Diet myths busted. Learn to help your health and dispel the many health hypes that are currently trending!

The Health Hype: Agave Syrup

 The Truth: The not so sweet truth is that this sweetener alternative contains roughly 55 to 90 percent fructose, one of the worst sugars you can consume. Excessive amounts of fructose can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, arthritis, elevated blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as liver and kidney damage.

 Some Not So Fun Facts About Fructose:

-Fructose consumption in the U.S. has more than doubled in the past 30 years, increasing from an average intake of 15 grams per day to currently 55 grams per day.

-There are major differences in how your body processes fructose; it places all of the work on your liver, which accounts for its potentially harmful health effects. The liver metabolizes 100 percent of the fructose and excessive fructose exposure can lead to increased levels of AGEs, which have been linked to accelerating the aging process.

-Fructose is much like alcohol in regards to how it is processed and broken down by the body; fructose sugar and ethanol from alcohol are the same, both of which are highly toxic to the liver.

-Fructose has no effect on ghrelin, our hunger hormone, and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, our feel full hormone, which can result in overeating.

 Help Your Health: Try passing on the agave and opt for using stevia, a natural herb, as a healthier sweetener option in your smoothies, shakes, oats or morning cup of coffee!

 

The Health Hype: Gluten Free Foods

 The Truth: Just because something is gluten free, it does not necessarily mean that it is healthy. If you are just swapping out some of your not so healthy favorite food options (cookies, cakes, cereals) for gluten free versions, then you aren’t doing much good for your health or your waistline. Although gluten free pasta and gluten free brownies are a better step in the right direction, it is important to understand that you are still eating pasta and brownies at the end of the day. Gluten free does not equal calorie free!

 Many food brands and restaurants now offer an array of gluten free products and menu options; this fantastic news for those who have Celiac disease (roughly 3 million people) and for those who are gluten sensitive (roughly 18 million people). Despite the gluten free trends popularity, many people aren’t seeing complete reversal of their health symptoms that they are hoping for with their gluten free efforts…what gives?!

 The truth is, many of these gluten free products are processed, removing many nutrients and minerals, and contain ingredients, such as corn, potatoes and soy, that are molecularly similar to the gluten protein, which can cause adverse digestive issues. Some of these gluten free ingredients can cause spikes in our blood sugar levels, as well as our insulin levels, one of our body’s main fat storage hormones.

Help Your Health: A cookie is still a cookie, whether it is gluten free or not, so be aware of hidden ingredients, sugars and additives in any prepackaged food you are eating! Focusing on moving away from highly processed gluten free products and instead rely on whole real, nutrient dense foods that are naturally free of gluten, such as fruits, nuts and oats.

by Brianna Diorio

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