And I’ll Bet The Sweeps On That!

By Dr. Andrea Buckett

Q: What is the deal with high-fructose corn syrup? Some say it’s the worst type of sugar you can eat; others say it’s perfectly safe and natural. Ohon – Nairobi, Kenya

AB: The use of high-fructose corn sweeteners has increased more than 1,000 percent between the 1970s and today. The reason, it’s inexpensive and 20 times sweeter than plain old sugar. Ohon, you can find it in most fruit drinks, sport drinks and many processed foods such as canned fruit, jams, granola bars, etc… The issues with its use are extensive and go beyond the scope of this column. So here are three major arguments against eating it. The calories it contains are empty ones – it robs your body of precious nutrients simply by consuming it. It converts to fat more readily than any other sugar and significantly raises triglyceride levels. Finally, fructose can contribute to increased food intake and weight gain, due to the fact it does not stimulate insulin secretion (so your body thinks it needs more fuel – aka glucose) nor does it enhance leptin, one of the hormones involved in appetite regulation. Read your labels and steer clear of this one!

Q: What are the benefits of vitamin K and how can I get it into my diet? Stanislawa – Gdansk, Poland

AB: Stanislawa, the best sources of vitamin K are from your green leafy vegetables. Topping the list are collard greens, spinach, kale and broccoli. Other sources are lentils, olive oil and asparagus. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin so these sources should be consumed with a good fat for maximum absorption (cold pressed olive oil, organic butter). Vitamin K’s properties benefits are extensive as most nutrients are. However, it does play a key role in building strong bones, preventing arterial plaque and heart disease as well as anticancer properties.

Q: My favorite snack foods have now removed all trans fats. Should I consider it a healthy option now? Morgane – Nuuk, Greenland

A.B: Well, Morgane, I wish I could say yes but unfortunately the jury is still out on that one. Companies have done their part in removing trans fats, true, but what is the trade off. It’s called interestrification – a new form of “fake fat” that food developers have come up with to maintain the shelf life of products. The bottom line – stay away from pre-packaged, over processed food! Find a new way to snack: nuts, veggies, fruit – all nature’s perfect snack foods.

Q: What is the difference between grain fed and grass fed cows? Is one more nutritious to consume than the other? Graham – Washington, DC

A.B: Grass fed cows are without a doubt a superior source of both protein and fat. Unfortunately, Graham, the majority of cows we raise and eat in North America are reared predominantly on a grain based diet. Cattle are meant to consume fiber rich foods like grass – not grain. Grain feeds are starchy and lower in fiber which spur rapid growth of the animal but also trigger digestive problems in cattle that can cause liver abnormalities and allow bacteria such as e. coli to proliferate rapidly.

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