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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 9:53 pm | A Few Clouds 57º

 
 
 
 
Nutrition

Julie Freeman: Enjoy the Sweetness In Life

As we face the holiday season with all of its confections and elaborate alcoholic beverages, we’re also faced with the reality of the increasing epidemic of diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

What do these all have in common? SUGAR!

I’ve been in the field of nutrition for long enough (almost 40 years!) to watch trends come and go, to view retrospective analyses and to see that, indeed, sugars and refined carbohydrates are responsible for this rise in the aforementioned health conditions.

Why is there so much sugar in our food supply? Economics by far plays the biggest role. Sugar is inexpensive, it tastes good (mother’s milk is high in sugar, thus as humans, we have an affinity for sweetness) and it is highly addictive, which keeps us coming back for more!

Sugar disrupts the gut microbiome, thus leading to many of the gastrointestinal disorders and liver diseases that our country faces as well.

How can you take control of the situation? Start by reading labels for sugar, fiber and carbs. Choose grain/carb foods with at least 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams or less of sugar and keep serving sizes to 1-2 portions per meal and ideally 1 portion per snack. That constitutes 15-30 grams total carb at a meal and about 15 grams at a snack.

As you embrace this holiday season, be aware of the hidden sugars and refined carbs in your appetizers, meals, snacks and, yes, those delicious cocktails. Look for sugar to be less than the fifth ingredient on the label as well.

On Nov. 1, Dr. George Lundberg, editor in chief of Medscape, wrote a wonderful article outlining the history of this looming epidemic: “Could It Be the Sugar?”

This holiday season, consider trying a few recipes from my cookbook, Feel Great, Look Great: Sweets n’ Treats, available on Amazon. Enjoy Mini Cheesecakes, a must-have for any social gathering!

Mini Cheesecakes

» 8 ounces vegan cream cheese (organic soy, coconut or almond)

» 1 egg

» ¼ cup Benefiber

» 2 packets Stevia

» 1 teaspoon vanilla

» 1½ cups frozen berries or cherries, thawed

» 1 tablespoon cornstarch

» 3 servings sweet potato chips, crushed

» 1 tablespoon walnut oil

» 1 teaspoon cinnamon

» 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Instructions

» Blend cream cheese, egg, fiber, vanilla and Stevia till creamy

» Over medium heat, mix frozen berries and cornstarch, heat and stir till thickened. Remove from heat

» Mix chips, cinnamon and oil together and line 12 two-inch baking cups, placed in muffin tin for shape

» Place 1½ tablespoon cream cheese mixture over chip crust and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes

» Spread about 2 teaspoons berry topping on each

» Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon chocolate chips

Julie Freeman, MA, RD, LD, RYT, is a licensed integrative nutritionist with advanced training in counseling and functional medicine. Her “toolbox” includes certifications in yoga, reiki, mind-body medicine, modeling and finishing for personal development, and she has written two cookbooks, Balanced Eating for a Balanced Life and Sweets n’ Treats. Click here to read previous columns, or contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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