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    • 2 Days left to see Movie for Free!!

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    •  3/29/2012 9:13:27 AM
    • Here is the trailer for the new movie "HUNGRY FOR CHANGE".

      This is another must see movie.  The makers of this movie have made it available to view

      FOR FREE until March 31st.

      You can see the entire movie HERE.

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    • High Carb Diet?!!! Absolutely says Dr McDougall!

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    •  3/28/2012 8:42:23 AM

      I found this wonderful article about the importance of grains in our diet.  Weight management is always quite interesting to me and something that doesn't come easily (another reason I am "Maintenance mommy").  I read this article this morning and I loved it so much that I thought I would share.  Dr McDougall is a highly respected doctor, researcher and author.  You can find the rest of the article (I didn't include it all) on his website.



      For the Love of Grains


      John McDougall, MD

      Cereal grains are currently the most


      important nutritional component of the human diet—and for thousands of years grains have been recognized as staples—necessary foods—and extolled as “the staff of life.” In Roman times Ceres was the goddess of agriculture.1  The gifts offered to Ceres at festivals were referred to as cerealia. Since the most important gifts offered were wheat and barley, these grains naturally became known as cerealia or cereal.  The value of grains is reflected by common sayings such as: “The greatest thing since sliced bread,” signifying the absolute best, “bread and circuses” refers to keeping people happy, “cash” is called bread or dough, and “breaking bread” speaks of a sense of sharing.

      It may surprise you to learn that after this long association of grains with goodness that this staple food is now under attack. I hear:

      1) Don’t eat rice and other grains because they turn to sugar, which will make you fat. Even the tiniest bite of a grain will trigger your body to crave more and you will become obese.  After all, grains are used for fattening livestock, and they will do the same to you.

      2) If you don't soak your grains before cooking, they will “steal” nutrients from your body—this is due to phytic acid and other anti-nutrients in the grains.

      3) Millions of people are intolerant to the protein in grains, causing problems from arthritis to cancer, for most people, not just those few with celiac disease.

      4) Grains harbor toxic fungi that can cause cancer.

      5) Grains have drug-like substances in them that create addiction.  If you eat them, you will become hooked on grains.

      Separating the wheat from the chaff—fact from fiction—begins by knowing that cereal grains provide an abundance of our most important nutrient: starch—70% to 83% of the calories found in grains are in the form of this clean burning carbohydrate fuel.

      Grains are the seeds of grasses.Globally, the most important cereal grains include wheat, rice, and corn, whereas the minor grains include oats, rye, barley, triticale, sorghum, and millet. Triticale is a hybrid between rye and wheat. Wheat accounts for one-third of the total worldwide grain production and rice accounts for one-fourth. In order to bring out their nutrition and flavor, grains are almost always consumed after cooking and/or grinding (milling). Rice and sorghum are grown in warm climates; whereas wheat, rye, triticale, oats, barley, and spelt are grown in colder seasonal, temperate regions. Amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are pseudocereals derived from broadleaf plants, not grasses, however, they are used much like cereal grains.

      Starch is a “complex carbohydrate” made up of long chains of sugar molecules, stored in the plant’s parts for the future. This stockpile is used for survival overwinter, to regrow the next year, and to reproduce.  In the case of grains, the starch stored in the seedling provides the energy for the first few hours of life, before the leaves begin their own photosynthesis.  Starchy plant food-parts, are simply called “starches.” Tubers (potatoes, sweet potato, cassava), winter squashes, legumes (beans), and grains serve as organs for storing starch.  In contrast, green and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus, accumulate relatively little starch, and fruit sugars are simple sugars, not starch.




      Apparent Imperfections of Grains

      No single food is always perfect for every person: Beans may be a little too high in protein, especially for people with inadequate kidneys, white potatoes are classified as nightshades that can contain a toxin called solanine, winter squashes may be too low in calories for athletes, corn may cause food allergies in sensitive people, and wheat has gluten which causes celiac disease in a few people.  Recently, several writers, who by no coincidence also recommend diets high in meat, fish and/or dairy products, have misled the public by stretching the truth—overstating the importance of the imperfections and minimizing the benefits of grains.6-8  Some of their claims are:

      Grains Will Make You Fat—Not So!

      Really: Obesity is unknown among more than 3 billion people who currently live on grain-based diets and the billions more who have done so in the past. Grains are low in calories, low in fat, and high in appetite-satisfying carbohydrates. While overfeeding with grains can easily fatten food-animals, like cows and pigs; the human body only reluctantly converts carbohydrates, like those found in grains, into body fat.9

      Grains Rob You of Nutrients—Not Important

      Really: Grains are loaded with minerals; therefore, the more grains you eat the more minerals you consume.  Phytic acid, also plentiful in grains, is considered an anti-nutrient because of its ability to bind with minerals, such as zinc and calcium, and prevent their absorption. Two often-cited examples of zinc deficiency are among people living in small communities in rural Iran and Australia (Aborigines).10-11 Multiple nutritional factors, not just phytic acid, were involved in both examples. Consumption of large amounts of unleavened bread seemed central to the development of zinc deficiency.  Once the bread is leavened, then the activity of phytic acid is reduced, and zinc becomes readily available.12 Soaking, germination, boiling, cooking, and fermentation all inactivate phytic acid and free up minerals for absorption.  In real-life situations, for otherwise healthy people, the consumption of grains in recommended amounts has had no adverse effect on mineral status.13 

      Phytic acid actually has many beneficial health effects—you won’t want it out of your diet. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides.14 Phytic acid is linked to a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases in people.13,14

      Grains Cause Human Disease—Some Do

      Really: Some people (at most 1% of people) are intolerant of a protein, called gluten, found in some grains. High concentrations of gluten are found in wheat, barley, and rye (but not in rice, corn, oats, sorghum, and millet).  (See my September 2005 newsletter article.)  The condition, called celiac disease, can result in malnutrition, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

      Grains are slightly acidic; therefore, theoretically, they may cause loss of minerals, including calcium, from the body.  (The relative acid load of grains is about +1, compared to the very high acid loads of cheese +10, fish +9.3, chicken +7 and red meat +6.3).15 Limited research shows grains do not increase calcium loss,16 and grain-consuming populations, such as the Japanese and Chinese, have very low rates of osteoporosis.17,18

      Food allergies to wheat and corn do occur in less than 1% of people, but allergies to rice are very uncommon;19 this is one reason rice is an accepted food in elimination diets designed to test and treat food allergies. 

      Fungi on Grains Will Poison You—So Don’t Eat Spoiled Food

      Really: Aflatoxins are naturally occurringtoxins that are produced by many species ofAspergillus, afungus. The toxin-producing fungi grow as the grains spoil in storage. Aflatoxins are toxic andcarcinogenic. High-levels of aflatoxin exposure can produce acute tissuenecrosis, cirrhosis, andcarcinoma of the liver.  This potential and serious problem should cause us to avoid spoiled grains. Boiling and pressure-cooking reduce the activity of this toxin.20, 21

      You Will Become Addicted to Grains—Yes!

      Really: Just like you have become addicted to water and the oxygen in air.  The human body is designed to enjoy and become satiated by carbohydrate—both simple and complex sugars (starches)—not surprising since this substance is our intended fuel.  Consider the tips of our tongues have sweet-tasting taste buds.  We are designed to seek and enjoy this flavor. There are no similar sensors on our tongues for fat or protein. (A cat has taste buds for protein.)  Once consumed, carbohydrate causes changes in bodily hormones and brain chemistry, resulting in satisfaction of the appetite—our reward for eating correctly.  Failure to eat sufficient carbohydrate, when people consume beef, chicken, fish and cheese, all containing almost no carbohydrate, leaves them wanting sugars, which may cause some people to conclude that they are addicted to carbohydrate. 

      Top Nutrition in Grains

      Grains are derived from the seeds of grasses. They contain all the energy (starch), protein, and minerals needed to germinate a seedling, therefore they are inherently nutritious. Grains contain no cholesterol, are low in fat, and are high in dietary fiber. Although grains are low in fat they are well supplied with the few kinds of fat (linolenic and linoleic acid) that are essential for our health. The ingredients in single grains easily meet our nutritional needs, except for vitamins A and C.  Thus, people cannot live on grains alone; they must also include a fruit and/or a green or yellow vegetable to supply these two essential vitamins. (In contrast, vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes supply all necessary nutrients and can serve as sole sources of food. Qualified exceptions to this statement of completeness are vitamins B12 and D – see my September and November 2007 McDougall Newsletters.)

      Established Benefits of Eating Whole Grains

      Lowers Cholesterol

      Lowers Blood Sugar

      Lowers Insulin Levels

      Lowers IGF-1 Levels

      Reduces Risk of Thrombosis

      Reduces Heart Attack Risk

      Reduces Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

      Reduces Risk of Obesity

      Reduces Insulin Resistance

      Lowers Colon Cancer Risk

      Lowers Gastric Cancer Risk

      Improves Bowel Function

      Accelerates Bowel Transit Time

      Delays Gastric Emptying

      Relieves Constipation

      Increases “Good” Bowel Bacteria (bifidobacteria)

      Decreases ”Bad” Bowel Bacteria (E. Coli)

      Provides Anti-oxidant Activity

      Thousands of scientific studies confirm the healthful benefits of whole grains.  (Unfortunately, most of this research has been funded by the cereal industries.22)

      Can I Eat Flour Products, Like in Bread?

      Although cereal grains at the farm gate are very nutritious, the processing and refining steps that follow usually turn them into packaged products that are now stripped of their nutrients (fiber, vitamins, and minerals) and loaded with salt, oils, sugars, dairy- derivitives, and chemicals.  Whereas, whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, that box of sugar puffs in your pantry may be doing just the opposite.  In general, the more original and unadulterated the grain, the better for you.

      I am often asked if there is any harm in using a home-bread-machine to make bread—after all, nothing is added or removed in the processing.  For most people whole grain breads are an excellent choice, but it is not the same as eating whole grains. Beating the whole grain more than 1000 times with the whirling steel blade of the bread machine converts the kernel into a powder, known as flour.The intact cell wall of the kernel has been destroyed and now the digestive enzymes (amylase) easily digest the inner nutrients. In addition, the flour has a much larger surface area to volume ratio than did the whole grain, making digestion and absorption much more rapid. For you this physical change may translate into easier weight gain, and higher blood levels of glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. The amount of insulin released by the pancreas into the blood is also increased as grains are processed from whole grains to cracked grains to coarse flour to fine flour.23  More insulin can mean more weight gain, and maybe, more risk of diabetes and heart disease. However, compared to animal-foods, free-oils, and plant-parts processed beyond recognition, whole wheat bread is definitely health food.

      Can I Eat White Rice?

      If you must.  As a young doctor, I began my practice in Hawaii.  Ancestors of many of my patients had recently emigrated from countries, like Japan, China, and the Philippines, where rice was their staple food.  That is white rice.  In these cultures, eating brown, whole grain, rice was a social disgrace; because it was cheaper, brown rice was consumed by the lower class, financially poorer, people.  Thus, a social prejudice existed: refined people eat refined rice.  I could not overcome this irrational bias, so I sanctioned eating the McDougall diet with white rice—and my patients still became healthier, lost weight, and stopped their medications.  Why? Because white rice replaced their meat, cheese, and ice cream.  One of the most successful diet therapies ever used to treat sick people has been the Kempner Diet from Duke University.  The founder, Walter Kempner, MD, fed his patients mostly white rice and fruits.  This treatment quickly and effectively reversed hypertension, type-2 diabetes, diabetic eye damage, arthritis, heart failure (cardiomegaly and EKG changes), kidney disease, and obesity.24

      Think Simple. Think Starch.

      The two most important dietary messages I want you to learn are:

      1) Health and personal appearance change dramatically by simply changing the composition of the foods consumed.  When cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken wings, and cheese are the daily fare, then people are fat and sick.   Filling the dinner plate with whole grains, legumes, tubers, green and yellow vegetables, and fruit results in robust health. Don’t complicate matters by focusing on secondary issues, like heredity, exercise, stress, etc.

      2) Starches, not green and yellow vegetables and fruits, must make up the bulk of the meals for satisfaction and proper nutrition.  Grains are an excellent source of starch.

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    • 5 Minute Wrap and Black Bean Dip

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    •  3/26/2012 9:05:17 PM

    • Sometimes the yummiest creation can be made by simply throwing together whatever you have in your fridge (either times the concoctions are not quite so great :)


      I was in a huge rush one day and had only a few minutes to make some lunch.  I was thrilled with what I came up with and will make it a keeper - so I thought I would share!




      1 Nori sheet

      1 romaine lettuce leaf

      1/3 cup brown rice, either cold or warm

      1/4 cup BLACK BEAN DIP (see below), cold or warm

      1/2 red bell pepper, sliced



      1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

      1 cup of salsa

      1 tsp of cumin

      Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Easy as that!

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    • Carrot Muffins..yummy!

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    •  6/1/2012 4:36:48 PM


      Growing up, my Mom used to make the yummiest carrot muffins.  I was in the mood to bake this week and was feeling a little nostalgic about those childhood muffins.  I thought I would try and create one that was egg-free, dairy-free, oil-free and "sugar-free" (which for me is means finding a healthier alternative to that crack cocaine ;).  I loved what I came up with, but to be honest, my kids thought they needed to be a little sweeter.  They would have preferred that I replaced the raisins with chocolate chips...hmmm...maybe next time!



      Dry Ingredients

      2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry flour

      1/2 tsp baking soda

      1/2 tsp baking powder

      2 tsp cinnamon

      1/4 cup palm sugar*

      1/2 cup ground flaxseed (to replace the eggs)

      1/2 tsp salt


      Wet Ingredients

      1 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (with the liquid)

      1 cup applesauce (to replace the oil)

      2 cups shredded carrots

      1/4 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or choose ;)

      1/4 cup honey

      1/2 cup raisins


      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

      In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients and them pour them into the dry ingredients.  Mix until the dry and the wet are well incorporated. 

      Spoon the batter into a greased muffin pan and bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown


      *The palm sugar that I used comes in a solid "puck" shape that you can read more about here.  I simply ground it into a powder in my Vitamix and it worked great!


      Maintenance Mommy

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    • New Harvard Study: RED MEAT causes Early Death

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    •  3/13/2012 5:21:28 PM

      A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality. The results also showed that substituting other healthy protein sources, such as fish, poultry, nuts, and legumes, was associated with a lower risk of mortality.


      “Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies,” said lead author An Pan, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.


      The study was published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.


      The researchers, including senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, and colleagues, prospectively observed 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women in the Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline. Their diets were assessed through questionnaires every four years.


      A combined 23,926 deaths were documented in the two studies, of which 5,910 were from cardiovascular disease and 9,464 from cancer. Regular consumption of red meat, particularly processed red meat, was associated with increased mortality risk. One daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of mortality, and one daily serving of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20 percent increased risk.


      Among specific causes, the corresponding increases in risk were 18 percent and 21 percent for cardiovascular mortality, and 10 percent and 16 percent for cancer mortality. These analyses took into account chronic disease risk factors such as age, body mass index, physical activity, and family history of heart disease or major cancers.


      Red meat, especially processed meat, contains ingredients that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These include heme iron, saturated fat, sodium, nitrites, and certain carcinogens that are formed during cooking.


      Replacing one serving of total red meat with one serving of a healthy protein source was associated with a lower mortality risk: 7 percent for fish, 14 percent for poultry, 19 percent for nuts, 10 percent for legumes, 10 percent for low-fat dairy products, and 14 percent for whole grains. The researchers estimated that 9.3 percent of deaths in men and 7.6 percent in women could have been prevented at the end of the follow-up if all the participants had consumed less than 0.5 servings per day of red meat.


      “This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death,” said Hu. “On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality.”

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    • Healthy Granola

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    •  3/12/2012 2:28:34 PM

      For a while now I have wanted to come up with a "healthier" version of granola.  Granola, although touted as a health food, can be quite high in sugar and fat, not to mention calories.  So I wanted to try and come up with one that tastes great and that is made from all natural, high-quality ingredients.  So here it is!  I wouldn't say that it is low fat or low sugar, (I think I'll work on that next), but it is definitely better than most of the ones that you will buy at the store.  There are no hydrogenated or trans fats in it, and the sweetener is not that white powdery stuff I call crack :)  Last week I wrote about some of the different sweeteners that I use - you can read that here.


      I absolutely loved this stuff and so did my kids (hopeful the new neighbor did too).  Also, just a tip - granola is a very "forgiving" recipe so if you don't have or don't like any of the ingredients, simply leave them out (except for maybe the oats ;).


      Dry Ingredients

      5 cups rolled oats

      1 cup sliced almonds

      1/2 raw cashews

      1/2 shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened - your choice)

      1/2 wheat germ

      1/2 cup sunflower seeds

      1/2 raisins

      1/2 cup dried cranberries

      1/2 cup goji berries, optional

      2 tsp cinnamon

      1 tsp sea salt


       Wet Ingredients

      1/2 cup coconut oil (I used unrefined)

      1/4 cup palm sugar (or 1 "puck")

      1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar

      1/2 cup pineapple juice (which I drained from a can of pineapple chunks), or apple juice concentrate

      1/2 chopped dates (I put these in the wet ingredients to soften them and plump them up)

      Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.


      Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. 


      In a saucepan pan combine all of the wet ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat.   Once it is brought to a boil, turn the heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. 


      Remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and then divide the granola onto 2 large cookie sheets. 


      Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour and 20 minutes.  Stir the granola every 20 minutes to create even heating.


      You can eat the granola warm, or store it a room temperature in an air-tight container.  It should keep for at least of few weeks (although mine only lasted a few days with all the eager hands).

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    • Sugar And The Alternatives

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    •  3/5/2012 12:58:54 PM
    • I thought that today we would talk a little about sugar and sugar alternatives.  I just finished making some delicious granola (recipe to come) with a few sugar alternatives (like palm sugar and turbinado).  I thought that I should at least touch on these before introducing them in recipes (especially for the newbies).


      There is a LOT of talk about sugar these days, particularly sugar alternatives. I have a definite sweet tooth which you can read more about here, so I am always interested in any "sweet talk".


      I think most people (or at least most people on this site) can agree that the good-old white powdery stuff we call sugar is NOT good for us...for lots of reasons.  As a result, we have seen a plethora of products come onto the market to take its place.  The problem is knowing which ones are better than others.  I was going to write all about each one and then I found a great article (see below) that does a great job. 


      I thought I would at least mention a few of the ones that I use. I also wanted to give you all an idea of price.  The easiest way for me to do that was to just check out some online prices and then do it based on 16 oz.


      The first is stevia and can generally be found everywhere these days (keep in mind that Truvia is slightly different).  The main thing I use stevia for is my oatmeal and my herbal tea.  I rarely bake with it or use it for any other reason, but I always have it on hand (every once in a while I will sweeten a smoothie with it).  The cost is about $28 for 16oz, but that number is kind of deceiving because you use such a small quantity.




      Honey is probably my favorite alternative to sugar right now.   I have found a local "bee-man" where I buy raw, unfiltered honey.  I love it and the cost is minimal when compared to some of the other alternatives like maple syrup or agave nectar. Cost is around $3-4 /lb. 




      I definitely participated in the agave rage, but it has worn off quite a bit.  I once heard someone say, "Sugar is sugar is sugar!"  Meaning that they are all VERY low in nutrients and your body responds to them all very similarly (except for maybe diabetics).  So if you are NOT diabetic, it seems it just comes down to preference and taste.  I prefer the taste of honey to agave, and it's cheaper, so I have to admit that I have kind of fallen off the agave band wagon. (Cost about $6)




      Maple syrup is something that I almost always have in the house.  I use it mainly for breakfast items like waffles and pancakes and I occasionally use it in baking.  It is quite expensive (about $10 for 16 oz), but as far as sugar goes it seems to be on the upper end for nutrients.





      Some say that brown rice syrup will not spike your blood sugar levels that way that other sweeteners will. However, I have also read the exact opposite.  So quite frankly I'm not sure.  It have some in the house and the truth is that I rarely ever use it. It is also on the expensive side (about $7) and I bought it when I was experimenting with different sweeteners.





      This is a picture of Palm sugar in a puck-like form that I buy it (hey I'm Canadian and it looks like a puck to me...I think the correct term is a sugar "cake" though).  Anyway, I have been a big fan of palm sugar for quite a while now and I usually talk about it in my cooking classes.  I like it because it is less processed that sugar (it comes from the sap of a palm tree and is processed similarly to maple syrup), it is low on the glycemic index, and it is inexpensive.  It has been used in Asia as a sweetener for centuries and is gaining more popularity in America.  Health food stores have started to carry it, but I buy it for a fraction of the cost (under $2) at my local Asian stores.  Right now I have only used it in things that are heated (like soups, sauces and syrups - like the one I poured over the granola today).  I keep meaning to put it into my Vitamix to turn it into a powder form so that I can bake with it.  In fact I have been wanting to make some carrot muffins, so I will experiment and report back :) 


      Coconut sugar has emerged on the market and is actually a different product, but often the 2 are labelled the same (see the picture below).  So if you specifically need on or the other make sure you dig a little deeper.  Both are natural sweeteners that come from trees but coconut sugar comes from the buds of coconut tree flowers.


      So the bottom line is that you just need to figure out what works best for you; both for you tastes and your budget. 

      Here is a great article going into even more depth that I found at



      Glucose is the simple sugar made by the body through digestion of carbohydrates. It is the body's chief source of energy. Sometimes glucose is called dextrose.


      Sucrose is what we commonly refer to as table sugar. It is made from highly processed sugar cane or sugar beets. The composition of sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose, which separates during digestion. Pure sucrose is devoid of any nutrients.


      Fructose, commonly called fruit sugar, is a simple sugar found in honey, tree fruits, berries, and melons. But don't be fooled into thinking fructose on a label means you are eating fruit sugar. Pure crystalline fructose comes from two sources: corn or sucrose (table sugar). Corn starch is processed to release fructose. Sucrose (table sugar) is enzymatically hydrolyzed to separate into glucose and fructose. Crystalline fructose is pure fructose from one of these two sources.

      High fructose syrup

      High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from starches like corn, wheat, and rice. High fructose syrups contain nearly equal amounts of glucose and fructose, a composition nearly identical to sucrose (table sugar). The reason high fructose corn syrup is so abundant in our processed food is simple-it's cheaper than sugar. Because we highly subsidize corn and place tariffs on sugar imports, high fructose corn syrup is much less expensive.

      Pure fructose is 1.2-1.8 times sweeter than sucrose so less is needed for the same level of sweetness. It is low on the glycemic index, therefore it does not lead to peaks and dips in the body's glucose levels. But fructose is processed in the liver. When too much fructose enters the liver at once, the liver can't process fructose as a sugar. Instead, the liver turns excess fructose into fats-triglycerides. When you incorporate these fats into our bodies cells (the cell membranes) triglycerides cause these cells to be insulin resistant. This is the reason that high fructose corn syrup leads to diabetes. Fructose is linked to significant increases of both cholesterol and triglycerides. And remember-fructose, like sucrose-is a highly refined processed sugar devoid of any nutrition.

      Also check out Issue 5, High Fructose Corn Syrup, A Not So Sweet Surprise


      Maltose, also known as malt sugar, is half as sweet as sucrose (table sugar). It is produced from starch (barley, wheat, rice or other grains). It has been produced in China since 200 B.C. We use it in making beer and as an additive to some processed foods.

      In our bodies, maltose is formed as the first step in digestion of starchy foods. It is then broken down into glucose.


      Lactose is the sugar found naturally in milk.

      Date Sugar

      Date sugar is 100% dehydrated dates ground into small pieces. It is a whole food, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Date sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar or brown sugar cup for cup, but it does not dissolve in liquids. Most alternative health practitionars consider Date Sugar to be a healthy sugar alternative. We did not include it in the chart because we could not find its glycemic index.

      Sugar Alcohols or Polyols

      Maltitol, maltitol syrup, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, lactitol, erythritol, and isomalt are examples of sugar alcohols. They occur naturally in plants, but are usually manufactured from sugars and starches. Sugar alcohols have fewer calories than sugars because they are not completely absorbed by the body. They can ferment in the intestines and cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

      Glycemic Index

      When carbohydrates are digested, glucose is released into the bloodstream. The glycemic index is a comparative measurement of the amount of glucose released by a particular food over a two to three-hour period.

      But the GI rating alone does not give you all of the information you need to determine a food's effect on your blood sugar. It only tells you how quickly the carbs in a food should turn into sugar in your blood. The glycemic load or GL tells you how much of that carb the food contains. And of course the amount you eat of that particular food is also a huge factor in the rise of your blood sugar.

      Foods ranked low on the GI scale release glucose slowly and steadily without a sudden spike of glucose in the blood.  A spike in glucose results in a large insulin release, which is more likely to store glucose as fat rather than use it as fuel. Plus a high release of insulin often results in a rapid drop in blood sugar, causing hunger. So you eat candy. Your blood sugar spikes. Insulin is released. Your blood sugar drops. You eat more candy. The sugar rollercoaster ride begins.

      It is important to remember that the GI scale is simply a comparative scale; it compares one food's blood glucose response to another. There are many other factors to consider when choosing your food. Start with the basic question. Is this food dense with nutrients? 


      Sugars & Substitutes with their Glycemic Index
      Artificial Sweeteners
      Never a Healthy Sugar Alternative
      All artificial chemical sweeteners are toxic and can indirectly lead to weight gain, the very reason many people consume them. They should be avoided. In fact, given a choice between high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, we recommend high fructose corn syrup by far (though it's essentially asking if you should consume poison or worse poison).
      Best Healthy Sugar Alternative
      Though it is 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, stevia is not a sugar. Unlike other popular sweeteners, it has a glycemic index rating of less than 1 and therefore does not feed candida (yeast) or cause any of the numerous other problems associated with sugar consumption. Read more about stevia at Organic Lifestyle Magazine (OLM). Please note that Stevia and Truvia are not the same thing.

      Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol sweetener found in the fibers of fruits and vegetables which can cause bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence with initial consumption. It's said to be safe for pregnant women, and is said to possibly treat ear infections, osteoposis, respiratory infections, candida, and is it even helps fight cavities. In fact, in Finland, virtually all chewing gum is sweetened with xylitol.

      Agave Nectar
      A sweet syrup made from the Blue Agave plant, Agave Nectar is obtained by the extraction and purification of "sap" from the agave plant, which is broken down by natural enzymes into the monosaccharides (simple sugars): mainly fructose (70-75%) and dextrose (20-26%). Read more about agave nectar at OLM.
      Though fructose has a low glycemic index rating, fructose consumption should be limited. Fructose is linked to heart disease as it raises triglycerides and cholesterol. It is devoid of nutrition.
      Brown Rice Syrup
      It is not recommended for diabetics, since its sweetness comes from maltose, which is known to cause spikes in blood sugar.
      Raw Honey
      A Healthy Sugar Alternative in moderation        
      With antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients, raw, unprocessed honey is considered a superfood by many alternative health care practitioners and a remedy for many health ailments. Choose your honey wisely. There is nothing beneficial about processed honey. Read more about honey at OLM.
      Coconut Palm Sugar
      Originally made from the sugary sap of the Palmyra palm , the date palm or sugar date palm (Phoenix sylvestris). It's also made from the sap of coconut palms. With a relatively low glycemic index, Cocnut palm sugar is the new rage among health nuts. It's often called "coconut nectar sugar" or "coconut sugar".
      Apple Juice
      Fresh apple juice is good for you, though we recommend eating fresh raw whole apples. Concentrated apple juice (sometimes used as a sweetener) is closer to refined sugar than fresh apple juice.
      Barley Malt Syrup
      Barley malt syrup is considered to be one of the healthiest sweeteners in the natural food industry. Barley malt is made by soaking and sprouting barley to make malt, then combining it with more barley and cooking this mixture until the starch is converted to sugar. The mash is then strained and cooked down to syrup or dried into powder.
      This is an ancient, Oriental whole grain sweetener made from cultured brown rice. It has a thick, pudding-like consistency. It's not easy to find in the U.S., but it is a great alternative to refined table sugar.
      Sugar Cane Juice

      Healthy Sugar Alternative in moderation
      Sugar cane juice has many nutrients and other beneficial properties and is said by some health practitioners to be almost as medicinal as raw honey.

      Organic Sugar
      Organic sugar comes from sugar cane grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. It is usually darker than traditional white sugar because it contains some molasses. (It has not been processed to the degree white sugar is processed).
      Maple Syrup
      Maple syrup is made by boiling sap collected from natural growth maple trees during March & April. It is refined sap and is therefore processed.  It has a high glycemic index, and though it is much more nutritious then refined table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, there are better choices.
      Evaporated Cane Juice
      Evaporated cane juice is often considered unrefined sugar, but juicing is a refining process, and evaporating refines further. Though better than turbinado, cane juice (unevaporated) is a better choice as a sweetener.
      Black Strap Molasses
      White refined table sugar is sugar cane with all the nutrition taken out. Black strap molasses is all of that nutrition that was taken away. A quality organic (must be organic!) molasses provides iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and is alkalizing to the body.
      Turbinado sugar is partially processed sugar, also called raw sugar.
      Raw Sugar
      Raw sugar
      Raw sugar is not actually raw sugar. It is processed, though not as refined as common white table sugar. Therefore, given a choice between raw and white, choose raw. There are many different variations of raw sugar with many different names depending on how refined it is.
      Cola (and most other sodas)
      Though cola has a lower GI ranking then some might expect, there are many other reasons to avoid cola, or any type of soda. There is nothing beneficial to the human body inside a can of soda (not to mention we should avoid drinking out of aluminum cans!).
      Corn Syrup
      Corn syrup has very little nutrition and should be avoided.
      Refined, Pasteurized Honey
      The nutrition is gone, and there is often high fructose corn syrup added to processed honey. Refined pasteurized honey is no better than white table sugar.
      Refined Table Sugar
      Conventionally grown, chemically processed, and striped of all beneficial properties, many health advocates believe that refined sugar is one of the two leading causes (high fructose corn syrup is the other) of nearly every health ailment known to man (or woman or child). Not only does it have a high GI ranking, but it also is extremely acidic to the body causing calcium and other mineral depletion from bones and organs (sugar is alkaline but has a very acidic effect on the body).
      High Fructose Corn Syrup
      Many health advocates believe that high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar are the two biggest contributors to health ailments in our society. High fructose corn syrup is a combination of sucrose and fructose.
      Glucose (AKA Dextrose)
      White bread was the benchmark, but for consistency glucose now holds the rating at 100.
      Foods that have maltodextrin often say "Low Sugar" or "Complex Carbohydrate", but this sweetener should be avoided!


      Please note that the glycemic index numbers here are estimates. There are many variables that help determine how quickly a sugar is absorbed. These numbers represant an average of many different respected studies. In addition, it is very important to note that the glycemic index does not define what is a healthy sugar and what is an unhealthy sugar. There are many other variables.

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