Sugary drinks, like soda, lead to weight gain. Why is this still a question? At the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo this past weekend in San Diego, nutrition experts came together to discuss new research and trends in the field. Hot topics include nutrition and genetics, food sensitivities, vitamin D in chronic disease and sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks? Really. I thought we were past this. While I don’t like to place blame on ONE food in particular as the cause of weight gain in this country, I cannot turn a blind eye to the soda industry. Sugary drinks are just that, beverages loaded with artificial colors, preservatives (most carcinogenic- see Chemical Cuisine from CSPI.net), and sugar. Not a health food. Never was and never going to be.
So why do we keep defending it? Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a professor at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine said that evidence suggesting sugary drinks played a major role in obesity was inconclusive.
It’s hard not to consider the conflict of interest with some of the individuals and organizations responsible for promoting dietary guidelines and recommendations in this country. In 2010, Pepsi spent $502.3 million in adverting. Where does some of this money go? To schools, to associations, and to research studies promoting their products. While I am a Registered Dietitian, nutrition expert, and proud member of the American Dietetic Association, I am not OK with the ADA accepting money from Coke. Sure, it’s only accepts 10% from corporate sponsors, but why are we accepting Coca Cola money at all? While I have never been asked to promote Coke or similar products, I also haven’t been encouraged to discourage the consumption of its products. Organizations like the ADA, USDA, and FDA tend to craft their recommendations carefully to avoid controversy, litigation, and monetary backlash. “Limit sugary beverages” has evolved into a politically correct version of “avoid consumption.”
Let’s look at the facts. The average american consumes way too much sugar from both soda and food. Even if some of us don’t gain weight from drinking soda that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice. Caramel coloring, controversial artificial sweeteners, and 17 packs of sugar doesn’t seem like a great choice no matter how you look at it.
What do you think?
One of my specialities is working with individuals who have food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities. When I create recipes I often try to make them as “whole food” as possible so those with allergies can alter a recipe easy to their liking. I call these my “LEAP” cookies as they are in line with the LEAP program that I use to identify food sensitivities. (www.nowleap.com) Wheat-free, dairy-free, and egg-free these cookies don’t skimp on flavor. These really are a cookie you can share with everyone!
LEAP “Chocolate Chip” Cookie
3/4 cup Spelt Flour
1/4 cup Oat Flour (grind oats in your blender until a flour forms)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8th tsp. nutmeg (optional, but I love the “warmth” that nutmeg gives these cookies)
1/4 cup oil (canola or Walnut for LEAPers)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. molasses
1/3 cup carob chips or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet to dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate or carob chips. Spoon onto a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.
Watch closely, see tips below, pull the cookies when they are just baked through. They will continue to cook once out of the oven. The first batch I made came out too crispy and I prefer a softer, chewier chocolate chip cookies. Transfer to a cooling rack then transfer to a airtight container. Enjoy & Share with friends!
Tips for a better cookie: Slightly undercook these, they tend to crisp up once out of the oven and on a cooling rack. Be sure to use real maple syrup here, the artificial stuff won’t bake right.
Per cookies (makes 24): 70 calories, 3g fat, 10g CHO, 0.6g fiber, 0.8g protein
Let me know what you think!
It’s no secret that I love italian cuisine. Growing up in an Italian household, we ate pasta at least 5 nights a week. While that might seem a bit excessive, there is nothing I enjoy more than a simple bowl of pasta and homemade sauce. Lately, I have been exploring other types of pasta and fallen in love with Spelt varieties. Spelt has a mild, almost nutty flavor and is high in both protein and fiber. Also known as Farro in Italy, this grain is also perfect if your trying to reduce your wheat intake.
We received a ton of great heirloom tomatoes in our CSA this week and a fresh Pomodoro sauce seemed like the perfect accompaniment to my newfound love of spelt pasta. Tomatoes still have a few weeks in season so be sure to make this soon, Mangiamo!
Perfect Pomodoro Sauce
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Earth Balance Butter (or other non-hydrogenated margarine)
1 lb. Spelt angel hair pasta (VitaSpelt makes a great one or use whatever pasta you have on hand. I love a thin cappelini or angel hair for this sauce)
In a sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and the salt, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently until fragrant but not burned. If you burn the garlic- remove it or else it will ruin the sauce. Add the tomatoes and sugar and cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thick.
In the meantime, prepare your pasta; bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Check on your sauce, if you like it chunky then leave it as is. I prefer a smoother sauce: using a immersion blender and pulse the sauce a few times to make a tomato sauce with a few chunks of tomatoes. Alternatively, you can puree a cup of sauce in a blender and add back to the tomatoes.
Add the torn basil and butter to the sauce. Toss with the hot pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water.
Makes about 6 servings: Per serving: 371 calories, 13g fat, 2g sat. fat, 58g carbs, 8g fiber, 12g protein.
Thanks for the feedback regarding my recent interview with Gita Patel, author of “Blending Science with Spices.” I loved hearing about your favorite healthy living tips. I keep a document of ‘motivation’ in my office to offer to both patients and myself, your tips were all added! The winner, chosen by a random number count, was Tiffany Blasingame! Congrats Tiffany, I hope you enjoy this book- let us know what you think.