Diets. I’ve shared before why they are such a pet peeve of mine and I’ll be the first to admit, there is so much information that is thrown at us – sometimes it is hard to make heads and tails of things. Eat this, not that. This is bad for you, now it’s good for you. Low-Fat, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Low-Carb…so many terms get thrown around it’s hard to make sense of it all.
A few of those foods that are yelled from the roof tops as being the ones to avoid are sugar and salt. Those two foods might as well sit in the corner with the cone of shame for how much of a bad rap they get. But what if I told you these two common ingredients aren’t as bad as they are made out to be?
Let me explain, I am reading this amazing new eBook from DaNelle Wolford called Eat Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, in which she shares her amazing story of how she healed her body and lost 35 pounds by eating real food (order here!). She also explains why sugar and salt are not as bad as you might think, keeping in mind that you also have to be careful with what sugars and salts you are using…
The Sweet Truth
I would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t enjoyed the sweetness that is sugar at one point in their life. Sugar is also a complex ingredient – because not all sugar is created equal. Long ago, pure sugar cane was used to make crystallized sugar, but along the way it was discovered that sugar beets also contained sucrose and it was a heck of a lot easier to extract sugar from the beets than the sugar cane.
While sugar cane is not yet genetically modified, about 90% of the sugar beet crops in the United States are. DaNelle stresses the importance of knowing what you are feeding your family:
“Currently, there is no law that requires labeling of whether the manufacturer used beet sugar or cane sugar. It is estimated that about HALF of all sugar sold in the US is from sugar beets. This is bad because almost all sugar beets are genetically modified.” (Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, pg. 62)
Let me tell you, not all sugar is created equal. White sugar is most commonly used, and it can be cane sugar, GMO-beet sugar, or mix – but it is also highly refined and processed.
“Although white sugar seems to be a common ingredient in MANY recipes, it’s a highly processed item and isn’t great to eat regularly. If you want to lose weight, heal your body, regulate your hormones, and improve behavior in your children, then I wouldn’t suggest purchasing or baking with a lot of white sugar. You don’t have to COMPLETELY avoid it. I believe that a huge reason for real food failure is trying to be perfect. A rule in our house is that we don’t bring the highly processed sugar into our home, but if we are at a family gathering or event and we want to partake, then we do. We know it’s not the best. We avoid it. We bring food to events with REAL sugar. But we also avoid being too strict.” (Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, pg. 62)
Since white sugar is generally so processed, a lot of the good nutrients and minerals are removed. DaNelle recommends sticking to:
- raw local honey or maple syrup
- sucanat or rapadura (like this)
- coconut sugar (a favorite of mine!) (like this)
- natural stevia
If you are looking for a great list of natural sweetener alternatives, I recommend this guide on natural sweeteners.
Sugar’s Good Side
Now that we have gotten the bad and the ugly out-of-the-way, let’s talk about the good. Here’s the good news: our bodies need sugar. “Why?” you might ask – we use sugar to give us energy. Our bodies are quite incredible, turning all of the food we feed it into the necessary energy to get through the day. We get this sugar energy from the foods we feed ourselves like grains and starchy-veggies, but also from the natural sweeteners we feed it as well. So what happens when we deprive our bodies of sugar?
“When you deprive your body of all sugar, your body has to figure out another way to make glucose. Your body will either use fat to make sugar (Lipolysis) or protein to make sugar (Gluconeogenesis). At first, people are like, “Yeah! Use my fat to make sugar!” But, depriving your body of glucose puts your body in stress mode. Your body works hard, producing adrenaline & cortisol to keep up with the demand. Adrenaline & cortisol gives you energy, but the human body is not meant to live in stress mode for extended periods.” (Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, pg. 63)
I can tell you from personal experience, when I would diet in past years, how my body felt when I would deprive myself of sugar. Oi, I would crave it like something fierce. I personally found a balance of eating natural sweeteners here and there made me crave sugar less and surprisingly, I did not pack on the pounds. My body utilizes these natural sweeteners and gives me the energy it needs to get from point A to point B.
A Sprinkle of Salt
A tall plate of homemade french fries made with coconut oil and tossed in sea salt – sounds good doesn’t it? But in today’s “health” news, salt is viewed as a negative addition to our foods. Salt will make you bloated, salt will give you hypertension, salt this, salt that. Now, DaNelle believes that salt is a crucial part of our diet, and here are a few things she discovered that debunk some of the common misconceptions about salt:
“A study in 2003 showed that a reduction in salt intake only lowered systolic blood pressure by 4 points & diastolic by only 1 point.
That same study also showed that a reduction in salt intake increased triglyceride levels, LDL levels, & stress hormones.
Salt supports hydration, especially when we experience fluid loss due to exercise.
Salt is a de-stressor and helps clear the stress hormone Cortisol from the blood.” (Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, pg. 64)
Salt gets blamed for a lot of things these days – and wrongfully so. Salt is associated with fast food and highly processed packaged foods to add “flavor”. Other highly processed ingredients are more likely to blame than salt itself.
I myself stick to natural salts, reaching for grey sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. I am no longer fearful of salt, and trust my body to tell me what it needs when it comes to this ingredient. What does DaNelle recommend for salt intake?
“The solution is simple; eat a good quality salt, particularly a sea salt that is gray, red, brown, black, or even pink in color, indicating high amounts of trace minerals. White salt means it’s been bleached and doesn’t contain a lot of minerals. And how much should you eat? Well, it’s even simpler; trust in your body. Salt your food until it tastes perfect to you. Your body knows how much salt it needs. If something tastes too salty, it probably is. If something tastes like it needs more salt, by all means, use it!” (Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, pg. 65)
Something Sweet & Something Salty
It’s all about balance, and trusting your body to let it know what it needs. Salt and sugar can be a wonderful addition to your diet when you give yourself high quality ingredients and feed yourself real, nourishing food.
Learn More about Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!
This awesome new eBook out by DaNelle Wolford of Weed ‘Em & Reap, Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too, is a great resource for those of you frustrated with counting calories and logging countless hours of exercise and not seeing any changes. I can personally say that I am a much smaller size now than I was before starting real food – two sizes smaller to be exact. Plus, the way she writes is FANTASTIC! You will love it, as she shares with you:
- how food at the grocery store is designed to make you fat and sick.
- modern diet myths and understand why they are contributing to your misery.
- why butter, bacon, & ice cream are actually healing to the body.
- why eating a salad every day will NEVER make you healthy.
- how eating a low-fat diet is actually making you FAT!
- why portion control, not eating after 7pm, & eating 6 small meals a day is a lie.
- how to reverse illness & chronic disease by giving your body real nutrients & real food!
- lots of delicious real food recipes
- plus much more!
Holy moly, get it while it’s hot by ordering here!