How to Spot Hidden Sugar on Food Labels

Eating too much sugar is not healthy for you. Most people would agree with this. Yet, we are still getting way too much of it in our diet. Why?

If you have ever read a food label then you know how confusing they can be. Once you get past simple ingredients like milk, water, corn and cheese, things begin to get a little dicey. How do you read those labels?

Sugar is a carbohydrate. It is called a simple carbohydrate because it is metabolized easier. It doesn’t need extra energy to be broken down. In fact, if you’ve ever had a sugary snack, your blood sugar spikes right away. You get energy for about thirty minutes and then feel like you are sinking through the floor.

Sugars are also used to preserve foods. You normally think of salt, but sugar is used in processed foods in other forms. If you see the word “sugar” on the label you may think twice about using the product. But, when other words are used for sugar, it can be harder to distinguish.

Start by looking at the carbohydrate count on the nutrition label. Under carbohydrates you will see a total carbohydrate measurement and then a breakdown to sugars and fiber. If the sugar number is most of the carbohydrate number then there is more than a lot of sugar in that food item.

Now, look at the ingredient list. Sugar has many scientific names. Foods that end in “-ose” or “-ase” contains sugar. Substances like fructose, maltose and sucrose are all trade names for sugar. Also look for sweet ingredients like molasses, syrup (of any kind), agave nectar and cane sugar.

Some foods have natural sugars. If a food contains strawberries, the label would have strawberries on the list. Strawberries have natural sugar and that is not listed separately because it is a part of the fruit.

There are also sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol. They are composed of sugar and alcohol groups in their chemical make-up. They have less calories and less of an impact on your blood sugar. Xylitol is used in sugarless gum instead of other sweeteners with side effects. But, you do need to note the amount of sugar alcohols in your food. Since they are not completely absorbed by the body, an excess of them can lead to diarrhea or bloating.

Also, ingredients on food labels are supposed to be listed in order of percentage in that food. If these disguised sugars appear near the top of the list, then they are a bigger portion of the calories than may be alluded to on the front of the box.

If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, read the food labels. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can lead to problems with your heart and also your metabolism. if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol there are precautions you can take to avoid getting excess cholesterol in your diet.

Chances are if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor is concerned about your health. There are three types of cholesterol in the body: LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and triglycerides. Ideally you want your total cholesterol number to be below 150. High levels of LDL and triglycerides can be attributed to heart disease, stroke risk and even diabetes.

In people with high cholesterol, the LDL and/or triglycerides are too high to be safe. LDL plaques can be sticky. They adhere to the vessel walls, narrowing the lumen. The blood is under high pressure to get moved thorough those vessels and supply the body with oxygen. These plaques can break loose and lodge in other areas of the body creating dangerous embolisms. Thrombosis can also stop blood from flowing to the extremities and can be very painful.

But, you can control your cholesterol with diet and medication. Even with medication, if your cholesterol numbers are still high it may be due to your diet. Here are some tips for eating and shopping that can help you to lower your cholesterol.

* Read the labels – Many of us trust that when the label says “low fat” that it is actually low fat. However, look at the composition of fat that remains. Higher levels of saturated fat are not good for the body. We already get too much of this in fast foods.

Also look at the serving size. If you are eating five crackers and getting eight grams of fat, then your percentage of fat to calories is too high to be worth eating that food. Look at the cholesterol amount. We often skip this because most foods have little to none. However, some foods have a fair amount of it per serving and need to be watched.

* Avoid animal protein – While animal products are one of the best sources of protein, they are not the only source. Choose lean poultry or seafood which is high in healthy fats. There are a lot of saturated fats in red meat, chicken with skin and fatty pork.

* Watch whole milk – Milk contains milk fats. Skim is the ideal to drink since there are no milk fats in it. But, if you drink milk, even a reduced fat milk is better than whole.

* Dairy products – Butter may be okay for cooking or sautéing food, but not as a main ingredient. This includes ice cream, heavy cream and cream cheese.

There are also foods that may not contain high levels of cholesterol, but can raise LDL cholesterol. These foods are high in saturated fat and trans fats and are best left alone.

Are you trying to lower your cholesterol? Read food labels to get the information you need. Then, select your fresh foods and meats carefully to avoid adding more cholesterol to your diet.

Delicious Raw Food Snacks for the Whole Family

We love to snack. In our society, snacks are eaten more often than regular meals. If you want to keep your family healthy, try raw food snacks.

What Are Raw Foods?

Raw foods are foods that are eaten in their natural states. These foods don’t have to be cooked since cooking may remove nutrients that are important to your body.

Some people eat only raw foods. There are many benefits. They provide more nutrients than processed foods. Raw foods also contain the enzymes needed to break them down.

Raw foods are also alkaline. It is believed that eating a diet high in acidic foods can make you fat. Some examples are cheeses, animal meats, coffee, cookies and sweets and dairy foods. Eating these foods can change the pH in your intestines to crave acidic foods which could make you fatter overall.

Choosing more fruits and vegetables that can be eaten in their natural state increases the alkalinity of your body and your weight loss. This is not only a good way to stay healthy for you but also your family.

Kids learn their eating habits from their parents. If we eat processed foods and lots of sugars, they will also. It can lead to childhood obesity, lack of exercise and an increase in diseases that strike due to poor health.

Counteract this with raw food snacks. Kids love foods that they can carry in their hands. Raw foods keep longer and can be carried around with you for meals on the run.

Raw foods don’t have to be tasteless. Condiments and spices can be used to create delicious dishes. Let’s think about dips. We often use cheese dips or high-calorie mayonnaise-based ones for our fruits and veggies. The fat in the dips outweighs eating the vegetables.

How about hummus? You can make it yourself by grounding up chickpeas. Add spices to flavor it so your veggies get an extra kick. Fat-free yogurt is also a good choice.

What about other raw food sources? Fruits have natural sugars in them that can satisfy the sugar cravings without raising your blood sugar. Mixing them together in smoothies can give your kids a taste of how to enjoy the natural sweetness of foods.

Even vegetables like carrots have a natural sweetness. When you juice them, the flavor of the vegetables is easier to taste. Even crunching on a carrot yields a flavor that is not found in carrots that have been boiled or canned.

Other raw food snacks include assorted fruits and vegetables, raw grains (spelt, sesame, buckwheat, oats, and barley), fish, milk, cheese and honey. Create whole grain bars, trail mix, cheese snacks and other foods that will provide nutrients for your body.

Raw food snacks provide lots of healthy vitamins and minerals for your body. Introduce your children to them today.

Burn More Fat the Healthy Way

There are many notions out there about how to lose body fat. We have tried fad diets, exercise equipment and hypnosis to do it. But, is there a more healthy way to lose fat.

The Science of Losing Weight

Here are a few facts that you might not be aware of. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. That seems like a lot but if you are eating a diet filled with fast food, fatty foods and unhealthy fats, simply changing one meal can bring about a deficit that will help you lose weight.

Also, different foods have different compositions. Fats, protein and carbohydrates all have a different calorie value associated with them. When you eat more fat, for instance, you ingest more calories.

We all have fat on our bodies. Fat cushions our bones and organs, but it can also endanger our health in large amounts. Too much belly fat can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.

Unhealthy Fat Loss

Unhealthy weight loss is no fat loss at all. Actually, diets that ask you to cut fat to less than healthy levels are increasing your fat stores. The body will work to preserve itself from what it perceives as starvation by holding on to the fat it already has stored.

Eating diets with high protein levels and high fat can lead to muscle loss and not fat loss. You could be adding to your fat percentage with the loss of lean muscle.

There is one thing that all dieticians can agree on: It takes time to lose fat. How much time depends on how you go about it. Now, here are some ways to lose fat in a healthy way that you might not have thought about.

* Eat – Skipping meals or not eating enough calories will put the body in starvation mode. Eating several times a day actually stokes the metabolism to keep burning fat for fuel.

* Healthy diet – Avoid as much processed food as you can. It is not good for the body. Animal protein sources contain higher levels of fat than plant sources. Plants also contain fiber which is hard to digest. As it passes through your system, it takes some fat with it. Fiber gives a feeling of fullness that lowers cravings and blood cholesterol.

* Add healthy oils – Healthy oils contain more omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body and increase heart health. Try eating cold water fish, as well as nuts like flaxseed.

* Exercise – While food is a big part of the equation, exercise increases the amount of calories you burn. When the body is filled with wholesome foods, the body will use stored fat to burn for energy, thus reducing your total body fat.

Are you looking to lose fat for good and not muscle? Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of quick fixes.

Benefits of Kettlebell Training

It is the newest phenomenon to hit the fitness industry. These unassuming funny shaped weights are leading people to greater weight loss than ever before. Keep reading and find out all about them.

Kettlebells are a former Soviet tool used to train their athletes. It looks odd, like a bowling ball with a handle. There are purses made that way.

Despite the way that they look, they are quite effective for burning fat and also building muscle. Kettlebells can be used one at a time. Isolating each limb leads to more focused training and better results. Just one 45-minute workout can have you feeling the difference from other conventional workout routines.

So, why choose kettlebells? Here are a few reasons.

* They are convenient – It might be hard to get to the gym for a workout, especially if you are busy or it is too cold outside. With your kettlebells, you can pull them out and use them anywhere. Keep one at your desk in the office and work out after the working day is done.

* They are inexpensive overall – The cost of a treadmill or climbing machine is a few thousand dollars. Buying an entire weight range of these kettlebells may set you back a few hundred dollars. In just a short time they will pay for themselves.

* They work muscles where it’s needed – Performing kettlebell swings will work the shoulders, lower back and hip flexors. The latter is important for proper balance. Sometimes knee pain is due to weaknesses in the hips. Working with this equipment, you can strengthen those muscles. They also increase coordination and strength in other weakened areas.

* They increase endurance and flexibility – People underestimate the kettlebell. They don’t realize what a workout they can get only in a few minutes time. With increased oxygen capacity you can improve performance in other sports and exercises that you choose to do. Flexibility is important for contact sports and other team sports.

* It is two workouts in one – With the weight of the bells, you are performing workouts that increase cardiovascular health and strength training all in one motion. By moving the ball in a swinging motion while you perform your moves, you are constantly adjusting for balance which works the abdominal area. Because your arms are constantly moving above your heart, you are raising your heart rate.

* They work the joints through the whole range of motion – Many machines in the gym have a limited range of motion. As a result, some don’t use free weights due to poor technique. Kettlebells help you to maintain proper form while working the entire area you are focusing on.

Want a great workout in less time? Want a way to keep working out without the boredom that some workouts bring? Try using kettlebells. You can get free workout routines online.