Sugar

Sugar

I am really not a sweets person.  I’d rather load up on appetizers than save room for dessert.  Sure, I love ice cream, sherbet, once in awhile some chocolate or even a good cannoli around the holidays, but I don’t live for it the way many do.  Fresh strawberries, kiwis and cantaloupe melon are more enticing than a cookie or pastry, especially if factory processed and/or made poorly.

I am around food a lot, I shoot a lot of weddings and fashion shows.  So when you are around a buffet of endless food at some of your higher end catering halls, you do have a choice.  I tried to avoid the calamari, fried shrimp, crab cakes and other things I would not make at home and decided to eat more of the fresh fruit.  Fresh raspberries, melon, strawberries, kiwi, mangoes, blueberries, etc.  So, when I got my blood test back from the doctor (I have to have it tested every 6 months for minor medication that I take), it showed that my cholesterol was finally under 200, as well as my weight, and one other thing I can’t remember.  But, my sugar had increased significantly.  Happy that my cholesterol went down (though it was not all that high), I was wondering, then I realized, its the fruit.  Thats right, fruit contains a lot of sugar, and the blood in your body does not know the difference, but you can be sure that sugar from fruit and honey is far healthier than processed sugar you will find in confections, pastry, cookies, ice-cream, etc.  So, this made me wonder.  What contains what?  I found this great website:  www.sugarstacks.com – now, I cannot verify the accuracy of the source(s), I figure even if they are exaggerating, I am better off having that cocktail with lime juice and a cube of sugar over a rum & coke.  Take a look at some of their snapshots.  A “small” Coke which is an 8oz. glass bottle (the original from the 1940s & 1950s) over today’s 12oz can or even the larger plastic bottle (perhaps 24oz)?  These all need to be reckoned with.  Here are some examples of common table sugar we might use in coffee, tea and/or iced tea:

The white sugar is processed.  The brownish sugar still has traces of molasses.  Honey is also a sugar, but easier for the body to break down because its all natural (lasts forever by the way) but in the end, sugar is sugar.  So yes, flavor your tea with honey, use “sugar in the raw” for your coffee, and if you go to the pancake house, request real maple syrup.  Its more expensive, but more delicious and beats that colored corn syrup any day.  If you are counting calories and/or sugar, “spend” your calories wisely.

Instead of a rum & coke, go for the daiquiri made with real limes, and 1-2 sugar cubes, its just as delicious and 1/3rd the sugar.  Have a small glass of orange or grapefruit just, not a double.  Have your coffee, but only put one packet of sugar in there, and the sugar will then be 1/5th of what a glass of orange juice is.  Now, please, this is not to say that you should only drink coffee with sugar, you do need fruits for the purposes of vitamins which coffee cannot provide.  What I am trying to say is, do not deprive yourself over that one packet of sugar in your coffee, one cube in your cocktail or even that small chocolate bar which is still less than a fresh apple or orange.  Everything in moderation.  So if you have a small glass of orange juice, don’t feel guilty about that cookie or piece of chocolate.  Take a look at the site, allocate where you are willing to “spend” your calories and sugar intake if you have health issues related to sugar, and this way you know…

Remember, though a glass of red wine at dinner time is healthy, it also has sugar, as does your martini or whiskey.  Just keep an eye on what you are eating, that’s all, keep it all relative, and don’t give into the hype that it has “less sugar” or an orange is healthier than sugar in your coffee.  Do the math.  Enjoy, be happy, be healthy!

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