She did it again! My wife struck again! This is part two of misguided food choices and how they can come back to haunt you if you're not careful. Here's what went down: buzzing from the bweshako umubili nostalgia we went out for an anniversary rooftop dinner (🗣️ichupo chisuma) at an upper mwamba venue in the city. It was a bit chilly and my wife proceeded to order some tea as a drink option. It arrived and she demanded brown sugar on the side. I asked for her reasoning and she just laughed because she knew what was coming next and that I was building up to something. The fact is many of us find ourselves in similar positions where we may overindulge in things such brown sugar or honey with our tea and we think it's okay because it's healthy...or is it? Let's explore this notion together.
Replacing all sugar with honey and proceeding to consume it in abundance is no healthy alternative. Overindulge and you're still going to get fat. The biggest advantage honey has over regular sugar is that it doesn't jack up your insulin and blood sugar levels so dramatically. It has other side benefits of preventing acid reflux, providing antioxidant properties, relieving cold & flu symptoms while also being able to soothe the throat. The downside is honey has more calories than sugar, and ultimately energy balance (what you eat vs what you expend) is what determines whether you lose or gain weight. Manage your intake of honey to mitigate unwanted weight gain while you enjoy some of additional benefits mentioned above.
Verdict: Consume, don't over consume - it's not a free pass to the sweet side of life.
Sugar is sugar and the difference between white and brown sugar is incredibly negligible. You save maybe a calorie per serving and gain a few additional minerals in very low quantities but guess what, it's still sugar and it's still going to do the damage.
Verdict: Nutritionally, brown sugar and white sugar have very little separating them. You can adapt yourself to not need sugar in tea ☕ over time, but if that fails and you want to err on the side of caution then perhaps a sugar alternative in the form of stevia can be considered. Stevia is a plant extract sweetener that has no calories. It's available in health stores locally. I won't say much more than that because I'm not in the business of free marketing😔 Ask around, you'll find it.
100% fruit juice? Partially true. They probably did use real fruit, the problem is it's not just fruit in there. There's other things (mostly sugar and artificial sweeteners) that are added to enhance the taste and keep you buying the product because 'hey! It tastes good and it's healthy!'. It's likely not. My advice? Buy a blender and make your own 100% fruit juice. Ever noticed that the one you buy in the shop and the one you make yourself tastes different? Ever wonder why? My thoughts on this remain unchanged from a previous blog.
Verdict: If you buy it then it's because you just want juice, not because you want to be healthy because at the end of the day if you didn't squeeze those oranges yourself then the words 'pure', or '100% fruit' shouldn't entice you.
It isn't as healthy as you think because it retains a very high sugar content. It doesn't matter if it's low fat, and unless the food label under carbohydrates lists acceptable sugar content then your default conclusion should be that it's a sugar bomb. When you're joyfully taking spoonful's dismiss the notion that what you're doing is healthy eating.
Verdict: If you want healthy yogurt options then opt for Greek yogurt or natural unflavored yogurt. Feel free to top up with some fruit if the taste is too overwhelming for you. If you're after the potential digestive benefits then look to your very own local product --> mabisi.
Sugar-Free Gum & Energy Bars
Sugar-free gum is usually what it says. Just look for a seal of approval by a dental association i.e. South African Dental Association or American Dental Association on the package. It's a useful aid for dieting purposes.
Some energy bars have attractive human beings on the packaging in an effort to rope you in and make you believe what's being sold is commonly consumed by the Adonis's among us. Unless evidence exists (via the nutrition label) to the contrary you must assume that most energy bars are sugar bombs.
Verdict: On sugar free gum I'll concede. They're useful for managing cravings and appetite while helping you avoid cavities. Just note that you may experience an increase in gas issues due to constant swallowing of air as you chew. So, fresh up top and dirty down below. On energy bars you're better off grabbing a banana 🍌 or piece of fruit if you need a lift. If you insist on energy bars look out for 'lite' options.
Ketchup/Tomato Sauce/BBQ Sauce
Childhood has conditioned us to eat chips with ketchup. In fact, if there's no ketchup available then the chips just don't taste the same. Despite ketchup and many other popular sauces not having a sweet taste, they're loaded with sugar.
Verdict: Minimize your intake of ketchup and other sauces. It does more for taste than it does for health. Alternatively, spend an extra 10-20 minutes on the treadmill if you insist on consuming the same quantities. Always look to balance your food intake with your energy expenditure.
I hope this all helps you make better decisions. Don't mislead yourself when you're making purchases for these products and proceeding to consume them in excess.