Last week I discussed sugar, insulin, and how too much of the white stuff puts us into fat storage mode. Today I want to bring more awareness to the hidden sugar in our standard American diet. I know when I first examined what my normal routine was, I was so surprised. Take for example a typical breakfast: Cheerios, skim milk, banana and a glass of orange juice. The macro nutrient breakdown for this is 85 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat and 383 calories. If you just look at the calories, that is not a horrible amount, but that is 81% sugar. Compare that to some Skittles and a Root Beer Float: 81 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 378 calories – 81% sugar. Not much difference! If we start our day with this, our bodies are going to burn through this fuel quickly and cause an insulin spike, then crash. Our bodies will need some more fuel and that’s the mid-morning slump and snack. Then we eat lunch that has bread and chips and we repeat the process in the afternoon. Then comes supper where we have some meat and veggies and a good size helping of rice or pasta. When we look at how much our diet depends on the cereal, bread, chips, and pasta (all carbs), it is no surprise why it is so hard to lose weight even if we are working hard by exercising. We just can’t out exercise our fork.
So what are some alternatives? What if you want to reduce or eliminate the amount of carbs and thus reduce the insulin response? Let’s look at a quick and easy breakfast. 3 scrambled eggs with ½ ounce of cheese on top with a cup of blueberries and strawberries. This breaks down as 17 grams of carbs, 23 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 334 calories. That reduces the sugar percentage to 30%. You move on to lunch that is a beautiful salad with some protein on top, and dinner is some protein, veggies and instead of pasta you try some spaghetti squash. I won’t lie. It’s a change. It’s different. It takes learning some new recipes. Yet I, and many others, have found this way of eating has turned the switch to fat burning and building muscle. These nutrient dense foods will enable your body to do the workouts and then build the muscle as you recover. We want the reward for all that effort we are putting in at that exercise class!
P. S. Here are some quick alternatives for snacks: a small handful of dry-roasted nuts, beef jerky, olives, a few squares of dark chocolate (72% or higher), raw veggies, berries, or a hard-boiled egg.