Some foods that are converted into sugars after being eaten

Have you herd us say “try to stay away from starchy vegetables, grains, sugars and sweeteners, have fruit in moderation and be mindful of your dairy intake”?

We say this because all of the above mentioned foods contain carbohydrates that are converted into sugars during the digestion process and cause your blood sugar levels to increase shortly after your meal.

Starchy Vegetables
Starchy vegetables like, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and green peas can raise your blood sugar levels. The starches found in these types of vegetables are quickly digested and converted into sugars by the enzymes found in your gastrointestinal tract. The sugars can quickly enter your bloodstream and elevate your blood sugar levels. For example, 1 cup of mashed potatoes has about 35g of carbohydrates = 9 tsp of pure sugar.

Grains
Grains are also rich in starches and some grains also contain added sugar. All types of breads, such as bagels, sliced breads, rolls and English muffins, as well as rice, pasta, noodles, crackers and baked foods are all converted to sugars after being eaten and can make your blood sugar levels rise in a few minutes to hours following your meals. A slice of whole wheat bread has close to 4tsp of sugar, while a large bagel has over 17tsp of sugar (help, no mare bagels for me).

Sugars and Sweeteners
The sugar found in foods and drinks are very easily converted into the smaller molecules of sugar that can be absorbed into your blood, increasing your blood sugar levels fast. The more sugar you eat, the more your blood sugar levels will rise. Jams, syrups, table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (poison and used in many baked and frozen meals) and brown sugar are all converted to simple sugar in your body. The same happens with sweeteners that are said to be more natural, such as honey, maple syrup and agave nectar.

Fruits
When you eat fruit, the carbohydrates in the fruit can quickly be changed into sugars in your body. Even if fruit contains natural sugars, it does influence your blood sugar levels more than you think. Fresh fruits, canned fruits, frozen fruits, dried fruits and fruit juices all contribute to raising your blood sugar levels. A medium apple has 4tsp of sugar, while a 500ml glass of unsweetened orange juice has over 13tsp of natural sugar provided by the oranges. Remember to control your fruit intake, we suggest no more then 2 serves a day and try to have them in the form of fresh (or frozen) berries. Eat your fruit do not drink it!

Some Dairy
Milk, yoghurt and some fresh cheese contain small amounts of carbohydrates that can be converted into sugar in your body. If you choose to have chocolate milk and sweetened yoghurts, then the amount of sugar gets even higher and consuming these foods can cause a larger increase in your blood sugar levels. Did you know that aged cheese, butter and cream are not converted into sugars because they do not contain enough carbohydrates per serving?

All I need you to do is look at your daily food intake and think of ways that you can decrease the sugars. If you do, you will notice a big difference in your energy levels.

You Are What You Eat!

Literally…

Cells in our bodies die and are replace by the nutrients we get from the food we eat. In six months your body is completely made up of new cells and tissues! What you put in your mouth not only has an effect on your weight/body shape, IT DETERMINES WHAT YOUR BODY IS MADE UP OF! And, how efficiently your body will work.

So when you hear that saying – “you are what you eat” – it’s not just a figure of speech… If you eat lean kangaroo meat, you too will be lean and energetic! On the other hand, if you eat heaps of really fatty grain fed cow, you too will get fat and move slowly.

It makes sense for the protein foods, because they have brains and personalities – but what about our other food groups? How do we become colourful and healthy vegetables and fruit as opposed to energy sapping sugar and fat storing refined carbohydrates?

Well, when I put it like that it sounds perfectly logical that eating nutrient dense foods will result in being well and feeling good – whereas, filling your belly with heavily processed grains, sugars and alcohol (or as they are more well known these days, “empty calories”) will lead to feeling sluggish and your body being more inclined to store fat.

There is PLENTY of evidence showing that eating patterns based on lean protein, plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, some fruit, little starch and no sugar result in lean, athletic and energetic people! Whereas eating patterns (or gorging) comprised of high carb, low nutrient, low protein, high saturated and trans fat contents will end up with your organs being choked by fat and not being able to fit into your jeans anymore.

Yes, you can burn calories by doing more exercise but you can’t change the composition of your insides unless you change the types of foods you put in your mouth!

Take home message…

Think about the quality of the food that passes your lips. If you wouldn’t feed it to your kids or pets, why would you want it as part of your cells? Remember, you are LITERALLY what you eat so make better choices. Only you have control over your internal make up!

Is fructose bad?

There is a lot of confusion about fructose and whether fruit is bad for us… what is the truth? I’m going to set a few things straight.

What is Fructose?

Fructose is the sugar found naturally in fruit and some vegetables, and can be used as a source of energy. It doesn’t have an effect on your blood sugar levels, and therefore doesn’t spike your insulin. This is because it is processed by the liver.

Is it bad for me?

Too much of anything is bad, but if you’re eating only a couple of pieces of fruit a day your liver will easily be able to process it and you will use it as energy. If you have too much fructose at one time (as in a fruit binge or any man-made products that  have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in them), it will over load your liver and any excess will be sent into your blood as little fat molecules, called triglycerides.

Why is this bad?

Well…there are many reasons, a couple include:

1. Appetite control signals not working properly leaving you hungry and unsatisfied, craving for more food and so the vicious cycle begins.

2. High levels of triglycerides in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and other metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

High fructose corn syrup can be put into the same category as table sugar when it comes to whether these two are bad for us… the answer is yes. Fructose will be processed by the liver no matter where it comes from but the problem is that foods with high fructose corn syrup or concentrated fruit juice as sweeteners have TOO MUCH fructose that the body cannot handle it. This overload is what throws out hormonal messages, making your brain think you’re still hungry and leading to too much fat in the blood.

Some evidence shows that HFCS (or whatever new names industry has come up with to disguise it as) actually causes you to eat more because it blocks the full signal telling you when to stop eating, and this is believed to be what the food companies want so that you buy more of their foods.

Full signal broken = still hungry = keep eating more of the same = still not full = eat again ====> overweight and obese

So it’s not fruit that is the problem… it’s genetically modified variations and the quantities we eat!.

What foods have too much fructose?

Anything processed or man-made… fructose and fruit concentrate sweeteners are sneaking into everything from soft drinks, bread to chocolates and lollies and even flavoured yoghurts! Anything with a food label generally has some kind of sugar or sweetener, either avoid all packaged food or have a read before you buy so you can limit the amount of sugar you eat. Switch to lean protein, plain dairy, veggies, a couple of pieces of fruit and plentiful good fats and you will keep your liver and hormones happy!

Take Home Message

Stick to unprocessed, natural foods that don’t have packaging or nutrition labels and you know you won’t be eating vast amounts of sneaky high fuctose corn syrup. Eat fruit in moderation, using the wonderful wide variety of seasonable vegetables we have available to us as you favourable carbs. This way your liver won’t be overloaded and your hormone levels will remain in balance.

Glucagon: The Key to Burning Fat

What is glucagon? Sounds a bit like glucose… isn’t that sugar? No, NOT to be confused with glucose: GLUCAGON is actually a hormone – like insulin that we discussed last time – and is insulin’s opposite or counter-hormone in that it helps release energy instead of storing it. But why you need to know about glucagon?

What Is Glucagon?

Glucagon is a hormone also released by the pancreas, which plays a big part in keeping your energy levels sufficient when you’re not eating. I have also heard it being named the “fat mobilising hormone”, so this one is key in burning up those soft and squishy fat stores and extra skin pockets we all dream of getting rid of!

What Does It Do?

Glucagon helps to keep blood sugar and energy levels normal between meals by releasing energy from your liver and allowing you to access your body fat stores for energy. When blood sugar levels get low and your body is hungry, glucagon works to release the nutrients that will give you energy until you eat your next meal.

How Does This Affect me?

If you have too much insulin or sugar in your bloodstream, glucagon will not spring into action and we will end up keeping all of our fat stores as fat, and most likely adding to them. This will happen if you’re eating a diet high in sugar, processed white carbohydrates and man-made foods.

Eating a diet of vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar will lead to lower and more consistently released levels of glucose/sugar into the blood and therefore lower levels of insulin – resulting in your glucagon hormone being activated to start the burning of your fat stores…

So, if you eat The Ignite Way you will not only be keeping your energy levels more stable but you’ll also be able to burn more fat, more efficiently.

Take Home Message:

Follow the Ignite Way of Eating to make sure you keep your blood sugar and insulin levels lower and more stable, which will help you to use glucagon to burn up your fat stores. Get burning!

3 Common myths about food and what we eat

There’s a lot of “false” advertising on what healthy eating actually means. It can be really confusing to know what is really healthy and what just looks healthy. I just want to give you 3 common misunderstandings so you can start choose the right way of fueling your body.

1. Healthy equals low fat?
We’ve heard it, we’ve seen it, we believe in it- “low fat food=healthy choice”, but this is not true, as more and more research is being done around the world, the evidence on low fat food products is starting to get a bad rap.  Many low fat foods are not healthy at all. That means the majority of ready-meals, yoghurts and snacks for example are advertised as low fat which means that they have to replace the lost flavours with things like salt, additives and sugar.

One more thing to consider is that all fats and not treated the same, and some are very healthy for us and are needed in our nutrition. The fats that can help you lose weight, keep your heart healthy and lower your cholesterol are monounsaturated fats. They are found in avocados, olive oil and nuts. Don’t be a “fat a phobic”, start considering the sugar content in food and start being a sugar phobic. 

2. Organic/natural means healthy?
Low-fat labels on foods do not mean it’s a healthy option, neither do organic or natural labels, being organic or natural might be a healthier option but it does not mean the product is loaded with salt, sugar or saturated fats.

Also as you buy food, consider labels that say “contain” organic or natural ingredients or if you get a fruit flavored product and is says contains real fruit. What does that mean and what’s the rest made of? I suggest you stick to foods that are in season and grown in your area, then you know for a fact that they have the true meaning of organic and natural.

3. Cereal is the healthiest way to start the day?
There are hundreds of cereals out there that claim they are the healthiest on the market because it says they are high in fibre, protein, good fat, have added vitamins and minerals etc. But don’t be surprised when I say that many of them have levels of fat, sugar, and salt, as high as a jam doughnut.

It might be true that there are vitamin and mineral added to the cereals, but I suggest that you try to get this through real food. 

Top Tips: Read labels and eat food in the most natural form as possible.

I will cover the next 3 common myths about food and what we eat in 14 days.

Is Sugar Really the Devil??

There really aren’t many benefits to eating sugar, whether it be added table sugar to your coffee or fruit sugars added to the processed foods you eat – there is nothing that great about sugar no matter what form it comes in!

The main thing to remember is that it’s not fat that makes you fat… it’s SUGAR that makes you fat.

What is sugar?

Sugars are carbohydrates. It’s quite confusing… there are so many types of sugar it’s hard to keep track of them, and when industry keeps changing the names they use for it, it’s even harder to identify it on the ingredients list of the foods we buy.

A few common ones that we should be aware of are:

- Glucose, this is the main building block when it comes to carbohydrates and the one that is used by our brains and muscles for energy BUT when we eat too much of this the body stores the excess as fat. The best way to make sure you’re not eating too much is to use vegetables as your main carbohydrate source. Food manufacturers use dextrose when they add it to foods to disguise it. Added glucose or dextrose should be avoided.

- Fructose, also known as fruit sugar. This is obviously found in fruit but also added to processed foods to make them sweeter and the manufacturers get away with hiding it from you because it’s a “natural” sugar and is therefore listed in total carbohydrates rather than sugars on the nutrition information panel… very sneaky! One to watch out for, especially in yoghurts. Fruit juice is just plain BAD, I know it sounds healthy but it’s far too much sugar at once so get off the fruit juice and get into the water. Fruit is good for us, but in moderation. 2-3 pieces of fruit per day is plenty, any more than this and we’ll end up having excess carbohydrates to convert to stored fat in the body. A high number of people have trouble metabolising fructose in the body and suffer nasty side effects like bloating and diarrhoea from eating too much fruit.

- Sucrose, also known as common table sugar. This is manufactured from sugar cane and beets. Its structure is 1:1 glucose: fructose so it’s metabolised by the body in a similar way to fructose and high fructose corn syrup. It has no useful or beneficial nutrients whatsoever.

- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), also known as corn starch and maize starch. This is really one to avoid… not digested well by the body and responsible for a number of growing health problems since its sudden surge of use in food products. Used in soft drinks and processed foods as a sweetener and known to contribute to non alcoholic fatty liver disease, decreases good cholesterol (HDL), and it also interferes with leptin causing you to never feel full… another cheeky ploy by food manufacturers to get you eating more of their product!

Why is sugar so bad for me?

There are quite a few negatives to having sugar in your diet, below are just a few to hopefully put you off the stuff…

- Sugar causes blood thickening, increasing your risk of clots.

- Sugar suppresses your immune system by affecting the function of white blood cells (your fighter cells).

- Sugar decreases leptin production, which is a hormone that tells your body to stop eating – very important in regulating your appetite.

- Sugar seems to encourage the growth of cancer cells.

- Sugar encourages fat storage and weight gain, especially if you have excess intake not being used for energy.

- Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.

- High sugar intake over a long timeframe increases your risk of insulin resistance, type II diabetes and a number of other metabolic diseases.

I’ve also noticed that high sugar intake dehydrates the body, so after a big night of binge eating on cakes and biscuits it’s likely you’ll wake up with what I call a food hang over… not very comfortable.

So, the take home message is… avoid added sugars of any kind (glucose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup) and limit your fruit intake to no more than 3 pieces per day. This is one thing I’m not going to suggest having in moderation… just don’t eat it! SUGAR IS BAD!