was obviously right up my alley! A Holistic Health Counselor educated us about the history of sugar, how it affects our bodies, how to identify various forms of sugar on food labels, how to reduce and eliminate our craving and dependency on it, and how to seek healthy alternatives without deprivation. I learned quite a bit from the workshop tonight, but what I found especially surprising included:
  • Sugar In the Raw is no better for you than regular white (refined) sugar! (I was shocked by this one!) Sugar In the Raw is pretty much the same as white sugar, but with brown coloring. It just has a very good marketing team! ***Add to Edit: Response from Holistic Health Counselor: "Sugar in the Raw has a little bit (very small amount) of the molasses added back in. It's still refined and devoid of any nutrients whatsoever. It is table sugar/refined sugar and still has negative effects on blood sugar levels, energy levels, appetite and sweet cravings. Just because it has bigger granules and it not a fine powder, doesn't mean it's any better for you. It's sugar, plain and simple."
  • Splenda includes 20 different chemicals, many of which you can't find through a Google search. FDA guidelines do not require that these chemicals be disclosed. (Yikes!) 
  • Aspartame has been linked to a number of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's.
  • Artificial sweeteners have a higher glycemic index rating than white sugar and can actually increase sugar cravings. 
  • Sweet & Low is a cocarcinogen and has been banned in France and Germany for decades. 

Ok, now that I've scared you away from artificial sweeteners, onto to the food. Working backwards...

Speedy dinner: Salad with tomatoes, black beans, jalapenos, and half of a buffalo grilled cheese sandwich. 


Snack at 5:00: Multigrain roll from Starbucks eaten with an individual serving size packet of Barney Butter.


I also drank a Passion Fruit iced tea. 


Lunch: Vanilla-flavored Chobani with Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and...


... a homemade salad with romaine, tomatoes, black beans, jalapenos, bok choy, chicken, and whole wheat noodles. 


We are celebrating my boss's birthday tomorrow, so I offered to make Oatmeal Raisin Bars. They're baking right now in our oven and making our whole apartment smell delicious! I'm glad that I decided to make a batch and a half! :)

30 Comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Sounds like an interesting workshop!!

Oooh, your boss will DEFINITELY appreciate those bars tomorrow!! Yum!!

HangryPants said...

Thanks for the info, Tina. I am not eating HFCS or corn syrup this month and in researching about these products I've become much more aware of my overall sugar intake. It's really interesting how much sugar is in stuff. I am not that surprised by the sugar in the raw. I'm learning - sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar!

Have a great night.

Heather

Anonymous said...

Tina-
I followed the link to the diet.com video you put on the blog today and really liked the site! I was wondering- do you have to buy a membership to receive the videos or was your membership free?

Thanks!

Tina said...

Anon,

I googled "foam roller" this morning, and it brought me to the diet.com video. You should be able to view their movies without a membership, but I'm not 100% sure. Sorry that I can't be more help.

Bridget said...

Is it just the Sugar in the Raw brand? Or are other unrefined sugars, like ones found at Whole Foods, just as bad too??

Also what exactly makes up that buffalo grilled cheese?? sounds yummy!

daphna said...

Hey there! Just wanted to say that I believe that the first item you were taught may be incorrect. I remember researching Sugar in the Raw a while ago, and I believe that it is turbinado sugar, which is less processed than white sugar. The darker color comes from molasses that naturally occurs in the sugar cane.

Justine said...

Interesting stuff about sugar! Just wondering if they mentioned anything about stevia? I use that instead of artificial sweeteners and am curious if they had anything good/bad to say about it...

Rose said...

Tina - this is an amazing post. I never realized all those facts about sugar. I knew Sweet n Low was bad, but that didn't seem to stop me from putting a packet in my coffee every now and then (which is sinful, I know, and quite a bad addiction). After clicking on the link to what it is.. I was shocked and somewhat scared. Thanks for the wake up call!

Catherine said...

I'm having a hard time believing Sugar in the Raw is nothing but white sugar and food coloring, because it tastes different than white sugar! Needs more research, I think.

I buy something called "natural granulated sugar" for baking -- it's a very pale beige color, and heck, at least it's fair trade! I'm trying to use agave nectar and maple syrup more these days -- especially in my granola and oatmeal.

just me said...

wow, never knew those things about sugar! crazy! thanks for the info!

and the foods looks yummy...i still need to make your oatmeal bars!!

ttfn300 said...

very informative...

i had noticed my cravings with artificially sweetened beverages, but not as much when I use some in baked goods.

(as i type there's one of those HFCS commercials on...)

food for thought!

lengslog said...

Thanks for the sugar info. Really interesting, especially about the artificial sweeteners. Luckily I do not use them (sigh of relief). Though on occasions I reach for diet sodas (when I'm in the mood for soda). I'll definitely not reach for diet at all now.

I love those passion fruit iced teas from Starbucks.

Denise said...

How shocking! They colour the damn sugar! So naughty! I suppose you rather go for the truly natural options, as honey, agave nectar and palm sugar. We don't take sugar in our coffee or cereal at home, however for guests and baking I buy unrefined brown sugar or muscovado sugar, which is supposed to be in fact raw sugar...

Erin at caretoeat.net said...

That's totally freaky! Maybe it's time to cut out the Splenda. I remember you posting about reducing your Splenda intake; how has that been going for you?
Thanks for the info!

christie i. said...

I am also unsure about the sugar in the raw. I have always read that it was less processed than white sugar and that the brown color comes from molasses. Though, it is absolutely true that it has the same impact on your blood sugar as regular white sugar.

Artificial sweeteners scare me, we haven't used them for a couple of years now. If I accidently take some in, I get a headache and a stomach ache. Not good signs.

Tina said...

Re: Sugar in the Raw,

Maybe I misunderstood the health counselor about Sugar in the Raw. I will email her for clarification. I'll let you know as soon as I hear back from her. Sorry for the confusion, guys!

Lauren said...

What an interesting workshop topic... one I would benefit from learning more about as I also have a huge sweet tooth. I've been experimenting with all-natural sweeteners for a little while now, and I love evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar. If you're interested in some others, check out this website: http://www.sweetsavvy.com/. Debra Lynn Dadd has compiled a bunch of recipes using all-natural sugar substitutes. She's great!

Caitlin said...

Did they mention anything about Stevia? I know it's banned in some parts of Europe now, but I just don't want to stop using it! :(

Tami said...

what other tricks did you learn about sugar...it must have been very interesting.

Lori said...

So glad you posted the info you learned about artificial sweeteners. Nothing, but chemicals. We gotta stop thinking these things are healthy for us.

I'm curious about a clarification on the raw sugar as well. I'm still a believer that white sugar is better for you than any chemical. I was beginning to believe raw sugar would be better, but maybe not. Sounds like a great workshop.

Ali said...

Tina! Great Post!! I am thoroughly addicted to sugar and have been researching ways to ween myself off of it slowly. Any suggestions from the workshop?
Thanks! Keep up the TERRIFIC work!

Sammie said...

Tina,
Have you ever tried baking with date sugar or agave nectar? Both are supposed to be much better natural sugar alternatives. Thanks for the info on artificial sweeteners, I am soooo glad that I gave that stuff up. I totally agree that you get sweet cravings when consuming that junk.

Lisa said...

what an interesting workshop! I am curious to hear what you find out about the sugar in the raw as well.

Allison said...

Thanks for the reminder about fake sugars. I would rather eat a smaller amount of more natural ingredients then eat a bunch of chemicals. Random question but have you heard of a diet coke cake? Some of my friends make it and it is just a box of chocolate cake mix and a can of diet coke. It comes out as a moist cake but I haven't tried it since I would be nervous what the baked aspertame could do to the body.

Tina said...

Allison,

I haven't heard of a diet Coke cake. It sounds very interesting, but probably not something I'd try.

Crissy said...

don't knock the diet coke cake! When I was an RA during grad school I would make it for my residents all the time. partially b/c the ingredients cost less than the standard baking and also b/c it has way less calories and b/c i stink as a baker. I prefer using Funfetti mix with diet 7up. Literally mix the 2 things together and pop it in the oven for the same baking time that is on the box. no eggs, no oil.

Thanks for the info on the sugar. I tend to put a splenda in my plain oatmeal every morning to make it a little sweeter but now I am a little freaked out.

Amanda said...

definitely want to hear more about what you learned on kicking the sugar!

dc_rd said...

"Sugar is sugar is sugar" whoever said this is absolutely correct in how our bodies digest/metabolize sugar in the raw, agave nectar, white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc. Its all broken down the same.

I also learned something interesting about agave nectar at a conference recently: it is made up of 70% fructose. While HFCS has been shown to affect your liver/obesity risk in many studies, and the speculation is out about fructose, I think the argument should be made that even while things are "occuring naturally" they might not always be the best for us...just another vote for everything in moderation from me!

Erica said...

How- how was the multigrain starbucks roll? It looks pretty delicious.

Tina said...

Erica,

The roll was kind of stale, but I ate it at 5:00pm. I'd probably be really good first thing in the morning.