Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pa-tay-toe, Pa-tah-toe

I have spent years hearing about the devil of the white potato.  They offer no nutrition, they spike your blood sugar, they can hinder digestion.....Throw them out! Don't keep them in the house! They are bad, bad, bad! 

Well, sure they are bad for you. When they are deep fried or slathered in sour cream, bacon bits and cheese.  But tit-for-tat they are not any worse for you than a sweet potato.

1/2 cup of mashed sweet potato has 15g carbohydrates.  1/2 cup of mashed white potato 15g carbohydrates.  Sweet potatoes and white potatoes effect blood sugar the exact same way.  Fiber in a white potato is in the skin, in a sweet potato it is in the meat.   Again - watch your toppings....sweet potatoes can effect blood sugar more significantly than white potatoes due to the popular brown sugar topping that often accompanies them. 

Last week at work we had a Diabetes Education Class, led by not just any diabetes educator, but a diabetic diabetes educator.  While I am not diabetic and have no family history of diabetes, I am always looking for opportunities to learn and spread the healthy word.  Plus my department at work actually coordinates these types of classes, so I generally attend at least one session of anything we are offering to employees.

Some other things I learned...
Sugar alcohol is just another fancy name for an engineered sugar (think high fructose corn syrup).   And it's also the main ingredient in Ex-Lax®.  I grabbed a ThinkThin bar in a moment of weakness yesterday morning.  It has 12g of sugar alcohol.  There is only 9g in a ex-lax chewable.  No wonder I spent all afternoon clutching my stomach.

Snacking before 8:00 p.m. is good for general health.  We aren't talking weight loss here, we are talking balance.  So, while I do not prescribe to a "no eating after 6:00 p.m." philosophy (especially if you are staying up until 11:00 - 12:00 each night), I can get on board with your final, healthy snack being at 8:00 p.m. or earlier.  According to research, this gives your hormone and cortisol levels time to balance before going to bed for the evening and still offers enough to keep your blood sugar balanced while you sleep.  Your best bet is to go for nut butters and cheese here, avoiding refined or processed sugars.

Your hand can measure cups as well as ounces.  General guidelines are as follows:
1 cup = a fist
3 oz. = a palm
1 oz. = a thumb

Bonus measurements:
1 serving of fruit = tennis ball
1 baked potato = computer mouse
1 1/2 oz. cheese = 6 stacked dice
3 oz. cooked meat, chicken, fish = deck of cards

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