Monday, March 13, 2017

Myth: Sugar that comes from fruit is healthier than other sugar

Love fresh juices?

Who doesn't? A few days ago, a friend of mine told me about this great refrigerated juice he found in the store with no additives - nothing but fruit juices. I asked him to check the sugar content since he said he had not. When he look did look at the bottle there were 36 grams of sugar in the juice - more sugar than recommended daily allowance for men.  We love juices because they are so high in sugar. So while you get high doses of water-soluble nutrients in juices, nutrients that need to be replenished at least once daily, you also get a sugar load as high or higher than having a Coke or a candy bar!

But isn't juice healthy because it comes from the fruit itself?

Juices are not whole foods. The sugar in fruit is not healthier than other sugar we consume from other sources when it is separated from the whole fruit. When we eat whole fibrous fruits designed in nature for a slower sugar release due to the intact fiber, the food is consumed more slowly and we are still able to digest and absorb nutrients we need. When the fiber is "processed" by a blender or juicer, the fibrous fruit cells are broken down and do not slow sugar absorption. Furthermore, we don't generate the enzymes in saliva by chewing for digestion.

Adding to the confusion is new labeling of "added sugars" for those sugars not in the natural food itself. The intention of the labeling was to call out the addition of sugars for taste in a product. This added sugar is often excessive as we gradually acclimate to higher and higher levels for the same level of satisfaction. Awareness of the sugar that manufacturers add to our products is the first step to help us make changes in our diet for health. The good news here is that if we gradually eat less sugar, our taste buds become more sensitive to lower levels of sugar and we acclimate to these lower levels without detection.

Four ounces, a half of a small juice glass is the daily adult serving. Stick to the recommended serving by watering the juice down and drink it as part of a meal or as a flavoring to yogurt or other foods or dishes.

Juicing is fine for athletes who are rapidly losing fluids, need quick energy to burn right away before exercise and for those who need calories as well as energy because their caloric requirements are high so they sugar is used for energy immediately. For the rest of us, it's just dessert.

Questions? Just leave them in a comment below or contact me at

Friday, February 17, 2017

Is it soup yet? The skill of nutricycling.

It's another rainy day in LA. We've had a record year for rain this year. This day is not only rainy but windy, almost blizzard-like, yet warm - not cold like most of the snowy blizzards I am familiar with from my east coast upbringing. So I told myself, I'm a trouper and went out to brave the storm so I wouldn't miss my Toastmasters meeting at UCLA, after all, there is no bad weather with the right clothes and preparation. I was raised to believe that weather should never stop you from your plans and from living fully and in fact, it might even help to live more fully.

Now I'm happily home safely and listening to the sound of the rain that is always so comforting. Waving out my window to neighbors who are also looking out at the rain. Warm soup, a book, catch up work even feels better when it's raining outside. Does a fake California fireplace count? The type with burner switch?

It must be soup time. In my no waste, no haste, great taste, whole food kitchen, I always have fresh food that has passed the 3-day mark ready for my soup pot.

Since I aim to get half of my nutrients in fresh form and the remainder in cooked form, the 3-day rule works out well for me to keep the items in my refrigerator or counter circulating. It's a mindset of shopping my refrigerator or shelf for items I want to use up and selecting ingredients and flavors that will blend well and complete my required nutrient needs.

After a few days, the nutrient advantage of fresh foods is destroyed by oxidation or dehydration. At this point, other forms of preserving these foods typically yield at least similar nutrient levels to fresh food. Cooking which destroys some nutrients makes others more available to the body.

By eating a variety of both fresh and cooked foods, you have now not only utilized nutrients that would have been lost out on but also created a means to get a broader range of nutrients.

Valuing the food you have worked hard for to purchase honors yourself and the plant or animal life that is able to nourish you. Instead of wasting what fresh food was not consumed quickly enough, you can stop spoilage, stay safe and release more nutrients for your body.  That respect and gratitude keep you healthy in every way.


About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers, I'm back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so, there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. If they buy impulsively, that's what they will see more of. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make and stick to better food choices that you enjoy. You'll gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions for healthful food and food practices you can happily embody and embrace!