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With the festive season just weeks away, there is no better time than now to boost your health IQ. This month, read all about:
- Sugar and why it’s not so sweet after all
- Scrumptious low-GI eating for the festive season
- The benefits of health-boosting barley
- Passionfruit and why it’s so good
- Our upcoming virtual supermarket tour
- A free e-recipe book
- Who should drink sports drinks?
- A new way to enjoy your veggies (with a twist!)
Sugar, Not So Sweet After All…?
With so many sweet temptations around at Christmas time, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in helping you make the best decisions for your diet. However, those with a sweet tooth be warned: the following article contains material that may influence your love of sugary treats!
It has long been viewed that fat is the enemy when trying to lose weight but in recent years the spotlight has shifted over to the dangers of sugar. But is it really as bad as they say and how can you avoid eating too much of the sweet stuff?
Good vs. bad
Like most things in life, this sugar issue is not so black and white. All sugars are carbohydrates, some of which provide you with vital energy and nutrition, and others which could be damaging your health.
The good kind of sugar (with a low glycaemic index) can be found in wholegrain foods. Think wholegrain breads, high-fibre cereals, legumes and grains, such as barley, quinoa and brown rice. These provide you with long lasting energy, fibre to keep our gut happy as well as various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for fighting chronic disease. On the other hand, the bad sugar (high glycaemic index) is the refined stuff usually added to artificially produced food for flavour. Biscuits, cakes, lollies, soft drinks, fruit juices are all common culprits. But sugar even hides in savoury foods, like hamburger buns and some potato chips. It’s this refined sugar that tends to increase your waistline, tease your sweet cravings and leave you feeling burnt out by 3pm.
For the remainder of this article, when referring to sugar we are referencing “added sugars” or refined sugar.
Caution: sugar overload
Too much of any one food is not a positive thing for your health. But in the case of sugary foods, the health risks can be alarming.
Australia’s Dietary Guidelines have always recommended limiting refined sugar and research continues to support this. Sugar has no nutritional value and simply adds “empty” kilojoules to your diet. The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugar to less than 10% of overall energy intake for the prevention of obesity, chronic disease and dental caries. Based on the average daily intake for Australian adults (8,700kj as listed on our food labels), this equates to about 51 g of sugar per day or about 10 teaspoons. To put that in perspective, just one can of soft drink contains a whopping 40 g of sugar. This is almost a whole day’s intake allowance blown on the one beverage!
A sugar by any other name…
While it is easy to avoid the visible white crystals of sugar, it is harder to detect the sugar lurking in unsuspecting foods. In fact, on our food labels sugar can hide behind over 40 different names. Some include brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, demerara, agave nectar, barley malt, dextrose, rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, golden syrup, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrates and honey, just to name a few.
That Sugar App
The newest way to track your sugar intake is using a nifty application developed by the producers of the popular documentary That Sugar Film in partnership with The George Institute of Global Health.
The app uses data from The George Institute’s database of nutritional information and covers about 90% of products from Australian supermarket shelves. For those familiar with the popular FoodSwitch app, That Sugar App draws on the same database (NUTTAB 2010 published by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand [FSANZ]) and works in a similar fashion. Just scan the barcode with your smartphone to check how much sugar the product contains. You can even set yourself sugar challenges to help keep you motivated to watch your sugar intake.
What we like about the app is its focus on added sugars. The app only includes pre-packaged fruit and vegetable products and does not promote restrictions of natural fruit sugar. It also does not count lactose (the natural sugar found in milk and dairy).
When it comes to the debate on sugar, we recommend keeping sugary foods as occasional foods. Not to be indulged every day, but to be enjoyed as a sweet treat every now and then. It is also advised to maintain good dental hygiene, especially after consuming sugary foods and drinks to prevent tooth decay.
Why not take That Sugar Challenge today?
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
What’s Cooking? – Scrumptious Low-GI Dishes for the Festive Season
Christmas is just around the corner! But how will your waistline and blood sugars cope? Will you gain more body fat?
Come along to our highly popular low-GI festive cookshop and learn to make delicious party food that will also support your health journey. Keep your sugar and insulin readings under control during the tricky season!
Whether you’re planning a BBQ or a dinner party, we will show you easy ways to impress your guests while keeping your health goals on track. From easy dips and exotic ways to dress up bread through to healthy Christmas cake, you will taste your way from entrée to dessert and go home inspired! This will be an evening to remember!
Don’t forget to invite your best friend along.
Join us on Tuesday the 8th December 6:30 – 8:30 pm and find out how to make your Christmas and New Year both fun and healthy!
Learn more about our cookshops
Call NOW on (02) 9899 5208 to reserve your place. Act fast as more than half of the seats are already booked. This is one of our most popular events!
Food Matters with Sue Radd – Barley Benefits Health
With the power to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugars and increase your feeling of fullness, barley is fast becoming a grain worth getting to know better. Here, Sue explains more…
What’s Fresh? – Passionfruit
If there is one thing we associate with an Australian summer, it’s Pavlova. And what Pavlova is not complete without a drizzle of deliciously sweet passionfruit? Okay, so Pavlova is not an “everyday food” but our passionfruit sure is.
Passionfruit is native to South America and thrives in warmer climates. So as the weather heats up this summer, and the fruit starts rolling out, why not pick yourself up some passionfruit? The nutritional benefits are impressive!
With a high dose of vitamin C, you will be helping to fight off inflammation and maintain a healthy immune system. Those little black seeds add more than just crunch; they provide a good source of fibre to assist with bowel regularity and cholesterol management.
You can tell if a passionfruit is ripe by its skin. The more wrinkled, the riper the fruit will be. To make the most of your passionfruit, store in the fridge and eat within seven days.
5 ways to spark your passion for passionfruit:
- Swirl some passionfruit through natural yoghurt for some sweetness without the sugar.
- Although normally used in sweet dishes, passionfruit can perfectly balance out savoury meals as well. Try a Thai-inspired passionfruit dressing by whisking with kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce and ginger.
- Bake some passionfruit into fruit muffins for a tropical twist.
- Drizzle over the top of some delicious chia seed pudding.
- Create a passionfruit butter or passionfruit curd which can make the perfect condiment for banana bread or wholemeal scones.
Virtual Supermarket Tour – Understand Food Labels Better, Lose More Weight & Improve Your Health
Are you spending hours in the supermarket comparing products? Need to hone your skills in reading tricky food labels? Or simply discover better brands for your family?
Uncover the sneaky foods that might be sabotaging your health. Find out how you can easily improve your health by simply restocking your pantry with whole foods.
In this unique two-hour small-group event you can practise reading many food labels under the guiding eye of our friendly dietitian. And all from the comfort of your chair while we take you down the aisles with the aid of a big screen.
Plus, you get to take home our clever Wallet Shopping Guide and List of Best Food Brands. People just love these tips!
When: Wednesday 25th November 2015, 6.30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic, Castle Hill (Sydney)
Take the first step today towards a healthier you. Phone us on (02) 9899 5208 to book yourself in.
What’s New? – The Thrifty Cook Recipe Book
To celebrate World Food Day 2015, the Dietitians Association of Australia put out a call to its foodie members to submit budget-friendly recipe ideas. The end result is the ‘The Thrifty Cook’ recipe book, featuring on the cover Sue Radd’s recipe for Tangy Lentil Soup with Silverbeet and Zucchini. All recipes were calculated at less than $5 per serve! Download your free copy of ‘The Thrifty Cook’ today.
Food InFocus – Who Should Drink Sports Drinks?
Guzzling a sports drink after working out could be doing you more harm than good. In this short video, Sue Radd lifts the lid on this not-so-healthy fitness fad.
Kitchen Tips – Veggie Spiralizer
Do you struggle to eat vegetables? Are you a noodle or pasta lover? Trying to limit carbs? Or thinking of going raw?
Then a veggie spiralizer might just be the gadget for you!
What is it?
This little Japanese invention involves various razor sharp blades that create ribbons of vegetables (or fruit). They are quite popular these days and are a handy device to keep in your kitchen. There are a few different types to consider before making a purchase.
- The handheld spiralizer – This is the cheapest option and works similarly to a pencil sharpener. It requires the most work and yields a smaller quantity as it can only spiralize veggies with a smaller diameter.
- The horizontal spiralizer – This one can spiral veggies with a much larger diameter. Usually this type involves holding the vegetable in place and churning a handle while the vegetable is pushed towards the blade. This tends to cut a core from the vegetable, which is a bit wasteful.
- The vertical spiralizer – The vegetable sits on top of the blade and is pushed down with natural force as spoodles of noodles fall from the bottom. This type does spiralize smaller diameter vegetables than the horizontal, which does limit your choice of noodle.
Where do I get one?
Spiralizers are available online or from specialty kitchenware stores. Prices generally range from about $20 -$50. We like the Spirooli, a horizontal spiralizer. It is easy to use and caters for a variety of different vegetables. Whether its zucchini, carrots, celeriac, potato, onion or beetroot – you will have oodles of fun! A great job to get the kids to help with in the kitchen (just watch the blades!). The Spirooli also has multiple blades and allows you to create shoestring noodles, large noodles or flat ribbons.
How do I use it?
The options are endless. But here are some fun ideas for spiralizing:
- Zoodles (zucchini noodles). Spiral a zucchini and replace the pasta in your spag bol for a lower carb alternative that’s also gluten free.
- Sweet potato and pumpkin “rice”. Spiral some of your favourite root vegetables and then pulse in a food processor for a raw version of rice.
- Cucumber ribbons. Jazz up your lunchtime salad with some cucumber curls. Your meals will look as fancy as a dish on Masterchef.
- Carrot shoestring noodles. Another fancy salad technique but also a faster and easier way the grate carrot.
It has been brought to our attention that an error was published in last month’s newsletter. The article reviewing SkinnyBik cookies included a statement that said the spelt cookies are gluten free. We would like to correct this claim by stating the spelt cookies are only low in FODMAP sugars and are NOT in fact gluten free. This particular flavour is not suitable for those with coeliac disease but may be tolerated by those with gluten intolerance. We apologise to any affected parties for the inconvenience caused.