Monday, September 15, 2008

Which is the Enemy? Sugar or Fat?

Anything in modertion, right? Well, this is not a scientific blog post, Mark would have to write that one, lol, this is just something from my experience.

Sugar is so overconsumed in this country it scary, or it should be scary (and sweeteners in general...even Splenda). I'm not sure how everyone can walk around so oblivious, so unconsciuos to the fact that practially everything we eat, especially processed foods, has sugar or is sweet, not to mention the obvious stuff like sodas and desserts.

Mark and I stopped in Peet's coffee after yoga the other morning, about 10:30 am, and this man next to me was stirring cocoa powder, that he brought from home, into his coffee. Now, I suspected I already knew why he was bringing his own cocoa powder with him, because Peet's uses a cocoa syrup for their mocha drinks that contains high fructose corn syrup, (something I was aware of because I'm a crazy label reader!), and after asking him I found out I was right. We had a conversation about how unbelievable a trendy coffee house like Peet's could use such an Starbucks you expect that kind of thing, but Peet's?

Anyway, after our conversation he sat down at a table next to us with his wife and young daughter, about 7 years old (I hate to talk about a little girl, but she probably weighed around 70-80lbs, not a judgement, just an observation), and they all had a croissant, or pastry of some sort, in addition to their semi-homemade mochas with real sugar, the little girl drinking hot chocolate. Mark and I discussed how crazy it seemed that this man gave so much care to whether or not his mocha drink had high fructose corn syrup, but disregarded the high fat, white flour croissant...he was also carrying around 20-30 extra pounds. hmmn.....

So this brings me to this last April when I tried to cut sugar out of my diet. Can you believe that I gained this last 5 lbs, that I've been carrying around for almost 6 months now, during that month! I gained the weight because I was eating more carbs and way more fats than I normally would, ususally in the form of nuts and nut butters. I truly believe that sugar is not my enemy, but neither is fat....overeating is, lol! Sugar is not a everymeal option for me, and when I do add sugar (or sweeteners) to salad dressings, marinades, breakfast meals, like oats, or even my coffee or tea (honey), I'm aware of it, and because I make most of my own foods I know exactly what goes into everything. I don't cut out sugars or fats, but I chose what, when, and how much of it I eat, trying to eat at least one full meal without sugar or sweetness.

It's not the sugar it's the shear volume, the overdose of sugar consumed as an everyday practice, that's the problem. I might add 1 t. of honey to my tea , or 1 tbl of brown sugar (3 t.) to my morning oats, but a soda has 12 teaspoons, maybe more.

It's not the fats, it's the quality of fats. The difference between an avocado, or good olive oil to the vat of hydrogenated oil potatoes are fried in, and consumed by millions everyday.

Now, I'm the first one to try and be a snob about fake foods, sweeteners or, not organic, seasonal and or locally grown foods, but I'm not perfect, especially, and specifially when I start to eat compulsively. I don't think a little bit of anything is bad, (even "carbs") or alot of everything, every once in a while is bad, lol....balance can be key. We all do our best until we learn better, then we do better, right?


Christine said...

Right on.... I've had to get the whole family back on track after a chaotic summer. After 2 weeks of making everything from scratch and eliminating ALL processed foods and corn syrup from our diets, I can't believe the difference in the kid's behavior and concentration. And yes, sugar (and especially corn syrup) is in EVERYTHING! Even supposed 'healthy' alternatives are deceptive. And as Henry said to me the other day: 'Mommy, you're bread that you make tastes so much better than the stuff you buy.' Can't argue with that!

Mark Reifkind said...

I really think the fact that sugars never occur in such concentraions in nature( with the exception of honey which was hard to get) is a key point. Fats were always available in concentrations with the advent of meats in the diet.our bodies go nuts with regular overdoses of sugars and flours that break down as fast as sugars.our bodies evolved eating fats, INCLUDING saturated fats(meat and dairy).not so concentrated sugars(especially in volume) until recent( very) years.
eat too much fat and you will dull your appetite(atkins). sugar makes you hungry.

Ciao Bella said...

Hi Tracy,

It's amazing. Since I've returned to eating regular sugar, my appetite has DECREASED and I've lost 17 pounds. I know that each of us has a different response to different chemicals so I am just speaking for myself. I realized that I would graze so much after eating my "healthy" 90-calorie yogurt instead of enjoying a 170-calorie one. Now, I eat the yogurt, some fruit and I am good to go.


Tracy Reifkind said...


I'll be writing about "eating clean" and what that means. I looking forward to your feedback.

Oh, and I'm adding bread back in my diet. Not that I purposely took it out, it just that it never made "the cut", and now I'm purposely putting it's yummy!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I never believed sugar was a bad thing, I think too much sugar is a bad thing. But only when you sarcrifice good nutrition for bad. A little bit of honey in a salad dressing or marinade isn't the same as a king size candy bar and soda!

Maura said...

Everything in moderation for sure! I meant to tell you that it was great to meet you when you were in town last time. Sorry I didn't get to see you this time.


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