Tag Archives: fuel

10 Foods that are High in Sugar

Following on from my Added Sugars post, I thought I’d point out 10 foods that are relatively high in sugar.

You’d be surprise to find out that some of these foods are assumed and/or claimed to be “healthy” and good for you.

As you’re reading this post, keep this in mind (for context):

1 tsp of sugar = 4g

1 can of coke (350mL) = 10 tsp of sugar


1. Low fat yoghurt

Yoghurts with the right strain and amount of probiotics are good for gut health. They are also a good source of protein and calcium.

With the low fat trend still trending, many are made without the fat.

BUT yoghurt without the fat would not taste as nice. And so manufacturers tend to add quite a bit of sugar to make up for it.

Low Fat Greek Natural Yoghurt344668_1

100g = 6.7g of sugar

1.7 tsp of sugar

A2 Protein Whole Milk Natural a2_1kg

100g = 4.1g of sugar

1 tsp of sugar

I know that it is not a MASSIVE difference but just so that you are AWARE. And this is just one example.

Also, check out this study about FULL fat and LOW fat dairy products.

Solution:

Go for all natural Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt. READ the LABELS and INGREDIENTS list. Sometimes, these natural plain versions have added sugar!

Ideally, you’d be looking at <15g of sugar per 100g.


2. Breakfast cereals

For many, breakfast cereals are a staple. It is a fuss free and quick breakfast option.

If you eat them every day, your choice of breakfast cereal is crucial. Most breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar (especially those that are marketed at children) and contain very little fibre, protein and other nutrients.

You’re basically having sugar for breakfast. A big NO-NO.

Kellogg’s Coco Pops

7442f090-bd1d-4498-afba-68a82a736907

1 cup = 14.4g of sugar

3.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Get up a little earlier and cook yourself a nutritious breakfast. Some eggs + avocado +/- toast will provide you with some protein, carbs and healthy fats to power you through your morning!

If you must have your cereal, choose those that are high in fibre, made from 100% wholegrains and with NO/least amount of added sugars.


3. Fruit juice

Whole fruit is good for you. Fruit juice contains fruit. So, it must be good?

I’d definitely think twice about that! Yes, fruit juice is made from fruit BUT without the fibre from a WHOLE fruit. It will still contain the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from the fruit but it also comes with a huge hit of SUGAR.

Just think about it: How many oranges would it take to make a glass of juice?

Easily more than 5 oranges. It is so easy to drink 1 glass of orange juice (made from over 5 oranges) than to actually EAT 5 oranges! That’s a lot of sugar in a tiny glass!

Without the benefits of eating a whole fruit, sugar from fruit juice is still sugar. The body processes it the same way. Shockingly, the sugars in fruit juice can be as high (or higher) as those found in a can of coke.

Love potion from Juice Labstatic1.squarespace.com400mL = 43.4g of sugar

10.9 tsp of sugar

And look, it is actually given “5 health stars”.

Solution:

EAT the whole fruit! If you MUST have your juice, please make sure that there are no added sugars. And if you order fruit juice from a stall, ALWAYS ASK FOR NO ADDED SUGAR. Most places add some form of syrup/sugar in them!


4. Smoothies

Like fruit juice, smoothies are always assumed to be “healthy”. Yes, they can be!

But many commercial smoothies (bottled or from smoothie bars) are sweetened with fruit juice (apple juice, orange juice), flavoured yoghurts, sorbets, ice cream, honey or some other sweetener (natural/artificial).

Boost Juice Passion Mangoboost1

Med size (450mL) = 61.3g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

 Solution:

Make your own smoothie at home! 1 cup of Strawberries + 1 Banana + Cacao powder + Milk/Yoghurt + Ice (optional) = YUM!

If you’re going for a commercial smoothie, check the labels and ask what’s in them! And a reminder to watch portion sizes.


5. Granola

Granola is made from rolled oats and combined with other foods like dried fruit, nuts, seeds and sweetened with either honey or other sweeteners.

With the right ingredients, granolas can be a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, iron, fibre and protein. But most commercial granolas are filled with sugar.

Five:am Apple Crumble Granola7807531 cup = 18.4g of sugar

4.6 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Check that there are no added sugars apart from the sugars found in dried fruit. Opt for the ones with the least amount of sugar per 100g. I’d also avoid those with some form of “vegetable oil” added to them.

As granola is more dense than cereal, use it as a topping (instead of having a whole bowl) on your yoghurt, fruit or even in your smoothie!

Alternatively, you can make your own!


6. Protein bars

With the word “protein” attached to these bars, surely they’re a healthy option?

Most of these bars are just candy/chocolate bars in disguise. They are usually loaded with sugar, low in fibre and with some protein.

Power Bar Peanut Butter Caramel Protein BarProteinSnack_Peanut-Butter-Caramel1 bar = 12g of sugar

3 tsp of sugar

Just for comparison, 2 large eggs contain around 25-30g of protein! Now, THAT is a high protein snack!

Plus, just look at the ingredients in this bar:

CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COATING (SUGAR, FRACTIONATED PALM KERNEL OIL, COCOA POWDER, WHEY POWDER, NONFAT MILK , SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA FLAVOR),CARAMEL FILLING (CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, CREAM, FRUCTOSE, PALM OIL, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR), MALTITOL SYRUP, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, PEANUTS, SOY CRISPS (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, SALT),OATS, OLIGOFRUCTOSE (FROM CHICORY ROOT) , PEANUT BUTTER, WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE, FRUCTOSE SYRUP, CANE INVERT SYRUP, CALCIUM CASEINATE, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: PEANUT OIL, NONFAT MILK, SOY LECITHIN, WATER, SUGAR, SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, SUNFLOWER OIL.

Look at all the different forms of sugar!

Solution:

Have some good ol’ hard boiled eggs for a snack. They are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, choline (in the YOLK) and carotenoids (in the YOLK) without the excess “junk”.


7. Sauces

Sauces, especially savoury ones, are probably the last place you would think of that would be high in sugar. Check out the sauces below!

Hoisin Saucemed105801_0710_hoisin_sauce_vert1 tbsp = 7.2g of sugar

Tomato Sauce

Ketchup1 tbsp = 5.2g of sugar

BBQ Saucethumbs_bbq_sauce

1 tbsp = 11.4g of sugar

Oyster Saucezhzhenka4-300x3001 tbsp = 4.8g of sugar

If you’re a sauc-y person, it is easy to consume a lot of sugar in one meal!

Solution:

Read the labels. Go for the ones that have no added sugar/least amount of sugar. Also, be mindful of HOW MUCH you’re having!

Try seasoning your food with herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon and vinegar. SO GOOD!


8. Sports drinks

Another question that I often get is “which is the best sports drink?” or “do I need sports drinks?”.

My standard answer would be: unless you’re an elite athlete training at high intensity levels every day (+/- under the sun), you don’t need a sports drink.

Sports drinks are designed to hydrate and fuel during/after intense and prolonged bouts of exercise. As such, most have a lot of sugar that can be easily absorbed and used for fuel.

If you are consuming them outside of this context, you’re just drinking unwanted sugar. Sports drinks are just another form of sweetened beverage and have been linked with obesity [1].

Gatorade81oG+Clh3nL._SY450_

600mL = 36g of sugar

9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

WATER! If you find it hard to drink plain water, squeeze some lemon and add some ice. Alternatively, have some fresh coconut water!


9. Flavoured milk

Milk on its own is highly nutritious and a good source of protein and calcium. Flavoured milk… not so much.

Along with the good stuff, flavoured milk comes packed with added sugars!

Oak Chocolate Milk 20160713055518OAK_Chocolate_600ml_3D

600mL = 63.6g of sugar

15.9 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Plain milk.


 

10. Iced blended coffees

Just look at the numbers…

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino665e04ca364a4253a5b2c1fb9b514917Grande (16oz) = 61g of sugar

15.3 tsp of sugar

Solution:

Stick to the usuals: black coffee, latte, cappuccino etc. They are also a lot cheaper. 😉


I hope this was helpful!

Please note that I have NOTHING against these brands listed. Just providing some examples.

I am not saying that these foods do not have a place in your diet or that you should avoid them at all cause. BUT I do want you to be AWARE of foods that have hidden sugars.

Most people say that they do not have a sweet tooth or eat desserts, yet wonder why they struggle to lose fat. Well, you may very well be eating these foods that could have the same amount of sugar in desserts!

Also, be careful of “health claims”. As you can see, some of the foods listed above are sold as health foods.

I always say FRESH IS BEST! But if you are buying packaged foods, ALWAYS check the nutrition label and the INGREDIENTS list!

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Nutrient Rich vs Energy Rich

When reading food labels, calorie content is usually the first thing that we look at. Yes, calories in food are important if we’re trying to lose weight. The weight loss equation is simple (or is it?) –

energy in < energy out

Image result for energy in and out

Image Source

Technically speaking, ANY diet that creates an energy deficit will result in weight loss**. You can eat Maccas all day errrrday AND still lose weight if you are burning more than you consume. *I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD DO THAT! LOL!*

**This is a very generalised statement which does not consider long term sustainability, health effects, metabolism and hormone levels. ALL of which WILL affect your weight… eventually**

BUT! (there’s always a BUT :P)

There are also other important things that we should look at, ie: NUTRIENT content and the overall QUALITY of the diet.


High in Nutrients

We should aim to eat foods that are high in NUTRIENTS. Whole fresh foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meat, legumes, whole grains, dairy, nuts and seeds are all rich in many different nutrients that are SUPER good for you. Nuts and seeds may be HIGH in energy (calories) but they provide the body with healthy fats and a unique mix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

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I love munching on fruits and vegetables. They are rich in fiber and water content, making you feel fuller for longer. This means that you are less likely to reach for sugar loaded snacks.

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What you eat also affects your hormones. And that could affect how your body stores fat, mood and the development of chronic diseases. It is NOT as simple as simply looking at “calories”.


High in Energy

It is difficult to grasp WHAT exactly is “energy rich”. A simple concept would be to look at the caloric density. This takes into account the weight of the food. When comparing between foods, those that are higher in energy per 100g are considered more energy dense.

Image result for nutrient dense vs energy dense

This image PERFECTLY depicts HIGH energy nutrient POOR foods vs LOW energy nutrient RICH foods.

Let’s say the total energy you need in a day is 1600Kcal. You can eat either the left or the right AND still lose weight. But of course, the right would provide SO MUCH MORE nutrients and you can eat A LOT more in terms of amount. On the left, you’re basically consuming empty calories and would probably need another meal to feel full! Also, what you eat can affect your hormones and how you feel.

IMG_8349


Empty Calories

We’ve all heard of the term “empty calories”. What does this actually mean?

Empty calories refer to a food offering ENERGY with LITTLE to ZERO nutrient value.

Examples: fried foods (chips, fries), sugary drinks and foods (chocs, lollies, jelly), alcohol, high fat foods (cakes, muffins, baked goods, biscuits, ice cream, processed meats) etc.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Not only are these foods nutrient poor, they are also usually highly processed. This could lead to inflammation and are usually associated with chronic diseases (heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, obesity).


Ultimate Balance

We all need ENERGY and NUTRIENTS to survive. Energy fuels the body and nutrients provide the body with the materials needed to maintain and regulate body processes.

We are all at different stages of life (childhood, youth, adults, elderly, sick, pregnant, athlete etc), plus the fact that we are all genetically unique, we have very different  nutrient requirements.

Related image

The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013

There is NO one-size fits all. To ensure that we are meeting the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for nutrients, aim to eat a wide variety of foods from the 5 food groups:

-Fruits: Vit C, potassium, vit A, fibre, folate, antioxidants etc

-Vegetables: Fibre, Vit A, C, potassium, iron, magnesium etc

-Grains: Carbs, protein, vit B1, iron, folate, fibre, iodine etc

-Lean meats and alternatives, legumes, nuts and seeds: Protein, iron, zinc, phosphate, copper, vitB12, vit E, omega 3 etc

-Dairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cheese: Protein, calcium, magnesium, vitB12, vit D, niacin, ribo, fats, potassium etc

Just remember, WHOLE FOODS over PROCESSED FOODS. And of course, a little treat here and there WILL NOT HURT! As long as you’re eating well MOST of the time. 🙂IMG_2705


The NEXT time you decide to try a new “diet”, think of these points:

-Am I cutting out FOOD GROUPS?

-Am I getting ALL of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function OPTIMALLY?

-Do I feel better?

-Will it provide enough ENERGY, PROTEIN and FATS?

-Will it be sustainable? What is the point if it isn’t?

-Will I be HAPPY?


  I hope you’re a little more informed and EMPOWERED to make YOUR own decisions about WHAT to EAT!

Image result for empowering quotes tumblr

Love Ya’ll! <3

Amy’s Grains – My FUEL

Update: SUMMER BREAK! It has been a wild few weeks juggling exams, packing, moving out, working out, road trips and heading home! PHEW! It doesn’t end there! I am just grateful for life and all the energy that I have to DO LIFE! 😀

Speaking of energy, this post is on Amy’s Grains – FUEL!Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

“Breakfast grains” are my staple foods. My dad LOVES his cereal and I grew up having all sorts of cereals in the pantry. I cannot imagine a day without my GRAINS!Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


I have been following Amy on social media for a long time. I’ve always admired her drive, determination and passion for health and fitness. She’s an athlete, dietitian, sports dietitian, educator, running coach and personal trainer! She is the definition of CRAZY! If you flick through her past Instagram posts, you’ll have a glimpse of what goes on in her day (from training for triathlons to her personal business)! I don’t know how she does it! Whenever I come across her posts, it gives me that kick in the butt that I need to GET OUT AND TRAIN!IMG_7904

It was such a priviledge and a dream come true when I became an ambassador for Amy’s Grains! I knew that it was something that I would push for naturally. I never consume or talk about something that I am not passionate about. I agree 100% with what Amy advocates for in terms of health, fitness and her GRAINS!


Amy’s Grains

Amy’s Grains are not just the usual “oats” that you get off the shelves at supermarkets. It is a unique combo of oats, barley, triticale, spelt, brown rice and rye.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

-100% WHOLE grain

-Excellent source of dietary fibre

-Provides long lasting energy

-Keeps you full and satisfied

Antioxidants and phytonutrients

-Carbs, protein, B vitamins and minerals

-Low in sat fat

-Low in salt

More deets here –> Amy’s Grains


Amy has also recently launched her QUICK START NUTRITION PLAN for weight loss. The book has everything you need to know to achieve healthy weight loss – from the science behind it, food, daily requirements and a meal guide! I flick through it and loved every bit of it! She also has nutrition plans specifically for endurance and strength (coming soon! Stay tuned!).IMG_0584


I am constantly amazed and inspired by Amy’s hard work and dedication to try and tackle our everyday problems with nutrition, food and fitness.

Ok, enough from me, JUST CLICK THIS!Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


If you would like some premium petrol (Amy’s Grains) for your body, feel free to use my 10% discount code – “adelewong16” ! CHEERS!

Fat and Running

Hello!

Hope you guys have been keeping well. I have not been blogging consistently. WHOOPS! I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (in a good way!)! Please bear with me on this one. Life is getting a little bit more exciting and I hope to be able to share the good news with you guys soon!


If you’ve been following my posts lately, you will notice that I’ve been talking about FUEL and RUNNING.

Just a quick recap:

We talked about carbohydrates, how to maximise our stores (glycogen stores) before a run and how to reduce dependence on these stores during a run!

An important point to note is that carbohydrate stores, both in our liver and muscles, ARE LIMITED.


Thankfully, our bodies have another source of energy – FAT!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis just spells F-A-T

Fat is basically UNLIMITED. You can’t run out of fat. If you do, you’ll die.

From the above statement, you can see why tapping into your fat stores would be an advantage. If you can train your body to increase its reliance on fat stores, you will be a fairly good endurance runner!

Fat is stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) and muscle.

FAT CELLS

Pinch the side on your tummy and you’d probably be pinching some FAT. Fat cells are found all over the body: abdominal area, buttocks, hips and under the skin. The more we eat, the more fat we store and it becomes our energy reserve.

However, storage fat is not essential for health and too much of it increases the risk of certain diseases.

MUSCLE FATS

Fat stored in muscle is known as intramuscular triglycerides. Found throughout skeletal muscles, they are available for immediate use during exercise [1].

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The story is not as straight forward for fat cells (compared to muscle fats). Storage fat needs to be broken down into fatty acids and transported to the muscles to be used for energy.

Free fatty acids (from fat cells) and muscle fat provide energy to fuel your running.

Which fuel you burn (Carbohydrates or Fats) during running depends on the intensity and duration of it (more on that later). However, how much fat you burn depends largely on your genes as well as training and nutrition.

Although genes wear the biggest hat, you can always train your body to burn more fat at higher running intensities.

Fatigue sets in when your body is low on fuel. As mentioned, fat is virtually limitless which makes it a very attractive source of fuel.


So, the question is: How to become a fat burner?

Becoming a FAT BURNER

The answer lies in endurance training. As you know, when you’re running a marathon, you’re running at a submaximal pace. At this intensity, your body uses more fat. Many months of training and running miles logged would mean that you will burn more fats as compared to carbohydrates at the same intensity. When the weight is off muscle glycogen and blood glucose, you delay fatigue. This ultimately translates to better running performance.

IMG_2328

As mentioned, for fat to be used as fuel, it must first be broken down into fatty acids, mobilised and transported to the muscles to be burned. Endurance training enhances the capacity of muscles to use fat. It stimulates the production of enzymes that would enhance all the steps required to use fat as fuel [2].

In the presence of oxygen, mitochondria are the factory that produces ATP (body’s energy currency). Endurance training increases the number of mitochondria in a cell which means that you can produce more energy from fat (fats are being ‘burned’ in the mitochondria) [2].

Running puts a certain amount of stress on the body. When you start running, the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) comes into play. The main energy fuel that is used to meet the sudden demand of energy is carbohydrates. Thankfully, humans are highly adaptable and we are able to learn and change to better handle that stress in the future. Training reduces this sympathetic response and puts a greater reliance on fat as fuel [3].

IMG_3199

Throwback to when I first started running.

Remember how hard it was when you first started running – your breathing was all over the place, your heart felt like it was going to explode and your limbs had a mind of its own – but you continued anyway? And then a few weeks later you realised that running is the easiest thing in the world. That is because your body adapted to the “stress”.

At the same running speed, a trained individual is a fat burner that relies less on carbohydrates to fuel their running at the same intensity as an untrained individual. IMG_0897

These training adaptations don’t take place overnight. There are no short cuts. You can see how training, hard work and effort are keys to unlocking the lock to becoming a great runner.

But if you happen to have a problem with committing to training, maybe there’s a way out. Ever heard of fat-loading diets? We’ll explore that next!

Till then, keep running! 🙂

Fuel and Running – Part 1

I cannot stress enough how important FUEL is to running. You may be the fastest runner, having the highest VO2 max and the most fatigue resistant leg muscles with many hours of training…… but you would still be rendered COMPLETELY useless if you fail to fuel enough for your metabolic system to provide sufficient energy. You can testify to this fact if you have trained hard for a marathon but hit the wall after passing the 30KM mark.

The BONK

The much dreaded bonk where your blood glucose level stoops too low due to insufficient fuel intake. It is the point where you have almost completely cleared your muscle and liver’s supply of glycogen. Your brain gets fuzzy and you JUST WANT TO STOP RUNNING!

Glycogen depletion, ATP exhaustion and the accumulation of lactate have all been suspects that contribute to fatigue.

The Metabolic Story

ATP – the body’s energy currency – is what your body uses to power up your active muscles (RUNNING!) and to carry out every other activity (Anabolism and Catabolism).

We derive energy from the food we eat, mainly carbohydrates, fats and proteins (lesser extent). The muscle tissue, liver and adipose tissue are where these macronutrients are stored until we need them during movement/exercise.

When you run, adrenaline is released to kick start the metabolic process. Ultimately, carbohydrates and fats are broken down in a step by step process (Thankfully, we need not know the process. We will leave it to the body to handle) to produce ATP.

No ATP –> No Energy –> No Muscle Contraction. You can see how fuel and the metabolic system are crucial limitations to running performance.

The Supply

You’ve got to supply your body with fuel to meet its demands. Providing enough fuel during training is just as important as fueling enough for race day.

It is not easy to get it right. You have to constantly experiment with yourself. Try new things and stick to what works for you.

IMG_0850

I had trouble meeting this balance 2 weeks ago at the RHB race. My training was as per usual except that I decided to increase the intensity on that particular week. I made the mistake of NOT compensating the extra work with extra fuel.

On race day, I felt completely drained. So much for doing extra work. All of it was lost because I didn’t have sufficient FUEL.

IMG_0863Dooney.

Glycogen stored in the liver is responsible for maintaining blood glucose concentration within the acceptable range. Your brain relies heavily on glucose to function. The problem is that the active brain uses the stored glycogen in the liver when you sleep. A race first thing in the morning can wreak havoc if you fail to eat a proper breakfast to top off your already glycogen-depleted liver.

Well, let’s just say I didn’t fuel enough throughout the week AND on the morning of the race.

FullSizeRenderHappy times.

I don’t know if I’m exaggerating but I just wanted to stop running after 8KM.  I could not brain the situation. I was feeling cold and clammy, pins and needles everywhere……it was just not my day. Thanks to Victor (fellow Puma Pacer) who ran up to me just to cheer me on! Not forgetting Kartini who yelled from across the road and Rashid who overtook me halfway. Nice to meet ya’ll! Every little bit of motivation counts! The cherry on the cake was when I was in 7-8th place when I arrived at the finish line (when I knew exactly how many people were in front of me). WHAT?!

Thankfully, the organizers checked it through with the timing chip and I managed 3rd place!

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The sister came in 4th in the 21KM category. 😀

More on fuel storage and how to maximize them for performance in my next post.

Till then, EAT WELL FOLKS!

Keep Running!