Tag Archives: sugar

Foods with surprisingly high sugar content

Many people count sugar in their diet only when they are consuming table sugar. But surprisingly many foods contain hidden sugar, sneakily disrupting our weight loss and fitness goals. We will tell you about some of these foods with hidden sugar.

1. Raisins

Raisins are basically dried grapes. The dehydration process for any fruit results in a concentrated form of the original fruit. Therefore, raisins contain high antioxidant content which means you get more antioxidant benefits eating raisins as compared to grapes. Antioxidants are the substances which protect your body from free radical damage and keep your body healthy. But since grapes are high in sugar, raisins tend to very high in sugar content. A half cup of raisins contains approximately 250 calories, while the same serving of grapes contains only 50 calories. So consume raisins for their benefits, but always keep a watch on the quantity.

2. Chinese food

Chinese foods are generally high in sugar because of added syrupy sauces. These sauces are added to chinese food in high amounts to enhance the flavours. For example, 1 serving of Chinese orange chicken which is 162 grams provides approximately 20 grams of sugar. Therefore, avoid adding these syrupy sauces to your Chinese food to cut down the sugar content. Also, control consumption of commercially available Chinese food.

3. Packed fruit juice

Many people include packaged fruit juices in their diet hoping to get the goodness of the whole fruit or freshly squeezed fruit juice. But these packed fruit juices are actually loaded with excessive sugar. Have you ever wondered why every pack of a certain fruit juice brand tastes the same? This is because it is processed in a certain automated manner with high sugar and chemical additive content and there is very little of the actual fruit. All the ingredients in it are accurately measured to make sure every pack of juice produced tastes the same. Replace your packed fruit juice with whole fruit to get the goodness of fruit.

4. Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw cabbage dressed most commonly with mayonnaise, vinegar and other seasoning. Cream or sour cream could also be used. Other crunchy vegetables like carrot can be added in addition to cabbage. But coleslaw salad available in commercial restaurants and supermarkets is loaded with sugar as added sugar enhances the flavour. Therefore, whenever you order a salad always ask for dressing on the side. This will help you in controlling intake of the dressing, resulting in lower sugar intake.

5. Flavoured yoghurt

Yoghurt is a fermented food made from milk. It is a good source of calcium, protein, vitamin D and healthy bacteria. But packed or flavored yoghurt available in the market is loaded with excessive sugar to enhance the taste of the product. Around 200 grams of flavored yogurt contains 25 grams of added sugar which increases calorie intake by as much as 100 calories for a 200 gm serving. Therefore, instead of going for packed flavored yoghurt from the supermarket, add sliced fruits to plain yoghurt for greater benefits, but the same flavor and taste.

6. Tomato Ketchup

Because of the acidic nature of tomato, pure tomato ketchup can turn out to be sour or excessively tangy. Therefore, to control the taste of ketchup, sugar is added to it. 1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup, which is around 15 grams, contains approximately 4 grams of sugar. These numbers seem too little to cause any damage but imagine the amount of sugar intake when you use ketchup in food dressings. Therefore, instead of using tomato ketchup in food try to made do with fresh tomato puree.

Replace these sugar loaded foods with fresher and more natural options to cut down the sugar and calories from your meals.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Good news for chocolate lovers

Cocoa comes from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree. Chocolate/Cocoa has become one of the most popular food flavors in the world. It is probably the most recognized flavor globally. There are a variety of chocolates available in the market with varying levels of cocoa, sugar, and other flavors and foods. But researchers have seen more benefits from chocolate with a higher concentration of cocoa, or what we even call dark chocolates. The basic ingredients in dark chocolate bars are cacao beans, sugar, an emulsifier such as soy lecithin to preserve texture, and flavorings such as vanilla. Dark chocolate is often distinguished by the percentage of cocoa solids in the bar. The cocoa content of commercial dark chocolate bars can range from 30% (sweet dark) to 70%, 75%, or even above 80% for extremely dark bars.

It’s said that dark chocolate can be good for your heart and researchers have discovered why. It may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis – thickening and hardening of the arteries – by restoring flexibility of the arteries and preventing white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessel walls.


Also, Louisiana State University researchers tested cocoa powders in a model of the digestive tract and found that certain bacteria in the stomach eat dark chocolate, ferment it and then release anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit the heart.

According to Maria Moore, an undergraduate student and one of the study authors. “We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the good ones and the bad ones. The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate,” Moore said in the news release. “When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.” Study leader John Finley, a professor in LSU’s department of food science, said, “When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke.”


As it is clear from what the researchers said, that dark chocolates are healthy but one should always have it in small portions. Add a piece of dark chocolate if you have a sugar craving. Remember one piece will never harm you but eating any food (healthy or not) in excess can trigger health problems.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

Sugar is a commonly used food additive. Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, milk and honey. It is also added to other foods and beverages like sodas, juices, and desserts to sweeten them.

Our brain requires sugar for proper functioning. So you would wonder why sugar is bad for us if it is so essential for the functioning of the brain. The problem arises when we consume more sugar than we need to, and even when that sugar is processed and not natural. In a recent study, excess sugar has been linked to cancer.

 

How sugar effect cancer cells?

Every cell in your body requires sugar (glucose) for energy. All cells in your body consume sugar as they grow and divide. But the problem arises when you consume more than you need to.

In a recent study, it was found that high sugar levels in the body activated a gene responsible for cancer progression. High sugar levels in the intestine increase the activity of a protein known as Beta-Catenine. Increased activity of Beta-Catenine is known to be responsible for the development of many cancers. In fact, the activity of Beta-Catenine is strictly dependant on sugar levels.

Basically, high sugar levels in the body lead to increased activity of Beta Catenine, which makes normal cells cancerous.

Here are some tips regarding use of sugar which you need to watch out for to reduce your risk of cancer due to sugar consumption:
• Check nutrition labels to help you avoid foods high in sugar. Here are some hidden “sugar” words to look out for:
• fructose (natural sugar from fruits)
• lactose (natural sugar from milk)
• sucrose (made from fructose and glucose)
• maltose (sugar made from grain)
• glucose (simple sugar, product of photosynthesis)
• dextrose (form of glucose)
Drink water or unsweetened fruit juice instead of soft drinks and juices. Try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water if you find it hard to give up sweetened sodas.
• Gradually reduce the amount of sugar you add in your coffee or tea.
• Have a piece of fruit when you’re craving something sweet. Have a slice of melon or fresh berries with a low-fat yogurt instead of cookies for a mid-afternoon snack.
• Choose whole grain breakfast cereals that are not coated with sugar or honey. If you find it hard to get used to the new taste, try sprinkling a little bit of sugary cereal on top of your healthier option at first. Then use a little less each day.
• Try using half the amount of sugar you would normally use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream.
• Choose natural sugars such as honey, molassess and fruits over artificial sweeteners. Natural sugars contain anti-oxidants which help to prevent cancer.

Excess sugar consumption not only increases your risks of obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, but even increases your risk for cancer. There is more and more reason to stay from processed and unnecessary sugar.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Your Brain Knows the Difference Between Real Sugar & Sugar Free Food

In today’s lifestyle, it has become a fad to substitute regular food with zero or low-caloric food products just to save a few calories. The most common is the use of sugar-free or artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. It seems logical to replace a sugar-loaded or based food item with a low calorie version of it, and which should automatically lead to weight loss. But according to many researchers, it’s been shown that such sugar-free foods are actually making you fat as compared to real sugar. Let’s see how artificial sweeteners make you fat.

Sugar and sweeteners don’t chemically resemble each other; they belong to different classes of substances. Sugars are simple carbohydrates or glucose and are easily metabolized to energy. But sweeteners are prepared by synthetic procedure and act as a food additive for the sweetening effect. They are calorie-free or low-calorie but are up to 450 times sweeter than real sugar because they are made up of sweet-tasting compounds.

When sugar is metabolized by the body cells, levels of dopamine hormone (a neuro-transmitter) rise, which leads to the feeling of satisfaction and satiety value. It sends a signal to the brain that the body’s energy needs are met. But when artificial sweetener is consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for the calories to come; it causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for more food. People are not metabolically satisfied after consuming them. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones that are involved with satiety and fat storage, and may therefore lead to weight gain.

So, next time think twice before reaching for your artificial sweetener. Instead eat the real thing but keep a check on the quantity. Instead of having two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one. Or you can switch to more natural sources like fruits to satisfy your sugar cravings without compromising on your health.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Do Carbohydrates Make You Fat?

Through the past decade, carbohydrates have got a lot of flak, apparently for making people gain weight. Many of the really popular low-carb diets have condemned carbohydrates, creating what we call carbophobia. Carbohydrates also play a significant role in the structure and function of the body organs and nerve cells. The brain also needs to use this glucose as an energy source, since it cannot use fat for this purpose. It is for this reason that the level of glucose in the blood must be constantly maintained above the minimum level.

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two forms:

Simple carbohydrates or Simple sugars: FruitsThis category of carbohydrate is made from simple sugar and is instantly broken down and digested. Simple carbohydrates are also known as bad carbohydrates as they contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals. Examples include table sugar, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, honey, most packaged cereals, white bread, soft drinks, ice cream, cake and candy.

Complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates or good carbohydrates unlike the bad ones take longer to digest and are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Examples include vegetables, whole grain bread, oatmeal, legumes, fruit, lentils, brown rice and wheat pasta. Most naturally occurring carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates.

What happens when you eat (or drink) a simple carbohydrate – whether it is a bowl of packaged cereal, a scoop of fat-free ice cream or even a glass of orange juice – is that all of the ingested sugar quickly rushes into your bloodstream. You typically feel a quick rush of energy. Your body promptly reacts to this sudden spike in blood sugar by calling on the pancreas to produce additional insulin to remove the excess sugar from your blood. And for the moment, you have significantly lower blood sugar as a result of the insulin doing its job, resulting in a sense or feeling of needing more fuel, more energy and more calories. All this makes you crave more simple carbohydrates. This is also the reason why you feel lethargic, or crave more sugar, after eating a simple carbohydrate-loaded meal.

Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to break down into their elementary form and hence require more time for digestion. The slow breakdown process supplies you with constant energy for a longer duration. Since these carbohydrates require more time for conversion, they are constantly used up by the body. Therefore sugar converted to fat is not stored in a large quantity unlike simple carbohydrates.

Whether carbohydrates are good or bad is really dependent upon your lifestyle and your needs. What we suggest is you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Avoid processed sources of carbohydrates and be active. Go out and play a sport, run and get some exercise.

Carbohydrates are not really the problem. You might be eating more than you need or not exercising enough which are causing the actual “I’m getting fat” problem.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

5 Steps to Control Your Blood Sugar

India has the highest number of diabetes and pre-diabetics, than any other country in the world. This is not a coincidence.

Indians and south Asians are genetically more prone to diabetes. Further, general lifestyles are becoming more sedentary, and our diets contain more sugar and processed foods like Maida, than before.

This form of diabetes that is acquired from lifestyle is known as Type 2 diabetes. The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be managed, if you take the correct precautions, and even cure in many cases of pre-diabetes. If you do have diabetes, then you can significantly reduce your risk of acquiring diabetes in your life, by following the correct lifestyle of diet and exercise.

Here are 5 simple & important steps to control your blood sugar, and live healthier -

Reduce the obvious Sugar from your diet

The obvious sugar in your diet is desserts, sweets, chocolates, most packaged juices or when you add sugar to your tea. Finding that kind of sugar is easy. The challenge is to overcome your will power to consume sugary food. Excess sugar can wreak havoc in your body – weight gain, diabetes, imbalance of hormones and much more. So, to control your intake of excess sugar, our tip is that you think about the kind of damage it can do to your body. One tip to replace sugar cravings – is to drink a glass of water, and to keep almonds close by. The texture of almonds, combined with their nutrition can help in overcoming sugar cravings.

Remove the Maida

After sugar, the next food to avoid is Maida. Maida is a processed food that contains negligible nutrition & has a high glycemic index, which is almost the same as sugar. So, while Maida does not taste sweet, it raises your blood sugar levels as sugar does.

Again Maida sneaks into lots of common foods, like Naan, bread, noodles, pasta, pizza, white sauce, burger, buns, and Poori. Stick to foods that are made from Atta, instead of Maida.

Eliminate the hidden sugar in your diet

The hidden sugar in food is tricky. You may not think the food contains sugar, but it mostly does. Examples of such foods are biscuits, packages fruit juices, breakfast cereals, ice cream, Sherbets and fruit squashes.

Most biscuits contain Maida and sugar, both of which are bad for your health.

Even, drinks like Aam-Panna typically have sugar in it.

If it’s a packaged food, check the nutrition label to know for sure!

Snack Healthy

When you are hungry, resist the temptation to grab junk food and choose healthy snacks like almonds. Almonds are a natural source of fiber and unsaturated fat, which have been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and healthy blood glucose levels. And they help you keep fuller for longer. As part of a healthy diet, the antioxidants in almonds can help reduce inflammation and oxidation in those with type-2 diabetes. Almonds have also shown to lower bad cholesterol.

Exercise

Exercise is key to manage or prevent diabetes. When you exercise, you improve your body’s ability to naturally control sugar levels, and overall make you healthier. So, get some active exercise every day.

Follow these steps, manage your diabetes and live healthier!

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Dietary Guidelines For Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance, also called lactase deficiency and hypolactasia, is the inability to digest lactose, sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent milk-derived dairy products. Lactose intolerance is caused by reduced or absent activity of lactase that prevents the splitting of lactose (lactase deficiency). When lactose moves through the large intestine (colon) without being properly digested, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people who have lactose intolerance cannot digest any milk products. Others can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems. Lactose intolerance is common in adults. It occurs more often in Native Americans and people of Asian, African, and South American descent than among people of European descent.

The amount of lactose an individual can tolerate varies from person to person.  Many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some lactose-containing foods by adjusting the type, amount and timing of these foods.  Some patients may need to (or may choose to) limit or eliminate these foods completely. If you wish to include lactose-containing foods in your diet, the following suggestions given by UVA nutrition services may help the one to deal with the lactose intolerance problem. Always consult with your health expert  before making changes to your prescribed diet.

LIVING WITH LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

1. Add new foods one at a time; decrease the amount, or eliminate the food, if symptoms occur.

2. Most people with lactose intolerance do not need to avoid all dairy products, for example:

Cultured yogurt contains live cultures that naturally help digest lactose. Many people with lactose intolerance tolerate cultured yogurt well.  Check labels to see if a yogurt contains live cultures or hard cheese is low in lactose and is usually well tolerated

3. If you wish to drink milk, try taking small amounts (1/2 cup at a time). Many people can tolerate up to 2 cups of milk per day when taken in smaller servings spread out over the course of the day.

4. Foods that contain lactose may be better tolerated if they are eaten with a meal.

Foods made from certain dairy products (such as pudding, cream soups, cream or cheese  Sauces,  etc.)  also contain lactose.  The amount of lactose in a product will depend on the  amount of dairy products used. Other foods such as baked items, instant mixes, salad dressings , etc. may also contain lactose.  The following ingredients suggest a product contains lactose.

Butter, Caseinates, Cheese, Cream, Curds, Dry milk solids, Lactose, Milk, Milk by-products, Milk solids, Milk sugar, Non-fat dry milk powder, Skim milk solids, Whey, Yogurt

5. Lactose can also be found in medications:-

Check for lactose on the label, although it does not have to be listed; if you are very sensitive to lactose and have persistent symptoms, ask your pharmacist to help you.  Ask your doctor to prescribe a lactose-free alternative if one exists.

6. Specialty Products:-If you are not able to tolerate lactose-containing foods using the above suggestions, special products are available.  Keep in mind, not everyone with lactose intolerance needs special products; many people can tolerate regular dairy products by adjusting the type and amount consumed.

- 100% lactose reduced milk is available in the dairy section of most grocery stores.

- Available in nonfat, 1%, 2%, and whole milk varieties.

- Lactose reduced milk contains the same nutrition, including calcium and vitamin D as regular milk.

- Lactose reduced milk does cost a bit more than regular milk.

- Lactose reduced milk may taste sweeter than regular milk.

7. Lactase Enzyme Supplements

These products contain the enzyme lactase, which is needed for the digestion of lactose. Available in tablet or chewable form.

8.Other Products

Soy milk, rice milk and almond milk are lactose free.  If you plan to use these products as an alternative calcium and/or vitamin D source, read labels carefully and choose a brand which specifically states it contains these nutrients and in what amounts.

Calcium and Vitamin D

If you are on a low lactose diet, discuss your calcium and vitamin D intake with your physician or dietitian. Studies have shown that individuals with lactose intolerance often do not take in enough of these nutrients.  Inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake increases the risk of osteoporosis.  A dietitian can help you determine whether you are getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.

PREVENTION

There is no known way to prevent lactose intolerance. However, one can lead a healthy and normal life by managing their daily diet routine and incorporating products that are lactose free, yet with healthy nutrients. The key is to have balance of all vital nutrients and implementing guidelines that are meant for lactose intolerance condition.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Eat Balanced Diet For Healthy You

The amount and the type of food you eat has a major influence on your health. If you eat a well-balanced diet, it can reduce your risk of various diseases as well as help you to maintain a healthy weight. There are certain times when it can be particularly important to make sure that you follow a healthy diet, for example, if you want to lose excess weight or if you’re watching what you eat because you’re pregnant. However, it’s important to eat a healthy diet throughout your life, no matter what age you are – there’s never a bad time to make some changes and improve your eating habits.

A balanced diet requires eating a variety of foods without consuming too much of any one. It also means eating certain things in moderation, namely saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, salt and alcohol. The goal is to take in nutrients you need for health at the recommended levels. Each food is categorized into a different group based on its similarity in content to other foods within that same group.

Why is it important to eat balanced diet?

The purpose behind a balanced diet is to consume all of the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining basic human physiological functions. These compounds aid in digestion and metabolism, help body tissue grow play an important role in hormones and assist the cell with its functions.

 

For Balanced diet one should need to eat a range of foods to get all of the nutrients and fiber your body needs. The five main food groups are:

* Starchy foods, which include bread, pasta, rice and potatoes

* Fruit and vegetables

* Milk and other dairy foods

* Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

* Foods high in fat or sugar

* Eat the right balance of foods from these groups to make sure your body gets all it needs to stay healthy

Getting The Balance Right!

Fruit and vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It is advised that one should eat five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. There’s evidence that people who eat at least five portions a day are at lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Eating five portions is not as hard as it might sound. Just one apple, banana, pear or similar-sized fruit is one portion. A slice of pineapple or melon is one portion. Three heaped tablespoons of vegetables is another portion.

Starchy foods: Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, potatoes, pasta, maize are an important part of a healthy diet. They are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet. Starchy foods are fuel for your body.

Starchy foods should make up around one third of everything we eat. This means we should base our meals on these foods.

Try and choose whole-grain or wholemeal varieties, such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and brown whole-meal bread. They contain more fiber (often referred to as ‘roughage’), and usually more vitamins and minerals than white varieties.

Meat, fish, eggs and beans: These foods are all good sources of protein, which is essential for growth and repair of the body. They are also good sources of a range of vitamins and minerals.

Meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. It is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. Try to eat lean cuts of meat and skinless poultry whenever possible to cut down on fat. Always cook meat thoroughly.

Fish is another important source of protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for at least two portions of fish/ chicken a week.

Eggs and pulses (including beans, nuts and seeds) are also great sources of protein. Nuts are high in fiber and a good alternative to snacks high in saturated fat, but they do still contain high levels of fat, so eat them in moderation.

Milk and dairy foods: Milk and dairy foods such as cheese and yogurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps to keep your bones healthy.

To enjoy the health benefits of dairy without eating too much fat, use semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk or 1% fat milks, lower-fat hard cheeses or cottage cheese, and lower-fat yogurt.

Fat and sugar: Fat and sugar are both sources of energy for the body, but when we eat too much of them we consume more energy than we burn, and this means that we put on weight. This can lead to obesity and also increases the various metabolic diseases in an individual.

Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have smaller amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead. For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.

Failing to eat a balanced diet can be dangerous. A deficiency of any single nutrient may cause osteoporosis, muscle attenuation, irritation, skin irregularities, growth and development problems, anemia, suppressed functionality of the brain and nervous system and many other serious health concerns. A loss of zinc and protein, for instance, can cause dry, brittle and loose hair. These effects can range from subtle to serious. So in order to lead a happy and healthy life one should make a habit of following the balanced eating pattern in day to day life.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How Healthy are Packaged Soups

Positioning of food products as healthy has become as fashionable as people joining a gym. Unfortunately most of these so called health products are not as healthy as the natural counter parts of these. For example packaged soups do not carry half as many health benefits of natural soup simply because nutrition cannot be stored for such a long time. Besides all the preservatives used to improve the shelf life of these perishable goods destroy the antioxidant qualities of the vegetables. The ingredients used are also of not the best quality, leaving the major content of the soup to be actually starch, sugar and sodium.

The vegetable content of any packaged soup is almost negligible besides containing depleted nutrients. Here are the three critical components of a pre-packaged soup that might be causing harm to your family’s health.

Corn flour- the packaged soups have a very high amount of corn flour for a thick consistency. Some major health hazard of corn flour is that it raises the blood sugar content. It leads to the Yo-Yo effect which is harmful for one’s health. It further leads to fat deposition in the body, which makes one more hungrier and further leads to over eating. Corn flour leaves an adverse effect on the intestine.

Salt- packaged soups contains very high amount of salt. This is extremely not recommended for people suffering from blood pressure or even those who have borderline blood pressure as high salt will increase their levels. Excess of salt causes is linked with osteoporosis, asthma, kidney diseases and stomach cancer sometimes; it also causes water retention and edema.

Preservatives- in packaged soups amount of preservatives is also very high. Coal Tar Azo Dyes, sulfites, etc are some kinds of preservatives which are present in soups. Such kind of preservatives can also cause cancer and other health hazards.

Moreover all the nutrients in a packaged soup are in powdered form (dehydrated) and when these nutrients come in contact with heat, they lose all the essential vitamins. Besides these soups only contain empty calories that gets stored in your body and don’t get absorbed immediately as they are void of any nutrition. Most people tend to gravitate towards these products because of fantastic marketing, convenience and affordability of these products. Don’t be short-sighted and only think for now and not the larger picture of good health. The money that you think you are saving on buying these cheap products is actually adding to your medical bills later in life. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Should You Eat Junk Food?

Dark Chocolate

Junk food is  not healthy and we know it. Eating junk food can almost be compared to the warning sign on cigarette packets. All smokers know its bad for health but yet they smoke. Junk food only provides empty calories to the body without any nutrition. But prolonged consumption of  junk foods can even cause irreversible damage like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases etc.

Some of the universal favorite junk foods are potato fries, salted chips and snacks, candy, sugar, high sweet content food, sweet desserts, fried food products, fast food fried foods and products like sweetened sodas. A lot of food companies are marketing foods like sweetened cereals, packaged soups, biscuits as health products. But if you read the ingredient content you would notice the high sodium, sugar and corn syrup content of these products. This does not mean they are lying . These so called healthy foods might contain some nutrition than others but are still not completely healthy. The similarity between partially healthy and completely unhealthy foods is that they are high in calories that only leads to storage of fat.

Junk food products that are salted are loaded with sodium that increases cholesterol in the body affecting heart health, results in water retention and slowers metabolism.It also causes high blood pressure and hypertension. On the other hand sweets lead to excessive calorie intake which leads to increased blood sugar levels causing type 2 diabetes in the long run. It causes storage of fat and increases visceral fat than reduces the insulin effect. Yet if you reverse your nutrition from empty calories to healthy foods then you would experienceweight loss and better health.

Below are some unhealthy food options  that can be easily replaced with somewhat healthy options:

Cheese Burger with Coke: This is all season snack for us and is so satisfying and filling is what we feel. This is a monster diet when we look at the calories it provides. The combo provides approx 380 from the cheese burger and 210 from an 500ml bottle. The cheese and, high sodium in the burger and sweet in the drink is not so healthy choice.  Instead choose from vegetarian wraps that are made of healthier grain as a good substitute for white bread.

Cholle Bhature: Famous indian food which is combination of chick peas and fortified flour which in high in oil and sodium. Its taste makes you eat more of it which spikes the calorie intake to 170 calories from chick peas and 275 calories from two pieces of Bhature which is deep fried. Why not instead eat sprouts or boiled chick peas with salt, pepper and lemon with a slice of garlic bread.

Potato Wedges with Salsa Dip: The touch of the salsa dip on widgets is mouth watering but is high caloric. Its small size and shallow dips with each bite increase the caloric intake. 380 calories from the wedges and 80 calories from the salsa dip. Drinking some sweetened beverage could further increase the caloric intake as it is high sodium which makes you feel thirsty making you eat and drink more. Instead look for finger foods that have green vegetables in them for better nutrition. Eating grilled vegetables can be tasty too if you are open to giving them a chance.

Hot Chocolate Fudge: Sweet desserts that promise happy moments are certainly not healthy with their calorie intake. One hot chocolate fudge adds 350 calories to your diet. What about eating some dates insted for the sweet tooth? You could drink a cup of cappucino instead. Dark chocolate is healthy and could make a healthier choice. ‘

Cheese Pizza Slice: Dont be confused that sharing a pizza and eating two slices would not be unhealthy. Cheese and the pizza provide nearly 450 calories eating two slices. Some sweets or sodas increase the intake again. Choose veggie or chicken pizza with out cheese. Opt for thin crust, whole wheat pizza without any fillings in between.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo