Sugar is a Toxin?? Eat like a caveman?? What's a mom to do?
By martawicke on March 23, 2013
Sugar is a Toxin?? Eat like a caveman?? What's a mom to do? Diet,health,cooking I recently heard about a study published by a UCSF pediatrics professor (Robert Lustig) on the impact of sugar (specifically fructose) on obesity and diabetes. Dr. Lustig studies child diabetes and obesity and postulates that the liver has to break down fructose (present in fruit, as well as refined sugars) in a different way then glucose (carbohydrates), which results in fat and contributes to hypertension and diabetes. You can check out his lecture "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" on YouTube. (Note, it is an academic lecture, so there is plenty of biochemistry, but if you can stick through it and it does not give you debilitating flashbacks of college, he makes some valid points.). The biggest villain that he mentions is sugared beverages (soda, gatorade and chocolate milk). His primary recommendation to families of obese children is to cut out all beverages except water and milk. I have also been curious of this new "Paleo Diet" phenomenon. It is an eating philosophy modeled after the Hunters and Gatherers of the Paleolithic age. It focuses on animal, fish and nut proteins, as well as fruits and vegetables and cuts out all grains, legumes (peanuts, soy, lentils), refined sugars and in most cases, dairy. The idea is that our bodies have not evolved to properly metabolize the "new world" foods and they may cause inflammation, as well as other health problems. I am not going to debate either of these dietary hypotheses, but I will share my philosophy. I believe that processed foods are not as healthy as food fresh from the farm. In our societies' efficiency of making food "fast," cheap and last longer, we have stripped many of the healthy attributes out of the grocery store. As a manufacturing engineer, I understand the dilemma. As a healthy adult and mother, how do I manage providing "healthy" meals for my family? I have been trying to limit sugar and processed foods, especially for my toddler. He only drinks water, milk and soy milk, rarely gets cookies and never gets candy. (This is slightly hypocritical, since I have a sweet tooth and keep a secret stash of chocolate for myself). But it is not easy or feasible to prepare quick, fresh, and healthy meals every day. Here are some suggestions for what has worked in our house: 1. Prioritize. Having healthy meals and snacks is important to me, so I need to make time to shop and prepare. I do not rely on TV dinners or fast food. We shop at the farmers market every week for Organic produce. I plan and prep on the weekend. We also have primarily healthy snacks around the house (yogurt, no sugar added apple sauce, fruit). For "splurges" we have graham crackers. 2. Identify limits. My eating philosophy is moderation. I try to have vegetable heavy meals, knowing that I do not have resources (time and money) to build everything from scratch. We get store bought pasta and sauce, but I add lots of fresh and frozen vegetables. I buy whole wheat, multigrain bread and we look for sauces and dressings without added sugar. Not everything has to be organic or sugar-free, but we look for those options when we can. 3. Keep learning and improving. One of my goals for this year is to learn and add new easy recipes to my cooking rotation. When I get tired, I fall back on pasta and stir fries, but you can only eat those for so long. What suggestions do you have to manage healthy meals for the family?
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