Should I Eat Fruit?
What About Grains, Starches and Legumes?
What I am about to write may be shocking to some. However, there are those that really NEED this information. So, I’m putting it out there. If you are overweight or have diabetes (including pre-diabetes), FRUIT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND! Yes, I know that fruit has vitamins, minerals, and is a nutritious, natural food. And if you are of normal weight, active, and insulin sensitive (the big key here), fruit may be ok for you. (Although you may find a lessened ability to tolerate it later in life.)
There are many out there who think that there should be no restriction on plant foods of any kind. So to those folks I say, if a banana causes a blood glucose of 300, should it be restricted? How about 200? For those that are blessed being insulin sensitive, which is in fact a VERY small part of the population, they often cannot remotely understand what fruit does to the rest of us.
What if your diet includes lots of fruit and you say “I feel great! I am a healthy weight. This must be healthy for me.” I say, test your blood glucose, even if you are not diabetic. I have many diabetic clients who say they feel their best when their blood glucose is in the 200’s range. High blood glucose is insidious. Your body adapts to it. It can be going on for years with no knowledge to the sufferer. So we cannot go by just how we feel on our diet, but we need to determine what our diet is actually doing to us.
For those that are overweight or with diabetes, fruit is just not a good choice. Don’t get me wrong, it makes me sad too. I once loved fruit. But I love my heart, brain, kidneys, liver, feet and eyes more. Now, if you have lost the bulk of your weight and can tolerate small amounts of low sugar fruit (such as berries) without weight gain or significant blood glucose spikes, then proceed with caution by consuming small, infrequent portions*. (*This applies to those on a moderate low carb or plant based diet. Those on a ketogenic diet may wish to avoid most fruit.)
Enjoy this video from Dr. Sarah Hallberg who explains this concept nicely… HERE.
How About Grains?
What are grains? Predominantly, it is foods made with wheat, oats (and other grains), rice and corn. So this includes ALL products made with flour (including wheat and white), such as bread and pasta, plus oats and oatmeal, corn and corn products, including grits, as well as rice (brown or white).
For the same reasons above, if you are overweight or pre-diabetic/diabetic, GRAINS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND! PARTICULARLY gluten containing grains. Gluten is a HIGHLY inflammatory substance and can trigger a host of inflammatory responses, including autoimmune diseases. Most grains are higher on the glycemic index than table sugar itself, meaning, most grain products will raise your blood sugar higher than SUGAR.
Corn is the largest genetically modified food crop. Genetically modified foods have also been linked to a host of inflammatory responses.
For your health, please consider total grain elimination (for all diet types). I recommend continuing total grain elimination even when weight loss goals are achieved. Grains are not a nutritional need.
This book can help you see the importance of taking this important step for your health HERE
The follow up book about healing after grain removal is HERE
How About Starches?
What are starches? Starches are typically vegetables that grow below ground, like potatoes and root vegetables. While there are excellent nutrients in starches, for the same reasons as above, if you are overweight or pre-diabetic/diabetic, starches are NOT your friend (with the exception of resistant starches, which I will discuss in another article.)
Use extreme caution with starches. Now, if you have achieved a healthy weight and are not pre-diabetic/diabetic, (or if you are on a plant based diet) and can tolerate small amounts of quality starches without weight gain or significant blood glucose spikes, then proceed with caution by consuming small, infrequent portions*. (Choosing foods in this category that are higher in resistant starch would be best.) (*This applies to those on a moderate low carb or plant based diet. Those on a ketogenic diet will want to avoid starches.)
How About Legumes?
What are legumes? Legumes include foods like beans, peas, and lentils. While there are excellent nutrients in legumes, as well as some protein (and some resistant starches), for the same reasons as above, if you are overweight or pre-diabetic/diabetic, legumes are NOT your friend. Legumes are very hard on the digestive system and contain some anti-nutrients. Some of these digestive issues can be alleviated with proper preparation. However, the high carbohydrate content in these foods make legumes a less than ideal food choice.
Use extreme caution with legumes.* Now, if you have achieved a healthy weight and are not pre-diabetic/diabetic, (or if you are in a plant based diet) and can tolerate small amounts of properly prepared quality legumes without weight gain, significant blood glucose spikes, or digestive problems, then proceed with caution by consuming small, infrequent portions*. (Choosing foods in this category that are higher in resistant starch would be best.) (*This applies to those on a moderate low carb or plant based diet. Those on a paleo or ketogenic diet will want to avoid legumes.)
*Peanuts are technically not a nut, but a legume. Digestive issues are not typically seen with eating peanuts, nor are peanuts high in carbohydrates as other legumes are. Some find peanuts to be an appropriate part of their whole food diet. Others choose to limit or avoid them.
Remember, the KEY to long term health and avoidance of chronic disease, is control of blood glucose. There is an abundance of nutritious, delicious food choices that can allow you to minimize blood sugar. Your nutritional needs can be completely met by eliminating any or all of these foods from your diet.
CARBOHYDRATE SENSITIVITY QUIZ HERE
Here is a graphic illustration of the equivalent amount of sugar in these popular foods.
Image courtesy of Dr. Gary Fettke (www.nofructose.com)
Sugar – The #1 Driver of Diabetes and Obesity
When going through training as a diabetes educator, I was given educational materials to cover while teaching a class. Among those teaching materials were flash cards with true and false questions that were supposed to be asked of the students, along with the answers. One of the questions was “Is sugar the cause of Type 2 diabetes?” The answer on the card was “False.” It further stated that this is a “myth” and that “calories from sugar can be substituted equally for other carbohydrates as part of a healthy balanced diet for diabetes.” In other words, you can skip the broccoli or salad for a calorically-equal portion of cake. Really? (Interesting to note, the cards were made by a pharmaceutical company.)
The fact is, sugar is the primary driver of both Type 2 diabetes AND obesity. A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic, linked sugars and fructose (such as found in high fructose corn syrup) to worsening insulin resistance and worsening glucose tolerance, two of the primary factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes. (Read the full article HERE. For a complete discussion of insulin resistance, read HERE). It has been thought that obesity itself was a primary factor in causing Type 2. I have come to believe differently. I believe the obesity is only a symptom, or evidence, of the underlying insulin resistance, not the cause.
And this doesn’t mean that sugar is the only culprit. This also includes all of those foods that quickly turn into sugar, such as refined grains like bread and pasta, (Read the full article HERE) as well as starches.
The American Heart Association is now recommending absolutely NO added sugar for children under the age of 2 years, no more than 3 tsp (or 12g) of sugar per day for children over the age of 2, no more than 6 tsp (or 24g) of sugar a day for women 9 tsp (or 36g) for men. The World Health Organization has proposed that added sugar make up no more than 5% of person’s daily calories. In a 2,000 calorie diet, this equals no more than 100 calories, or 25g of sugar. (For a reference, there is about 65g of sugar in a regular bottle of soda.)
Where else is sugar hiding? In your “healthy” whole grain bread. In your “lite” salad dressing. In your “low fat” wheat crackers. In your ketchup or spaghetti sauce. In your peanut butter. In your sausage. In your canned soup. In practically EVERY boxed, bagged, bottled or manufactured food on the shelf. In a million places where there is no earthly reason for added sugar. Even those that feel they have a healthy diet, without candy, sweets, and sodas, most likely are consuming more than 24-36g of added sugar if eating food not found in nature.
How much sugar do I think is healthy each day? None. Does that mean I never eat sugar. For the most part. Once in a while, I do enjoy a square or two of very dark chocolate. If I occasionally eat out, I might end up consuming a small amount of sugar in things like condiments or dressings. But for the most part, I prefer to get my “sugars” from natural foods. I think that added, refined sugar has no place in the daily diet. I don’t agree with the 24-36g rule. I believe that sugar should be reserved for special occasions or as an occasional treat. I think that if individuals must consume some processed foods, it is advisable to read nutrition labels, scrutinize the amount of sugar in the foods and conscientiously try to avoid it or keep it to an absolute minimum. Currently, Americans eat approximately 150-170 lbs of refined sugar per year. This doesn’t even count the food quickly converted to sugar, like poor quality refined grains, nor does it count the natural sugars and starches consumed.
So do I believe that sugar causes diabetes? There is no doubt in my mind that it is the #1 driver of the factors that lead directly to Type 2. Just 30 years ago, the number of Type 2 children in the United States was ZERO. Today? Over 60,000. In the United States, we now have TODDLERS being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. And 52% of our adult population is currently now diabetic or pre-diabetic (in other words, 52% are diabetic, as pre-diabetes IS diabetes.) This is no coincidence.
Video: “Sugar and Starch” HERE
Video: “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” HERE
Video: “Fructose 2.0” HERE
Video: “The Secrets of Sugar” HERE
Video: “Toxic Sugar” HERE
Video: “Do Carbs Cause Alzheimers?” HERE
Video: “Lose The Wheat; Lose the Weight” HERE
Video: “Wheat Free Guide To Transform Your Health” HERE
Video: “How Does Sugar Affect the Brain?” HERE
“30 Reasons Why Sugar is Bad For Us” HERE
“Why Grains Are Killing You” HERE
“Carbs More Harmful Than Saturated Fats” HERE
“Sorry, But There is No Such Thing As Healthy Sugar” HERE
“Seven Reasons To Stop Eating Bread” HERE
“10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar is Bad” HERE
“Is Sugar Really Toxic” HERE
“How To Detox From Sugar” HERE
“Don’t Fall For Gluten Free Foods Made With Junk Carbs” HERE
Please enjoy a collection of more of my favorite health and nutrition articles and videos about sugar, starches and grains HERE
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