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By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Sugar Detective

Uploaded: Sep 22, 2019

I was just watching the movie Fed Up (Amazon Prime) about the effects of sugar on our bodies. Here’s the CliffsNotes: When you eat too much sugar and your liver can’t process it all, the pancreas comes in to save the day by excreting insulin that turns the excess sugar molecules into fat cells for storage. Yikes!

After the movie, play naturopathic doctor Samia McCully's Sugar Detective game: check any nutritional label in your pantry for the added sugars, divide by 4, and get the teaspoons of added sugar in the serving size. For instance, on this label the added sugar is nearly 10 teaspoons for a can of soda!

photo from web

Fight back! Another recipe we did at Sugar Blues, part of my 8 X 8 cooking series, is Peanut Butter Date Balls. These are similar to the ones sold at Trader Joe’s, but better! I think they were the favorite of all the recipes we did in class. No added sugar or flour, and if you have an issue with peanuts try another nut or seed butter. Easy to make, great to have around as snack. Remember that peanut butter has nearly the same amount of protein as ground beef, and like we discussed in Lentil Brownies, sweet combined with protein has that satisfying, staying power we need from our snacks.


Peanut Butter Date Balls

Makes 25 cookies

1 T flax seeds, ground
3 T water
½ t baking soda
1 t lemon juice, brown rice or apple cider vinegar
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
Flake sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with silicon baking sheet or parchment.

Combine flax seed – baking soda in a small bowl. Remove pits from dates and whirl in a food processor until a ball begins to form. Add peanut butter and flax seed mixture. Process until combined well, but don't over mix. Form into small balls with your hands and place on baking sheet, 1-inch a part. Sprinkle lightly with flake salt (optional, but it adds a terrific texture.)

Bake 15 minutes or until preferred texture. Store leftovers in fridge for best results.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Hidden sugars, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Sep 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Corn Syrup is a sugar that is hiding in so many of our foods where we don't expect to find them. Spaghetti/pizza sauces, drinks, breads, pastries (even savory pastries), etc. Reading labels is a must.

Healthy foods are also much higher in sugar than they should be. Flavored yogurts, "healthy" bread and muffins, breakfast cereals, are all high in sugar. It is much better to buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit for breakfast or smoothies. Reading labels is a must.

Bread should not have added sugar apart from a tiny part to start the yeast. American bread is more like cake than bread.

We must start a healthy food campaign in America. No added sugar must mean that and not artificial sugars. Reading labels is a must.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Sep 22, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Amen Hidden Sugars! Awomen too!

Posted by JD, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Sep 23, 2019 at 11:10 am

It's not just sugar. Any simple refined carbohydrates act almost exactly like sugar, and will provoke the same insulin response just about as quickly.

So consider white bread, potatoes, and white rice as the same thing as sugar.

Posted by JD, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Sep 23, 2019 at 11:10 am

It's not just sugar. Any simple refined carbohydrates act almost exactly like sugar, and will provoke the same insulin response just about as quickly.

So consider white bread, potatoes, and white rice as the same thing as sugar.

Posted by Common sense, a resident of another community,
on Sep 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

Common sense is a registered user.

While I agree with points above, they omit important parts of the story. To do with consumer behavior and consumer assumptions.

"Hidden sugars" above was exactly right: added sugars surface in many commercial foods that don't need them and didn't traditionally have them. Important to keep in sight, though, is WHY. Manufacturers add sugars because the public rewards the practice, preferring the taste of products tarted up that way. Modern consumer manufacturing is exquisitely responsive to consumers' buying preferences -- sort of a mirror of public tastes. The issue starts with us.

Another point missing here is how body chemistry doesn't distinguish, say, glucose added deliberately vs. glucose present naturally. OK, a glass of fruit juice has extra nutrients and (maybe) fewer additives than your illustrated Coca-Cola, but when it too contains 30-40 grams of sugars, the drinks are alike from a sugar viewpoint. Many consumers still seem blind to that. And again (granting other differences in the accompanying nutrients), body chemistry doesn't "know" if the sugar dose in a sweet dessert came from dates, honey, refined sugar, or corn syrup. ("Added" white sugar is a plant extract too, of course.) People who specifically disdain high-fructose corn syrup are often blissfully unaware that it's the same pair of simpler sugars that table sugar (sucrose) breaks into once you eat it, and that these three sugars together (sucrose, glucose, fructose) are the main sweeteners of natural fruits and vegetables.

None of that recommends refined sugars over those in dates and honey; the point is, if your concern specifically is sugar content, don't fool yourself by considering only sugars that come labeled as such.

Posted by Alcohol, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Sep 23, 2019 at 2:41 pm

If you continue to drink alcohol you're not going to achieve much.
Besides being a deadly poison, it will bloat you up like a puffball and not let you get rid of it until the booze goes away.
I noticed many are quite dependent on their alcohol intake though.

Posted by How Does It Feel..., a resident of Woodside,
on Sep 25, 2019 at 8:24 am

too much sugar is bad as it can lead to obesity, diabetes & dental issues.

it is more of a health concern when a person is grossly overweight & a slug. active people can often burn off excess sugar calories via lifestyle/recreation.

fat + sugar = the worst (i.e. ice cream as an example).

what is often overlooked is the SALT content of processed food (especially frozen section). I will not eat any frozen food crap except for straightforward vegetables.

fortunately we only associate with trim & attractive people who care about their physical appearances. as a result, entertaining is relatively simple yet fulfilling (we enjoy wine/beer with meals).

we do not have any obese friends/acquaintances because we cannot relate to their eating/dining habits.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Sep 27, 2019 at 6:56 am

It is actually hard to find staple foods that do not have sugar in them.
There are some ... what I thought were relatively healthy foods that I
eat that on taking closer looks at the ingredient labels I find they are not
that healthy.

One is Dave's Killer Bread Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds.

After perusing the racks of breads at Whole Foods, Safeway and elsewhere
I settled on Dave's Killer Bread. When you look at the ingredient list it has
the word organic in there so often attached to all the flours, seeds and nuts
that you miss that all of that great sounding stuff is enclosed in parenthesis
and is really the sub-ingredient list of the flour they use for their bread ...
notice ...

1 ) Organic whole wheat (organic whole wheat flour,
2 ) organic cracked whole wheat),
3 ) water,
4) 21 Whole Grains and Seeds mix ( organic whole flax seeds,
organic sunflower seeds,
organic ground whole flax seeds,
organic un-hulled brown sesame seeds,
organic triticale,
organic pumpkin seeds,
organic rolled barley,
organic rolled oats,
organic rolled rye,
organic un-hulled black sesame seeds,
organic millet,
organic rolled spelt,
organic blue cornmeal,
organic brown rice flour,
organic yellow cornmeal,
organic amaranth flour,
organic rolled KAMUT® Khorasan wheat,
organic quinoa,
organic buckwheat flour,
organic sorghum flour,
organic poppy seeds ), <---- see that parentheses here?
5 ) organic dried cane syrup (sugar),
6 ) organic wheat gluten,
7 ) organic oat fiber,
8 ) organic molasses,
9 ) sea salt,
10 ) organic cultured whole wheat,
11 ) yeast,
12 ) organic vinegar.

So instead of cane sugar being the 25th leading ingredient, it is actually
the fifth lading ingredient, with "organic" molasses coming in not far

I stopped eating breakfast cereal a long time ago, but recently found
Always Organic Nature's Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch Cereal
that is really delicious and has a lot of good ingredients in it as well, but
again sugar rears its ugly head.

Again cane sugar and molasses are added, but not quite in such a
deceptive and dishonest way as Steve's Killer bread ... or perhaps
Steve really means "killer" bread? Shame on Steve whoever he is
for being such a liar. However, it is almost impossible to find a good
bread that does not have sugar added to it.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Sep 27, 2019 at 7:25 am

According to my reading of the Nutrition Facts label a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.

By weight a teaspoon is 4 grams though.
Every four grams of added sugar equals one teaspoon of added sugar, and 16 calories.

Coke is right up there with cigarettes as one of the worst, but most profitable industries
in America. Warren Buffet, Americans first businessman for decades has extolled the
value of Coca-Cola as an investment, which is nothing better than investing in drug
dealing. And the new coffee drinks are even worse, upping the average caloric count
to about 240 calories or 15 teaspoons of sugar.

Now maybe we can understand the Republicans/Corporate loathing of the idea of
Universal Health Care, or Medicare for All .... huge profit centers of the economy are
based on cheap easy drug pushing that requires little IP or technology, but makes
millions and millions of people sick and ends up killing them, also providing huge
profits for the health care industry.

If we had to pay taxes to support our health care system we would find out that in
order to get the bill down to reasonable levels we might have to quit making people
sick and killing them, and these easy avenues of profit would go away as correct
incentives for behavior are adopted.

Correct the incentives ... correct the country.

Thus, Universal Health Care - Medicare For All, or all who want it .. whatever is one
powerful way to start to fix our country ... assuming of course that you are against
mass murder and actually care about America and Americans.

Posted by Brit, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Sep 27, 2019 at 8:41 am

American bread is much too sweet, it is more like cake.

I bake my own bread, yeast breads and soda bread. In my white bread (made with white wholewheat stone ground flour) there is no sugar. In my wholewheat yeast bread I use brown wholewheat stone ground flour with 1 tsp sugar to start the yeast. In my soda bread I use a mix of both flours, buttermilk and baking soda, and no sugar.

Good bread should taste of yeast, not sugar. Unfortunately it is hard to find commercially baked bread that isn't sweet and tastes of yeast.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Sep 28, 2019 at 5:04 am

Hey Brit ... where did you learn how to make bread? Do you have a bread machine?
Can you post a link to how to make decent sugarless bread? Especially rye bread!

Posted by Brit, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Sep 28, 2019 at 5:15 pm

CrescentParkAnon and others who might be interested

I do have a bread machine and use the "Basic French Bread" recipe that came with the instruction book using 3/4 cup water, 2 cups flour, 1tsp salt and 1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast for a 1 lb loaf, and 1-1/4 cups water, 3 cups flour, 1-1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp yeast for 1-l/2 lb loaf, following machine instructions.

For wholewheat bread I follow Delia Smith's recipe.
450g strong stoneground wholemeal flour, plus a little extra
1 level dessertspoon fine salt
2 level teaspoons (or a 7g packet) easy bake yeast
350ml hand-hot water
which I also make in the bread machine.

For soda bread I use Paul Hollywood's recipe. Web Link Bicarbonate of soda is what is called baking soda here.

The soda bread recipe is very quick and easy and I can start and have it ready to eat in an hour. The loaf breaks nicely into quarters and all or part can easily be frozen. I often break in half and freeze half or else I will just eat it too quickly it is that nice. If you like you can add some raisins which will give it a slight sweeter flavour.

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