Today we chatted about:
- The Danger of Sugar
- What to look out for on labels
- How much should we be eating
- Hidden Sugar
- What Kind of Treats can you eat
- How to reduce sugar consumption
- I answered some listners questions
Read the interview here or listen by clicking the play button below
Gerry Kelly LMFM 0:01
It's the third of a four-part series on weight loss with Dundalk Nutritionist Rachel Graham, who I'm delighted to welcome back to the show. Good to see you again, Rachel.
Rachel Graham 0:10
Thank you, Gerry. I'm delighted to be back again.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 0:11
And thanks so much for your input to The Late Lunch over the last couple of weeks this week again, and please God next week too. Now, today is one I have been looking forward to for a long time. And it may seem strange that they say that because we all love sweet things and little treats and sugary things. But today, it's all about sugar. It's probably irrefutable now, isn't it? That sugar is linked to a lot of nasty ailments for us?
Rachel Graham 0:39
Yes, chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease that would be elevated blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, it's the biggest driver of those two conditions, also blood glucose management. So pre diabetes, type two diabetes, obesity and weight management. It's at the root cause of that.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 1:02
Now, traditionally, when I was growing up sugar was in a bag by itself and you added a couple of spoons to your tea and put it over your cornflakes, or on butter and bread if you had damn all else to eat!
Yes, but my world, and everybody's world has changed dramatically with this because sugar is right through the food chain.
Rachel Graham 1:22
Exactly and when we think of sugar, we automatically think of that sugar in the Sugar Bowl, and that's called sucrose. But that's just one type of sugar. And there's so many different types of sugar out there. In fact, most sugars on labels will end in OSC. So when you're looking at a food label, you can recognise them by things like fructose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, maltose, all of those O's endings. So that's my first kind of tip when you're starting to read the labels, okay?
But sugar comes in many different forms. So you've got it in liquid forms. You've got sugar alcohols, you've got artificial sweeteners, there's so many different types of sugar, and I think most People are probably aware of sugar in obvious sources, things like chocolates and biscuits and cakes, and even fizzy drinks. But what I want to make people more aware of today is the hidden sugar, which is in foods where you don't expect it to be contained in and that would be mostly savoury foods. So things like mayonnaise, and ketchup, and even crisps and bread.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 2:25
So sugar is there in those foods and a lot of those foods are on everybody's table most days of the week as well, but just come back to that. Oh, so ...ose. When you see that word on a label? Yeah, that is the sugar element of that particular food.
Rachel Graham 2:41
Gerry Kelly LMFM 2:41
And again, you know, I always watch for saturated fats but this old ticker of mine and try to be on the low side with foods. It should be looking for the same on a lable - as low as possible.
Rachel Graham 2:52
Yeah, so I think the first thing that you should look at on a label of a food is the portion size because a lot of the time when they're listing The nutritional content, they're actually putting it for a portion size will buy 30 grammes because most most serving sizes are at least 100 rooms. So when they're listing the sugar content of that it's only equates to a 30-gramme portion. So I'm talking about cereals, which will be one of the biggest offenders, you know, and even things like flavoured oatmeal as well, that would be very high in sugar. So just look at the portion size 30 grammes is nothing. It's literally two tablespoons, and you're going to have a lot more than that as a serving size of cereal.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 3:32
How does the rule of thumb work - how much sugar in excess to what we should be taking each day are we all consuming?
Rachel Graham 3:41
Okay, so the World Health Organisation recommends about six teaspoons of sugar a day. Okay. So, if you think about the average teenager is having a can of fizzy drink every day plus a lot of other sources of hidden sugar, they're already over their limit of sugar with just one kind of fizzy drinks.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 4:01
So one can will knock you over what's recommend
Rachel Graham 4:04
Thats what's recommended by the World Health Organisation? yes
Gerry Kelly LMFM 4:06
Where do you stand on the diet drinks? The no sugar, sugar.
Rachel Graham 4:11
Okay, so the artificial sweeteners are contained in all of the diet drinks and the things with artificial sweetener is that they actually, yes, they have no calories, okay, but they actually confuse your body because your body is expecting calories with that sweet taste. And by the way, artificial sweeteners are by 300 times sweeter than sugar. So that combination of no calories and a sweet taste confuses your body, which makes it think okay, I'm going to send you off in search of calories now, which increases your appetite and actually causes you to gain weight.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 4:43
And what about for people who have given up sugar in their tea or in the coffees and pop these little, you know, sweeteners into them not about those?
Rachel Graham 4:50
That's exactly what I'm talking about the same? Yeah, stevia all those artificial sweeteners are just going to cause weight gain because they're going to increase your appetite and also artificial sweeteners generally are sugar alcohols which actually cause diarrhoea and all sorts of gastric symptoms unpleasant gastric symptoms.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 5:09
Isn't that interesting to just let that into our thoughts for a moment and think about that the drinks and all those artificial as well you know when you see in yoghurt this another thing from a zero percent fat in yoghurt and everyone goes wow we'll have those yeah is it compensated on the other side
Rachel Graham 5:25
Of course it is, by removing fats they've immediately taken out a huge texture aspect of the product so they have to somehow replace that, so what they do is they add in a lot more sugar and they advertise on the label - Sugar free, but it's actually stuffed probably full of artificial sweeteners.
Rachel Graham 7:25
Well the least processed that you can guess I would say is the best I'm not an expert on beer so I can't really comment
Gerry Kelly LMFM 7:34
Somebody's saying there did Rachel say about the zero drinks in cans?
Rachel Graham 7:41
Yeah, it's not it's not it's not just the artificial sweeteners. It's the chemicals the toxins that are added to those drinks, you know, the flavour enhancers, the colorings, it's just a chemical storm.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 7:56
All those that come to mind sauces, you know, these ready made sauces you can put water into them whip them up or milk into them and things like that - a possibility of sugars in there?
Rachel Graham 8:05
Absolutely there's that's exactly what I'm talking about, those tomato sauces in jars. Some of those companies have come out and said that they do not recommend that you eat our product every single day!
Gerry Kelly LMFM 8:19
Spreads, low fat spreads?
Rachel Graham 8:21
Yeah because that is hydrogenated fats that I was talking about last year as well and so those are very, very damaging because they've been D natured, through high heat or high pressure or both. And that's also not good and they will also have, sugar added to them in some cases, not all but you just really need to read your labels.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 8:39
You touched on it a moment ago. It's a big thing for parents with children at morning time getting something into them before they go to college. Last week I was doing the eggs, the avocados, things like that. But I'm serious. I was in the supermarket again thinking about you coming down and looking at all these lines of a sugar coated cereals , chocolate coated.... I take it that they should be avoided??
Rachel Graham 9:02
It's terrible. I think it's very hard for parents to say no to a child that is crying looking for one of these cereals or one of these yoghurt pots or something like that that's been endorsed by their favourite cartoon character for example, I really think that supermarkets have a responsibility to actually you know, and reduce the amount of offers that they have two for one you know, buy one get one free. I was horrified at Christmas I'm to walk around the guys and see these boxes of quality street and things like that piles like waist height for four euros and people going out with armfuls, not realising that this is not a gift for somebody, you're not really doing them a favour by giving them that!
Gerry Kelly LMFM 9:41
Have we been creating an addiction for children?
Rachel Graham 9:45
I think so. You know this because food manufacturers are very aware of the addictive nature of sugar, because the more we consume it, the more we crave it and therefore the more we buy us, and they're very aware of that So I really think the only option is to choose Whole Foods and to look at better sugar alternatives
Gerry Kelly LMFM 10:07
So we can eat and live well and be satisfied and not become addicted it's possible and really easy when you get in on the on the routine of it.
Rachel Graham 10:17
Well I think, initially weaning yourself off sugar is quite difficult depending on your sugar addiction or dependency. If it's really bad, then yes, it's going to take a couple of weeks and it could be difficult for you could get some withdrawal headaches and a lot of other unpleasant symptoms. But once you do that, because as long as you are consuming sugar, you're literally on a hamster wheel and you can't get off it. So you really need to cut it as
Gerry Kelly LMFM 10:42
I'm sure people are thinking very my word. What are we going to do when we go shopping this weekend? What are we going to do in our homes for our families? Yeah, this sounds like we're being bombarded with sugar left, right and centre
Rachel Graham 10:52
Pretty much we are Yeah, because it's cheap. It tastes good, and it's addictive. And as I said the food manufacturers know that so they're adding it into their products and you see how cheap the processed high sugar foods are they are really really cheap and therefore it's kind of nearly irresistible for people
Gerry Kelly LMFM 11:12
okay so here we go all you want from tomorrow to reduce my sugar intake first of all I have to say it it's probably nearly impossible to kick it all at once How should I go about it?
Rachel Graham 11:25
Well I think take it in stages first of all because depending on your sugar dependency, as in maybe you might be consuming a lot of sugary drinks, a lot of sports drinks, maybe a lot of you know sweets, jellies, things like that. So you need to take it slowly. First thing I would say is to maybe stop adding sugar to your tea and coffee to hot drinks
Gerry Kelly LMFM 11:47
Did that years ago thank God!! I just did it like that cold turkey and I've never got back I couldn't actually when you go over I'm going to tell people this You nearly get sick if you tasted sugar in coffee or tea now
Rachel Graham 11:59
Because You can train your polish to become used to that. And actually when you go back and try something that you might have enjoyed previously, it tastes unbelievably sweet. It is so so sweet. So it just shows you... but you see you become used to that.
And this is one of the other points that I wanted to talk to you about Gerry was that just how sugar affects your brain because it actually alters your reward pathways because sugar kind of gives you like a dopamine hit you get this sugar high when you consume sugar and that alters your your reward pathways so it actually causes you to crave and eat more and more sugar in order to get the same high. So over time what happens is that you get this progressively worsening addiction to these low nutrient foods like sugar, fat and salt.
So it's really really important that you just start slowly but surely removing the points of sugar in your life. So I mentioned there initially the hot drinks, then go with the likes of Any of the savoury foods that you're consuming that you know would have, I've just told you have sugar in like mayonnaise, ketchup, the bottle sauces, things like that the crisps, the certain breads and just remove those and then look at your actual sugary treats that you might consume and think, Okay, what can I do here?
So you might be saying, Okay, my yoghurt is fine, then you look at the label, you go my god, it's full of sugar. And the same with maybe like protein bars and things like that. So all of these sources need to be removed one by one by one. And as you start to do that, and you replace them with naturally occurring sugars and fruits and vegetables and grains, then you're training your polish, and it's becoming more used to less sugary foods. And then you can actually include better sources of natural sugars, which are things like local honey that we've spoken about in the past, and also organic maple syrup, which would be another really good source of sugar.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 13:57
So it's okay to go with those but all those things You mentioned there it's a gradual process as you say one by one saying say you take a week to do one or two weeks gradually removing all of this and getting to a point. Those natural sugarsare they good for you? - now all natural sugars...
Rachel Graham 14:14
So in the likes of the maple syrup do you mean?
Gerry Kelly LMFM 14:16
You know in fruit??
Rachel Graham 14:20
Yes because they contain fibres so some people say oh not eating fruit because it's so high in sugar but that is nonsense because it contains so many beneficial nutrients and minerals as well as the fibre which is so important for you and that slows the digestion and the absorption of the sugar into your system.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 14:38
So I work at this and bit by bit I reduce a better quality bread bake your own aswell of Yes. You know, drink lots of water. I'm tying together other aspects. Yeah, of what you mentioned to us in previous weeks. But you know, when you have the cravings, how do you deal with the cravings?
Rachel Graham 14:58
You can make certain better choices. This is how I would describe it. So I understand that there is, you know, from time to time you want to have a nice sweet treat, so just use a better source of sweetener. So I use organic maple syrup, because it has antiviral and anti microbial properties similar to honey, but actually it has about 15 times more calcium than honey. And it also is very high in antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties. So it's really, really good. It's a really good sweetener of choice to use for anybody who might have any kind of gastric issues, maybe like IBS or something like that because it won't cause any adverse symptoms. It's just a really great way of sweetening granolas or in desserts or things like that.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 15:44
You've brought little treats for myself and Louise which we're going to enjoy after the show, your almond butter on apple slices we have we got? goji berries on the top there?
Rachel Graham 15:53
Yeah, so I call them my apple donuts so I basically cored an apple so you got that hole in the centre. Yeah, looks like a donut and then I've just spread my own homemade almond butter on it now you can buy really good almond butter which is fine as well. And then I've just sprinkled some desiccated coconut which is adding good essential fats and the goji berries are very high in antioxidants. So that's just a lovely treat. It looks really pretty as well. It's very transportable, and that is a very satiating treat for you. And it will also keep your blood sugar's balanced so you're not getting those cravings.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 16:23
I recently got almond butter theres crunchy and the smooth, I went for the smooth dosent matter one way or another?
Rachel Graham 16:30
I personally like the smooth as well. So yeah, I would choose that one and then the other thing that I have here is my homemade granola which I gave the recipe for. This is sweetened with maple syrup and also with cinnamon. So remember talking about Cinnamon Yeah, cinnamon is a natural blood sugar balancer. So it's really really beneficial for controlling those cravings as well.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 16:53
So could sprinkle that over the apple?
Rachel Graham 16:55
you could! exactly all
Gerry Kelly LMFM 16:57
over my porridge in the morning. Yes. lovely and, that'd be okay?
Rachel Graham 17:01
That would be lovely because you're adding in some good seeds there, nuts and seeds, and you've got the Cinnamon in there. So it's actually quite a lot of Cinnamon in that. And you could also serve it with a nice probiotic live yoghurt and have some blueberries with it. So it's a great snack option. It's a great breakfast option. So this is what I mean it's not all doom and gloom with me that I'm saying like you can't have anything sweet. I'm just saying remove the bad stuff that is not adding at giving you any nutritional benefits whatsoever, and add in some more beneficial options to your diet.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 17:31
Hi, Gerry. I have high blood pressure. My cholesterol is over six. I have a sweet tooth and keep myself active. Any tips from Rachel as to how I could lower my cholesterol I drink a benecol every day.
Rachel Graham 17:44
Oh, okay. Benecol is known for having very very high sugar. So a lot of those little kind of yoghurt drinks panicle Yeah, cold they have sometimes over 12 grammes of sugar in them. So really not good. I would say switch it out for an Natural probiotic yoghurt, add in the blueberries which are very hard healthy as well high in fibre and switch out all of your refined white carbohydrates which would be white flour, white rice, white pasta, white noodles for the whole wheat version, because basically all of those white refined carbs will convert very quickly to sugar. And as I said at the beginning of this segment that that is a major driver of cardiovascular disease.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 18:22
That's an interesting one.
Gerry, can you ask Greg Rachel her opinion on sugar free chewing gum?
Rachel Graham 18:29
Well, it's containing probably sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol which I was talking about before. And chewing gum can also create a lot of wind and which is mostly unwanted. And then I think those just those sweeteners aren't really any good for you because they confuse your body as I was saying, you know and and actually can increase your appetite and cause you to gain weight as a result.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 18:54
When I make this transition ultimately Am I allowed a little treat at all each day or?
Rachel Graham 19:01
Yeah, for sure. I think again it's about introducing, things like dark chocolate would be really good because it's very low in sugar in comparison to milk chocolate or even white chocolate being the worst offender it's the highest and sugar. And but dark chocolate is really really good. Where
Gerry Kelly LMFM 19:16
The Milky bar kid!! Yeah. One of my childhood memories there Yeah. And we thought we were great and all who are doing was eating loads of suger!! Anyway, so dark chocolate, what else for treats
Rachel Graham 19:29
Medjool dates are fantastic. Have you ever heard of Medjool dates, so they're larger dates, they're much softer, they contain the stone you can buy them in a good green grocer. And you could actually cut them open or just price them open and put a spoon of almond butter into them. You're basically making homemade Twix there!
Gerry Kelly LMFM 19:49
God now there's one for us this afternoon to do. You're saying there you can still have a treat as well.
Rachel Graham 19:55
Yeah. So there's lots of other things. I mean using things like apples and carrots and raisins and the you know nice dried fruits and things like that in your baking and cooking is a great way and if you're going to make let's say an apple pie choose nice eating apples like pink ladies or coxes pippins or something like that, that you don't have to add in sugars you know and then just using things like granola to top the apples to make a really nice crumble you know instead of using the flour and the butter and the sugar which would be the classic way so there's ways around all of this that you can still enjoy delicious food but their whole foods and they have more benefits to them.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 20:37
I'm just thinking I love a tart, apple tart with it with a very thin pastry but a little cream on it then you know fresh cream a little bit gives you the Yinag and the Yang - you have me going here!!
Ultimately, when you do this, what difference will it make to me or to anybody who starts to remove the sugar and to do this right.
Rachel Graham 20:59
Okay, well, it's sugar's a known stimulant. So, when you're constantly trying to stimulate your body in order to be able to carry out everyday tasks, it's very damaging over time to your health. I just mentioned there previously what it does to your brain. But you what you will notice is that your blood because your blood sugars are now balanced with Whole Foods, and you're not having these peaks and troughs with energy levels, so you're just going to feel more energised, you're going to notice that your concentration improves that your memory improves as well. And because you'll be drinking more water also. So you're just overall energy levels and feeling satisfied, you're not going to have weight gain either, because sugar is a massive driver of that. So you know, there's huge benefits. Sorry, one more thing that I just mentioned, it's sugar is also very ageing on ours cells. So as women, you know, we're very conscious of our appearance and we want to look good, and it's just so ageing on your skin. It's unbelievable. So once you start cutting out sugar, you'll notice a massive improvement in your skin.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 21:59
I'm just thinking there. You know, you talk about you mentioned the mayonnaise and the sauce and that aswell been the process to tins of beans and peas and everything else besides Yeah, you know, you're better nearly gone to the frozen cabinet, the frozen peas and getting those yes there and yeah,
Rachel Graham 22:13
lovely garden please. Yeah, and the frozen berries and all of those things. I mean, I'm a big user of frozen beans and peas and things like that myself, you know, so, and you don't need to buy beans at all, you know, you can actually make your own, again with the tomato sauce that I was talking about, you know, and you can meal prep is a huge part of this being prepared.
Gerry Kelly LMFM 22:36
We're we're doing our best to prepare you all each week with Rachel Graham during January. Check her out Rachel Graham nutrition and her contact number... I'll give it to you again as always 0872197968 available here from the main LMFM number