Archive for the tag - carbohydrates

Is Raw Sugar Healthier?

Someone please tell him that there are better things to suck on.

Let’s be clear: Sugar is not healthy – and most of us eat way too much of it. When we compare raw sugar to regular, white table sugar, we’re really just examining the lesser of two evils.

In the refining process that creates white table sugar, minerals and vitamins are removed. These include Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. In addition, the refined sugar is treated with a number of chemicals and added ingredients to create the final product.

From an environmental standpoint, the less processing the better; it means less waste, less energy and fewer chemicals.

It’s also worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, brown sugar is not raw sugar. Brown sugar is refined white sugar with the added ingredient of molasses. Environmentally, it’s the least Earth-friendly.

Because of the nutrients, vitamins and smaller environmental impact, raw sugar is a slightly less detrimental choice – but it certainly doesn’t make raw sugar healthy. Regardless of the amount of processing, sugar isn’t a wise choice – and most of us have no need for the added sugar we consume. We get plenty of sugars through the fruits and vegetables we eat, and our bodies can create sugar from carbohydrates.

The bottom line: Rather than focusing on the type of sugar we consume, we should pay attention to the amount of sugar we consume.

Low-Carb Fruit List.

This day and age, carbohydrates get a bad rap. In reality, carbs are essential for mental and physical performance as the body uses these sugar molecules for fuel. Not consuming enough carbs can result in low energy levels or even, perhaps, even a state of ketosis.

Fruits contain not just carbohydrates – but also a whole slew of great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Because fruits are so nutrient-rich, it’s important to find ways to incorporate them into whatever crab-restrictive diet plan you may choose.

Just because you're on a carb-restrictive diet doesn't mean forgoing fruit. Use this list to incorporate lower-carb fruits into your diet.

To that end, the chart below sorts common fruits from low to high carb per serving. Use this chart as a general guide to make nourishing fruits a part of your balanced diet:

  • Date, 1 fresh: 2 carbs
  • Rhubarb, 1/2 cup: 3 carbs
  • Apricot: 4 carbs
  • Passion fruit: 4 carbs
  • Lychees, 1 oz: 5 carbs
  • Prune, 1 dried: 5 carbs
  • Strawberries, 1/2 cup: 5 carbs
  • Cranberries (raw) 6 carbs
  • Tomato: 6 carbs
  • Papaya, 1/2 cup: 7 carbs
  • Raspberry, 1/2 cup: 7 carbs
  • Blackberries, 1/2 cup: 9 carbs
  • Blackcurrants: 9 carbs
  • Grapes, 10 medium: 9 carbs
  • Plum: 9 carbs
  • Tangerine: 9 carbs
  • Blueberries, 1/2 cup: 10 carbs
  • Fig: 10 carbs
  • Guava: 10 carbs
  • Lime with peel: 10 carbs
  • Peach: 10 carbs
  • Pineapple, 1/2 cup: 10 carbs
  • Kiwi: 11 carbs
  • Avocado: 12 carbs
  • Cherries, 1/2 cup: 12 carbs
  • Grapefruit: 12 carbs
  • Lemon with peel: 12 carbs
  • Melon – honeydew, 1/10: 12 carbs
  • Nectarine: 16 carbs
  • Orange: 16 carbs
  • Apple: 21 carbs
  • Melon – cantaloupe, 1/2: 22 carbs
  • Pear: 25 carbs
  • Banana 27 carbs
  • Raisins 1/2 cup 29 carbs
  • Mango 35 carbs
  • Dates dried with sugar 62 carbs

6 Foods Secretly High in Sugar.

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy, but not all carbs are created equal. For a lot of people looking to release some extra weight or increase definition, reducing the intake of simple carbohydrates – like table sugar – is common practice.

Food products like candy, chocolate bars and soda are obviously loaded with sugar. But there are a number of unlikely foods that are shockingly high in sugar. Here are my top 6:

  1. Some dried fruit. Dried fruit sounds like a healthy and nutritious snack, right? It can be. Except that many dried fruits are loaded with added sugar to enhance the sweetness. It’s totally unnecessary. When buying dried fruits, read the ingredients carefully. If you see any other ingredients beyond the fruit (like corn syrup, etc.), then put it back!
  2. Fruity drinks. A Pina Colada, for example, has more calories than a Big Mac and as much as 60 grams of sugar. That’s a shockingly high number – and the equivalent of more than 70 Skittles!
  3. Barbeque sauce. It might be lip smacking delicious, but barbeque sauce is packed with sugar. Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce has 12 – 15 grams of sugar. And let’s be real, who uses just two tablespoons? And BBQ sauce isn’t alone – many sauces and glazes are secretly high in sugar, so pay extra attention to both the nutrition information and the listed serving size.
  4. Chocolate milk. Milk, which contains lactose, already has its fair share of sugar. But add in some chocolate syrup, and a sugar buzz is almost unavoidable. A single 16 ounce container of Nesquick Fat Free Milk has a mind-numbing 54 grams of sugar.
  5. Tomato Sauce. Believe it or not, one cup of tomato sauce has as much as SIX teaspoons of sugar! Pasta is high in carbs to begin with, but tomato sauce can be a real diet killer. 100 of the sauce’s calories come from pure sugar.
  6. Vitamin Water. Last but not least, most people think of Vitamin Water as a healthy alternative to soda. Not so fast. A single bottle (they claim a bottle is 2.5 servings) contains 32 grams of sugar. And really, not that many vitamins.

Not on the list but runners up: fruity yogurt, smoothies (many have added sugar and/or honey), granola bars, cereal and ketchup (yes, seriously).

The bottom line is that if sugars – or carbs in general – are of concern to you, it’s important to read the nutrition information carefully… even for those foods that are unlikely suspects.

How to Reduce Carbs.

Instead of sandwiching your meat between a bun, replace the bread with lettuce

I’m absolutely in love with this simple and easy trick to reduce carbohydrate intake.

To make a long story short, I spent the month leading up to the filming of my upcoming “Jock Workout” video series leaning down. To do that, I eliminated a good portion of the carbs – especially simple carbs like sugar, white breads, pasta, rice, etc. – from my diet. It wasn’t anything too dramatic.

But here’s the thing: I love burgers. And eating a burger without a bun is kinda like eating a hunk of meatloaf. It’s just not that exciting. And then my friend Matt told me to try lettuce wraps.

Instead of sandwiching your meat between a bun (pun intended), place it between two slices or two hunks of lettuce. It’s still totally satisfying – and it adds a nice little crunch. I absolutely love it. In fact, I just ate some lettuce wrap sliders for lunch (actual meal pictured above)!

Now that I’m done filming, I’m going to increase my carbohydrate intake. While eating fewer carbs did give my body more definition, I enjoy eating carbohydrates way too much. For me, it’s not worth the tradeoff. But my love for lettuce wraps is here to stay.

Give ’em a try – especially if you’re opting for a low-carb diet.

Avoid Fats After Your Workout.

Consuming protein and carbs after your workout is a good thing. Eating fat is not.

I love fats. Eating healthy and essential fats is an important part of any diet.

But there is one part of the day, in particular, where consuming these fats should be avoided. And that time of the day is just after your workout.

We know that it’s important to consume both protein and carbohydrates after you complete your workout. And it’s important to get them fast. In fact, the quicker the better. This is why whey protein isolate is so effective and why simple carbohydrates like dextrose are recommended – both get absorbed quickly.

Fat, on the other hand, tends to slow down the digestion process – which means that it takes more time for your body to get the proteins and carbs that it so badly needs. For this reason, most personal trainers and nutritionists will warn against consuming fat with your post-workout recovery shake or meal.

Bottom line: Essential fats are an important part of any diet – just avoid eating them after your workout.