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Posts Tagged ‘sugar free’

I’m a heavy magazine reader (mostly nerdy stuff). This week, I polished-off a Women’s Health and a National Geographic:

  • The Women’s Health* May issue (page 112) has an article titled “Can you build a better sugar?” which basically concludes that sugar substitutes have their issues (they may actually cause blood sugar spikes) and that it might be best to just stick to the more natural sugar.
  • National Geographic included an excerpt of the book, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong and highlighted how margarine and Crisco basically introduced trans fats to the American diet and cause up to 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S. We’d be better off sticking with the more natural butter.

So, both concluded that we’d be better off sticking to a food closer to it’s original form than one created through a highly lab-intensive process. SHOCKED, shocked I tell you! (sarcasm)

I’m definitely guilty of some processed foods, but whenever possible, we should try to avoid them, especially as hypoglycemics, as there can be serious blood sugar consequences.

Am I saying go to town and eat as much sugar and butter as you want? Nope. Moderation is the key, a combination of portion control and cutting-back on how much sugar, butter, salt, etc. we add to things. For example, our sweets in the U.S. are ridiculously sweet compared to sweets in other countries and they are HUGE. We could easily fix both.

 

 

*I’m in no way advocating that Women’s Health is a good source of actual health advice. Some of their articles are great and well-researched, but many are not, and contradict each other. Read with caution.

 

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Wedding cake

As a bride-to-be, I’m in the process of cake shopping for our wedding. Those of you who know me can imagine that this is particularly entertaining for me, as I’m a marketer by trade, and used to help my grandmother make wedding cakes.

So I was a little taken back when one bakery refused to make me a sugar free cake, saying “We only make ORIGINAL recipes here.”

I mean, I get it, no one wants to walk into their store, expecting one thing and getting another. At the same time, we’ve learned a few things since 1965 (when this particular bakery originated), like that margarine is worse than butter, that high amounts of sugar and fat can harm you, that certain color dyes can cause harm or death.  And, of course, we know people various diseases and disorders, like hypoglycemia and diabetes, shouldn’t eat certain things.

And I’m also sure that ORIGINAL recipe went through many renditions, somewhere along the line, prior to becoming the recipe it is today. So, it’s not the original recipe; at some point, you all just decided it was great and quit innovating.

The reality is, there is a place for novelty and nostalgia, but to refuse to change is to refuse progress and discount all of the things we’ve learned. We have to be open to changing our food and recipes, as hypoglycemics or just regular people, as we learn more about the impact of those foods on our bodies.

As one of my favorite teachers once said, “The only way to coast is downhill.”

 

 

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I found this Met-Rx High Protein Pancake Mix at my local grocery store and, despite the high cost ($20!), I decided to give it a try with my much-loved Cary’s Sugar Free Syrup.

Positives:

  • Yay!!! Pancakes! I love pancakes and french toast.
  • 3 scoops (300 calories) and 3/4 cup of milk with espresso keeps me full for 3-4 hours and my blood sugar even.
  • They cook-up fast and nice and fluffy  with a slight crunch on the outside (note: the batter is really thick compared to normal batter).

Negatives:

  • The high cost.
  • I don’t want to say they lack flavor, but let’s just say it’s very, very subtle. I add cinnamon and a touch of vanilla to try to help this, but it doesn’t do much. If you’re looking for a wonderful buttermilk flavor, you’ll be disappointed.

Overall:

I’m not going to make this an everyday habit as I think more natural foods are better (eggs, nuts, fruit, etc.), but this is a nice treat every once in a while and especially when I need to be full for a long time.

 

 

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Four Think Thin protein bars

Cookies and Cream, Brownie Crunch, and Chocolate Fudge are my three favorites. I didn’t care for the Caramel Fudge.

With a new reduced carbohydrate and high protein diet to control my hypoglycemia, I needed a new protein bar. I tried the Quest bars on the recommendation of a friend but HOLY SALT were they high in sodium (and this is coming from a salt addict). So on a recommendation from another friend, I tried the thinkThin bars.

The good:
– No sugars added is a huge plus.
– They taste really great.
– The chocolate curbs my chocolate cravings for the rest of the day.
– At 230 ish calories, they are a good size for a large snack or two small ones.
– 20 grams of protein per bar.
– They are easily portable. I eat one thinkThin bar, 14 almonds, and espresso with one cup of milk as my post-workout breakfast.

The not-so-good:
– Some people have stomach issues with maltitol (see Sugar Free Chocolate and the Laxative Effect).
– They are more expensive than the Clif Bars I was eating. The least expensive way I’ve found to buy them is individually at my grocery store for $1.25 each and at Target in boxes of 5 for a little over $1 each (but only a few flavors are stocked at my Target). Amazon is much higher!

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A box with four sugar free brownies in it.

Good luck eating more than half of one of these. They are dense and wonderful

 

Normally I just avoid desserts altogether because of the additional calories, but one of my coworkers lovingly insisted on getting me some sort of sugar-free treat for my birthday. I suggested sugar-free brownies thinking she would just go to the store and get a mix for sugar-free brownies (See my review of Pillsbury Sugar Free Brownies here).  But, instead, she went to one of my favorite bakeries (which she didn’t know at the time), Three Brothers Bakery in Houston.

When I opened the box I wasn’t all too excited as I’m kind of a “plain Jane” about my food so the nuts and frosting were a bit much for me. Then I picked one up and it was exceptionally heavy and dense. I decided I could probably only make it through a half of one. I was right! It was very filling. AND, I was wrong, the frosting and nuts added to the amazing fudge density of these brownies. They are amazing. My coworkers agreed and polished off a good portion of them quickly. Did they have the laxative effect of sugar-free chocolate? Yes, I did notice my stomach was a little upset within a few hours, but not terribly bad and I don’t think there’s a way around it.

Overall, two thumbs up to Three Brothers Bakery and an additional thumbs up for a great and quick email back when I send them an email to compliment them on it. Thanks Three Brothers Bakery for an amazing birthday treat!

 

 

 

 

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Pieces of chocolate

From flickr timsackton

Yes, I know. Giving up chocolate or even severely cutting-back is a really hard thing for a hypoglycemic.

But now that there’s sugar free chocolate, you can eat all you want, right???  Not so fast. You need to be VERY aware of what we hypoglycemics like to call the “laxative effect.”

Candy makers have to still make sugar-free chocolate  minus the sugar still taste good. So, they use mannitol, sorbitol and/or xylitol, which are sugar alcohols that the human body cannot digest.  So, yep, if you eat too much of it, you are going to get sick.  And this goes for all kinds of sugar free products including baked goods.

So how much can you eat? I found this statement on many websites (but was unable to verify it on the American Dietetic Association’s website): The American Dietetic Association advises that more than 50 grams of sorbitol or 20 grams of mannitol per day can cause diarrhea.

For me, it’s just a rule of thumb not to eat more than two small pieces of the sugar free chocolate or to only have a very small piece of cake/baked good that is sugar free.

Also, don’t forget that sugar free doesn’t mean calorie free or fat free. You can still gain weight by eating sugar free products.

 

For more information, I recommend this article: 

The Dieter’s (and Diabetic Person’s) Guide to Buying Chocolate

 

You might also be interested in: 

Pillsbury Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix review

Black Bean Brownies

Outline of a hypoglycemic diet

Travel tips for hypoglycemics and healthy eaters

How I lost the weight (and keep it off)!

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