On a Christmas season trip to a major grocery chain I was taken aback by the massive amounts of sugar laden trash food laying in wait for the unsuspecting shopper. From the moment that I walked under those massive, roaring fans at the entrance until the time I escaped the sugary onslaught, walking under those fans to exit this minefield, my senses were bombarded with “visions of sugarplums”. Promises of recreating the magic of a childhood Christmas hovered around each toxic offering, laden with artificial colorings and extra coarse sugar sprinkled on top. Is there any wonder that depression and exhaustion are at an all-time high during this holiday seasons? Grocery stores create an incredible number of special “treats” for months leading up to a holiday. These sugar-bombs appear wholesome because they bring back memories of family and good times.
The absurdity of the irony involved in this yearly ritual of stuffing ourselves with sugar during the darkest time of the year, became crystal clear. While all of these beautifully crafted foods promote a season of Peace, the contribution to ill health that these foods make is anything except Peaceful. When will Americans wake up to the wiles of the food industry?
Surviving this season with your health initiative intact doesn’t take willpower. That is a common fallacy. It takes a decision to do everything within your power to be healthy. It takes a commitment to yourself. Once that decision is made and you have committed to be the best that you can be, the difficulty of “eating right” is removed. There is no struggle. You simply choose wisely every time that you eat.
A problem for some, however, is the marketing that is designed to deceive you. There are many foods that are promoted and packaged as “healthy” that are anything except good for you.
Most yogurt is a good example of deceptive marketing. Full-fat, plain Greek yogurt has no added sugars. There is 7 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar in this yogurt. That is not a problem. With 23 grams of protein per cup, the 7 grams of naturally occurring sugar is insignificant. When you compare this healthy option to a mere 6 ounces of Yoplait Original Strawberry Yogurt with only 6 grams of protein and 19 grams of sugar, most of which are added cane sugar, you have a good example of the concept, “Things are not always as they seem.” After all, yogurt is marketed as a “healthy” food.
Do you like granola? I remember when it got popular as a “health food”. Most people could not wrap their brains around the fact that there is nothing healthy about otherwise healthy foods that are smothered in sugar and produced in a package with earthy, healthy-looking pictures and warm colors deliberately designed to present a healthy image. While a lot of the ingredients in granola are healthy, the candies and syrups that are added to some granola recipes are not. Choose wisely, or better yet, make your own granola. I just mix nuts, oats and Maple Farms Sugar-free Pancake Syrup and Saigon cinnamon when I want a granola fix. If I want cereal, it’s wonderful with milk. I use soy milk because I eat soy products for the phytoestrogens.
One of the most deceptive food products available is the plethora of protein bars available in almost every convenience store, grocery store and pharmacy. While I do have a One bar or a Quest Protein Cookie on occasion, I steer clear of almost every other protein bar. One bars have one gram of sugar however, the PowerBar ProteinPlus Chocolate Brownie bar has 27 grams of sugar from a variety of sweeteners. A regular size Snickers candy bar only has 26.
Energy drinks are a common source of sugar in many diets. Rockstar Xdurance has 17 teaspoons of sugar which is 69 grams. There is no place in a health conscious diet for anything with that much added sugar, yet the phrase “energy drink” sounds like a healthy option over a carbonated cola. A regular canned Coke has 39 grams. While I don’t advocate drinking carbonated drinks, if I had to choose between those two options, I would choose the Coke. The word “energy” does not change the impact of 69 grams of sugar on your blood sugar and the cascade of biochemical reactions that occur when we pour that much sugar into our body at one time.
Breakfast cereals can be an abomination. Most people mistakenly believe that cereals are a better breakfast option than eggs. Cocoa Krispies have 16 grams of sugar and only 1.3 grams of protein per cup. If you want cereal, I strongly encourage you to eat oats which have 0 grams of added sugars and 5 grams of protein. Eat eggs, they really are a near perfect food.
If you are craving a dessert, please go to the search function on this website and enter the name of what you are craving. You very well may find a sugar-free version of your favorite dessert. Avoid the aisles of sugar filled options in your grocery store. Many of our dessert recipes are made with ingredients that also contain significant protein. Kill two birds with one stone and satisfy your sweet tooth and snatch a protein fix at the same time.
With just a little forethought and planning you can emerge from feasting seasons with a slim waistline. Read our articles and get informed. Surround yourself with like-minded people and have discussions about food and recipes. If you have a question or comment, you can post it on an article or email us. We will answer. Be proactive and enjoy a lifetime of good health.