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Posts Tagged ‘Sugar’

A pink pig made of marzipan sweet almond paste in a plastic bag that reads "Good luck". Net weight 1.41 oz, 40 grams

Marzipan pig to celebrate the new year. (ignore the mess, we’d just moved in to our new house!)

This is my New Years piggy. If you’re not familiar with this tradition, Germans consume a pig on New Years Eve to bring good luck in the New Year. You can do this either by actually eating pork or by eating a marzipan pig  (Marzipanschweine).

Admittedly, it’d be a lot better for me as a hypoglycemic, or pretty much anyone, to eat the pork vs. marzipan, but a little indulgence now and then isn’t a terrible thing. Also, I’m not superstitious in any way, but it’s fun to keep some of these traditions alive.

But that doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

In fact, I ate this little piggy over 4 days, and always immediately after a high protein meal (because that’s when it will impact my blood sugar the least). I also bought the smallest piggy I could find.

And that’s the trick with food traditions. You don’t have to give them up, but it’s not a blank check to stuff your face and trash your blood sugar & diet. Take a bit or two, savor the hell out of it, and walk away. It’s hard, but you’ll feel so much better overall when you do it.

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Four eggs cooked in a tomato sauce in a frying pan

Admittedly, mine don’t look as pretty, but they are DELICIOUS

Tomato sauce divided between storage containers

The recipe I use says it’s enough to cook 6 eggs, but this is a lot of sauce! I find I have enough sauce for 10 eggs. I doubled the recipe, so here are 20 eggs worth.

 

I’m always on the hunt for recipes that are a) healthy b) easy to prepare and c) make me look like I’m a cooking rockstar.  This Shakshuka (Eggs in Hell) recipe fits the bill! Not only that, but it freezes really well, making it easy for me to make quick dinners on nights when I’m pressed for time.

My notes on preparation:

  • I cut the sugar in this recipe in half to make it more hypoglycemic friendly and because I prefer less of a sweet taste. This might also be because I’m using cane sugar.
  • I factor 2 eggs per person.
  • Whole grain sourdough bread is low on the glycemic index, so I serve the Eggs in Hell with this. I personally use one slice and load the eggs and tons of the sauce and eat it open-face.
  • The Shakshuka recipe has a serving size of 6 eggs, but I found this is a huge waste of the sauce. I find I can get 10 eggs worth of sauce out of one recipe.
  • I doubled the recipe in the photo above to have plenty to freeze.
  • I free about 1 cup per 2 eggs, you can see in the second photo above how I portion and label them (which helps me remember what size and what pan to use).

 

 

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The White House has announced a change to nutrition labels that is a very welcome change for everyone, but especially hypoglycemics and diabetics. Within the next two years, the labels will have a separate line showing the amount of sugar added (vs naturally occurring, such as milk sugar in yogurt).

While sugar is sugar, added sugar can really impact blood sugar levels and we should strive to eat as little added sugar as possible.

Cheers to the Gov!

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Shown next to 1 cup water for scale

 

My most recent go-to evening snack is my homemade fruit & nut yogurt parfait. It only takes a minute to make and I really look forward to it at the end of the day. AND, it keeps me full and my blood sugar even, so no hypoglycemic attacks, all night.

Why not just buy yogurt with the fruit in the bottom? Well, most of those include more added sugars. For example, take this Chobani Fruit On the Bottom Cherry Greek Yogurt. It has 17 grams of sugar (see “Evaporated Cane Juice” in the ingredients)! My version below only has 10 grams of sugar and tastes very fresh.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt (I make this in a coffee cup to keep me accurate)
  • 5 frozen cherries, thawed in the microwave (so slightly warm and with cherry juice)
  • 1 Tbsp shaved almonds
  • Organic cinnamon
Nutrition Facts (from SparkPeople Recipe Calculator)
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 184.4
  • Total Fat 7.6 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
  • Cholesterol 7.5 mg
  • Sodium 49.0 mg
  • Potassium 191.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
  • Sugars 10.1 g
  • Protein 16.9 g
  • Vitamin A 0.5 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 1.0 %
  • Vitamin C 4.5 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 12.7 %
  • Calcium 20.9 %
  • Copper 8.7 %
  • Folate 0.4 %
  • Iron 7.1 %
  • Magnesium 11.1 %
  • Manganese 30.8 %
  • Niacin 0.3 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
  • Phosphorus 8.3 %
  • Riboflavin 8.3 %
  • Selenium 0.0 %
  • Thiamin 0.7 %
  • Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Nice try, Starbucks. Considering that 2.3g sugar = 1 sugar cube, there are the equivalent of almost 9 sugar cubes in this damn can of coffee. That cancels-out any benefits of the 20 grams of protein in my book.

Definitely not hypoglycemic-friendly or anyone-friendly.

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Recently, I was in Greece to check-out the sites and get in some much-needed relaxation.

Greek Yogurt is served over there, in some form, in breakfast (mostly in general yogurt format), lunch (Tzatziki sauce) and dinner (as a desert, with honey and chopped dried dates).  I have to say, the Greek Yogurt in Greece was WAY BETTER than what we have in the U.S. It was so rich and creamy.

Battle 1: Which Greek Yogurt, easily available in the U.S., is the closest to that in Greece?

This was a simple, easy battle. I walked into a typical Greek grocery store and looked at their yogurt section looking for any brands available in the U.S. Fage was the only one. In taste-testing the 0% and 2% versions of Fage, the 2% is the closest (still a touch too sour) to what we had in Greece. I’ve noticed that eating one of these for an afternoon snack keeps me full for hours, which is a miracle for me.

Battle 2: Lowest Added-Sugar Greek Yogurt

Milk naturally has sugar in it, about 7-8 grams naturally occur in an individual-size (7 oz.) Greek yogurt but that’s an ok amount, especially given the protein you are also getting at the same time. What’s not good, especially for hypoglycemics, but really everyone, is the ADDED sugar they put in them.

A sugar cube is 2.3 grams of sugar, so basically, for every 2 grams of additional sugar, you need to mentally picture another sugar cube.  Check out the sugar cube stacks for Yoplait yogurt as an example.

Obviously, plain Greek yogurt is going to have the least amount of added sugar (basically none), but most people want some flavor. What I’ve found is that the amount of sugar, even in just vanilla Greek yogurt, varies greatly depending on the brands. I had some fun at the grocery store and took photos of different brands and types, including one worst-case scenario. See the comments on each.

Baseline: Fage 2% no flavor is 7 oz. has 8 grams of lactose sugars and 20 grams of protein for 150 calories. This is without any added sugars (chocolate, honey, sugary granola, fruit, etc.). I recommend adding cinnamon vs. a sugar.


Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt 4 pack vanilla 

Nutrition label for Yoplait 100 Greek Yogurt

Yes, it’s less calories and looks like a decent amount of sugar, but look at it closer; they messed with the serving size, it’s 5.23 ounces, so about 2 ounces less of yogurt. That explains why the sugars seem fine and the protein is low. I’m guessing this has about 1 sugar cube worth of sugar in it.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

My local store brand, also the cheapest.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

ALSO only 5.23 ounces, so much smaller. This has a lot less protein, but look at the sugar! There are at least 2 sugar cubs in this. Also, there are a lot of black dots in this yogurt, I’m thinking a lot of those aren’t vanilla bean seeds, vanilla bean seeds are pretty expensive.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Vanilla

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt Vanilla

Also 5.3 ounces, this one tasted the most sugary to me, and I see why. It’s only 80 calories, but only 13 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar, so I’d guess 2.5-3 sugar cubs in each of these. And you won’t be full.

Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt

Worst case scenario right here, Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt. It’s the same amount of ounces as the others, but remember about 1/3 of that is the toppings, so you’re actually getting a lot less yogurt. The protein is at 12 grams, but the sugar! Oh my! It’s 21 grams, which will definitely counteract the protein. I’m estimating that there are 7 sugar cubes in this.

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How giving up refined sugar changed my brain via Fast Company is an interesting read on one person’s experience giving up refined sugar and his results. In the comments section, there are links to the empirical studies.

Happy Reading!

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