White Out


On my Nutrition Question Contest page, Lynn asked “What are the negative effects of common foods – sugar, white flour, etc?” An awesome question!!!

A lot of things in the average American diet are void of color: flour, sugar, salt, milk, potatoes, bread, soup, rice, pasta, cheese, butter- even chips and crackers!

Now, before you get your feathers ruffled, not all white foods are bad. Cauliflower is great and so is Daikon! But, for the purposes of today, we will be looking at the negative effects of the white stuff.

Let’s start with flour!

Flour is used in just about everything and you may not even know it! Flour comes from wheat that has been so processed that it goes from golden brown to bright white. The golden color of wheat is the husk which contains lots of good vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, to process it down to this, all of that good stuff must be removed and then replaced by artificial enrichment.

The stripping of the nutrients leaves us with a calorically high food without much flavor. So then, they add artificial coloring (often dubbed as whole wheat) and sugar and salt to make it taste better. The refined sugar that’s put into bread causes an addiction, which we will get to soon.

But, there is good news for those who actually want benefits from flours! As gluten intolerance rises and people continue to find that the processed food actually makes them feel sick, groups like Whole Foods, New Seasons and Bob’s Red Mill have answered the cry for healthier choices! Now you can find things like almond flour, teff flour, garbanzo bean flour, spelt flour, oat flour, brown rice flour- all full of vitamins and minerals! As you have noticed lately, I have switched to almond flour which makes a mean kind of flour! I am loving it and no, I am not gaining weight from the additional fat- woohoo!

 

Sugar

There is such a huge debate right now one what kind of sweetener to use it’s crazy!

We do not have to consume white, refined sugar to be consuming sugar. Sugar includes glucose, fructose (as in fruit sugar), lactose (as in milk), sucrose (as in table sugar), maltose or malts (as in rice malt and honey), jam (contains concentrated juice, which is high in fruit sugar), maple syrup, corn syrup, palm sugar (traditionally used in macrobiotic cooking), and the very deceiving organic brown sugar, which is not all that different from white sugar. Even alcohol is a sugar. All of these sugars are problematic in many different ways.

Refined sugar is what happens when they strip sugar cane and remove all the good stuff (yes, there’s good stuff too) and process it down to a nice white grainy substance. Sugar is a highly addictive substance because it has the power to alter your moods!

 
Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has compiled a list of 146 reasons on ‘how sugar is ruining your health’ in her book Lick the Sugar Habit. Here are some of them:

* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)

* Sugar feeds cancer

* Sugar increases cholesterol

* Sugar can weaken eyesight

* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children

* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein

* Sugar causes food allergies

* Sugar contributes to diabetes

* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children

* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease

* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA

* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children and adults!

* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)

* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)- you do not want this, trust me!

* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis

The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch. With 146 proven reasons why sugar is bad for us, is there perhaps one single reason as to why we might need it? The only interesting thing about sugar is that it tastes good and makes us temporarily feel good and gives us a little rush.
 
A few years ago, I went on a sugar fast. I didn’t eat anything with sugar. No bread, fruit, candy- nothing!! That’s how I got to that scary weight! I felt amazing, but unfortunately, it was not sustainable or balanced. I now eat one serving of locally grown fruits a day (apples, berries, cherries, peaches) and make sure to avoid sugar whenever possible.
 
What about the other stuff (pasta, rice, tortillas….) it’s the same idea- take out the colorful nutrients until your left with nothing but fattening flour, salt and sugar. Try adding in some spelt pasta or try Ezekial tortillas– they’re amazing! You will not only taste the amazing flavor, but be more satisfied with less!
 
I hope this sheds some light on some whiter issues :0) Aim to have a colorful plate of food whenever you eat. Not only will it brighten your day but you will feel awesome too!

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