The Truth About My Favorite Health Foods

Nutritious blueberry smoothie bowl with goji berries, almonds and chia seeds on a rustic old wood background

Media proclaimed and celebrity sponsored “health foods” are not always good for you. It’s important to understand the nutritional benefit of these health foods to ensure that you know exactly what you are putting into your body. “Always check the ingredients label for sugar and carbohydrate content”, says Kelly LeVeque of Be Well by Kelly. A peek at the sugar quantity is a dead giveaway; always aim for 5 grams or less. Sugar isn’t the whole story; subtract fiber from total carbohydrates (aka:net carb) to understand the effect this snack will have on your blood sugar, hormones, energy and cravings.

Kombucha

Kombucha, a fermented tea full of probiotic bacteria, has recently become very popular and available at most grocery stores in fun flavors like mango. However, many of us do not realize that on its own, kombucha is not a proper meal replacement or snack. Kombucha Tea is fermented by feeding the Scoby (or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) granulated sugar and then fermented a second time with fruit juice; the end product contains trace amount of alcohol, yeast and acetlyhyde. National Center for Biotechnical Information also found some teas tested positive for candida yeast and heavy metals like lead and fluoride.

If drinking kombucha leaves you feeling buzzed, anxious, or makes you crave carbohydrates 2-3 hours later, it’s not a great morning or midday option. Instead, choose to eat something with protein, fat and fiber like a hard-boiled egg, nuts or a #bewellsmoothie. If you are still craving this effervescent drink, enjoy it have it with your evening meal or when you are craving an adult beverage midweek.

Juice, Smoothies & Acai Bowls

If you are looking to grab a juice or smoothie out at local juice shop (think twice or better yet, build your own) chances are your store bough favorite is loaded with excessive sugars, both fructose and glucose. Fructose turns to fat faster than other forms of carbohydrate. When it’s metabolized in the liver, fructose converts to glycerol (a sugar alcohol) that’s directly used to turn free fatty acids into fat. Just like over the counter smoothies, most acai bowls contain over 2 cups of fruit and sugar-laden granola. This breakfast makes you vulnerable to a steep glucose spike that can induce a blood sugar roller-coaster throughout the day, leaving you hormonally hungry with increased cravings later. Wonder why some people think eating breakfast makes them hungrier and fatter than skipping it entirely? Sometimes it can! It’s all about what macronutrients you eat.

Granola

Whether its homemade or organic, granola is easily one of the toppings to avoid. More often than not, it is coated with agave or honey and mixed with dried fruit. Oat granola is an empty carbohydrate that will spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more sugar within a few hours. Kelly educates clients to keep meals to one serving of of carbohydrates, “I am a stickler for sugar, and all of my clients learn that blood sugar is compounding. If they want to stay in a balanced place without gaining weight or craving sugar they need to lose fast carbs and sugar.”

Added Sweeteners

Refined and processed sugar…limit it or avoid it. Agave, honey, and maple syrup are all common sweeteners found in smoothies, juices, marinades and dressings. If you’re craving sweet, add half a cup of fruit or a few drops of stevia to your smoothie and try to keep dressings and marinades sugar free. Another trick to aid your sweet tooth is to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to your smoothie; the medium chain triglycerides are easily absorbed by the body and are converted to energy without the blood sugar spike.

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