What’s the Deal with Corn?

Corn is a big deal in the United States. From the traditional role it has played in the indigenous history of the land to the modern ubiquity of corn products in American consumer goods, corn, or maize, might surprise you yet. Something many people don’t seem to realize intuitively is that corn is not a vegetable. It is a grain. So, you are going to want to approach eating corn differently than you might approach eating spinach or broccoli.

That is not to say that grains cannot be part of a great fat-loss plan. There are a number of whole grains that definitely have a place in a balanced and nutritious diet:

  • barley
  • full flake or steel-cut oats
  • sprouted grain
  • amaranth
  • millet
  • quinoa (which is technically a seed)
  • wild rice (which is technically a grass)

Minimally processed whole grains are packed with naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals. They are also high in natural fiber, which keeps you feeling full and encourages a healthier gastrointestinal tract. The body is slow to digest these complex carbs, which stabilizes blood sugar and energy levels. Corn can sometimes offer some of the these same benefits.

The trouble with corn is that corn-based foods do not often offer anywhere near the same great benefits to the body that organically-grown corn on the cob can. High-fructose corn syrup, just one of the most common ingredients derived from corn, has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Scientists at Princeton even found that rats who ate high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than rats who ate the same caloric values of table sugar.

This illustrates the harsh reality – the more heavily processed forms of corn you can find in foodstuffs like breakfast cereals and other snacks can do your body real damage over time. Whole grain sweet corn, however, retains some truly substantive nutritious value.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.

Beware the Blender: Drinking Better Smoothies

When the seasons change and the weather gets warm, everyone should make staying hydrated a priority. It is common knowledge that steering clear of sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices is a critical component of a healthy diet. However, what many people might be surprised to learn, is just how bad one of the alternatives, the fruit smoothie, can be. How bad is it? Fruit smoothies can actually have as much as three times more sugar (so approximately 120 grams) in them than a can of soda!

Popular smoothie franchises do great business by advertising their products as a delicious way to help you trim down your waistline. That simply is not true. Even the small sizes can have as much as 100 grams of sugar. That is the equivalent of twenty-five teaspoons. It is difficult to find that amount of sugar in almost any food, of any variety. It is nothing short of shocking that these allegedly “healthy” smoothies can pack so much bad news in one cup.

The good news is that the recipe for smoothies should be easy enough for anybody to master. You just need a blender! Creating a better alternative to your favorite store-bought smoothies is as easy as reading the whole fruits that store claims to use, then going home and making one for yourself. It may not be quite as sweet as what you would be able to buy pre-made, but that is exactly the point. Fruits naturally pack more than enough sugar for most people to enjoy them as an actually healthy, nutritious source of fuel for the day. To take your snack or meal replacement to the next level, throw in some vegetables as well! Cucumbers, celery, carrots, and leafy greens all make excellent additions, because they are gentle on your taste buds but still deliver a sizeable heaping of vitamins and minerals.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.

Beware of Fruit Products

This article is based on information from Josh Bezoni’s “8 Healthy Foods that Cause Flab.” Be certain to check out the full article to learn more.

Many people seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle feel confident in their ability to identify a few of the longtime staples of a balanced diet. Fruit, for instance, is commonly grouped with things like vegetables and whole grains as items that should make up the bulk of a healthy meal. For a large number of people, this is great news. Fruits and fruit products taste great, tend to be affordable, and are easy to find.

Please know, there is a large difference between actual fruit and fruit product.

Please know, there is a large difference between actual fruit and fruit product.

However, every consumer should understand fully there is a world of difference between a fruit and a fruit product. Fruit juice, one of the most ubiquitous fruit products in stores across the world, is a great example of why people looking to live more healthily should stick to eating their fruits, not drinking them.

Common knowledge points to considering what gets lost in the juicing process. The edible skins of many fruits, like apples, apricots, and blueberries, are often the healthiest parts of the plant. The skin holds nutritional value, not enough of which makes it into the final juice product. Another great loss is usually the pulp. Fruit pulp is a critical source of fiber and other nutrients.  Even when commercial products claim to have “pulp added,” there is no guarantee that it is even the original pulp or that it hasn’t been overly processed at the factory.

The discerning consumer should also pause to wonder what gets added in the juicing process.  All too often, the answer to that question includes a wide variety of sweeteners and artificial additives.

These observations are well reflected in the scientific literature. In 2013, the European Journal of Nutrition published a study comparing the nutritional value of consuming whole apples to drinking apple juice. Researchers identified and tracked the impact of either the juice or the fruit on a portfolio of overall health markers. These included any variation in lipoproteins or blood pressure in the group of 23 healthy volunteers.

Over the four weeks that the study ran, no significant changes in body weight occurred. However, there was an observable difference in the LDL cholesterol of subjects who ate whole apples. These participants enjoyed a reduction in LDL cholesterol, which is indicative of an increase in overall health. However, the subjects who drank apple juice actually suffered from an increase in LDL cholesterol.

The scientists concluded that this difference is the result of the juicing process which significantly diminishes the polyphenol and pectin (fiber, for example) content that is found in whole apples. Low fiber intake is associated with increased risk for both obesity and diabetes. So, most of the time, it remains better to take a big bite of your fruit instead of a gulp, when possible.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.