Not too long ago, a friend of my daughters proudly showed me a package of newly purchased bread, saying, “look, I got my mom whole wheat bread, she wants to start eating more healthy.” “Fantastic,” I thought, until he showed me the label. The first ingredient was whole wheat flour; the second was wheat flour, and then wheat gluten. This bread was not 100% whole wheat nor was it particularly good for health; it contained sugar and chemical preservatives. There was no way to know what percentage of whole wheat was actually in the bread.
Bread or Dead?
If you really want to go healthy, avoid all products containing enriched or bleached flour. Breads made with sprouted grains are best. Sprouting infuses life giving enzymes into your bread and boosts the vitamin and mineral content (as long as it is not overcooked). Look for breads that are sprouted, flour less or 100% whole grain. Breads that contain seeds or bean flours add extra protein. These whole or ancient grains are good wheat alternatives: spelt, amaranth, millet, quinoa, barley, wild rice, rye, farro (einkorn), kamut and bulgur.
A study on whole grain foods found that “grain products with the Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely-used front-of-package symbols, were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, but also contained significantly more sugar and calories compared to products without the Stamp.”  
The ‘Sugars’ Deception!
I noticed there’s a growing trend in packaged foods even in ‘health foods’. Manufactures are using several types of ‘sugars’ in the ingredients so they don’t have to put sugar at the top of the list. For example, an ‘energy’ bar or box of cereal that has sugar as second or third in the ingredients may also contain other types of sugars, like: high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, malt syrup, agave nectar etc., so ‘sugars’ could actually be the main ingredient and you end up eating more sugar than you intended. Check the total carbohydrate and sugar stats to make a more educated choice.
All ‘Sugars’, Not Created Equal
Agave nectar has been deceptively marketed as a healthy alternative. It is true, agave syrup doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike like white sugar does but it is very high in fructose, higher than high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose consumption is a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a study published in Journal of Hepatology. The report also found, the increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup, primarily in the form of soft drinks, is linked with complications of the insulin resistance syndrome.  Insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes and early heart disease by causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Coconut sugar is another so called “healthy alternative” and should also be used sparingly. The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose (70-79%), followed by glucose (3-9%). Sucrose (table sugar) is made up of half fructose. That makes coconut sugar 38-48.5% fructose, which is about the same as table sugar.
The Hippocrates Health Institute recommends using Stevia for sweetening.
I am thankful my parents never had soft drinks or sugar laden sweets in the house when I was growing up. I never got use to the taste of sodas, so I have no desire for them, (although I do, on occasion, have other sweets). A child who is exposed to junk food will have a difficult time getting out of the habit later on in life and will pass their choices back to their own kids one day, too.
My dad ingrained in me and my eight siblings, when it comes to food, fresh and raw is best. His training about health, faith and love has helped me throughout my life. “Children who rely on foods that are depleted of nourishment suffer in every way . . . but there are other elements just as important. The love of family, we are a close-knit, warm, affectionate. There is no generation gap. Our mealtime gatherings are festivals of joy.” – Albert Alberici (my dad), “The Vegetarian Health Review and Digest”
“CHILDREN TAUGHT HEALTHY HABITS OFTEN KEEP THEM FOR LIFE”
“Desert Health News” recently published this article to which I was a contributor along with fellow entertainers, my sister, Maria Lauren and Patti Gribow. Follow the link.
Best in health, Linda
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
1) Harvard School of Public Health News – Foods identified As ‘whole grain’ not always healthy – Jan. 10, 2013
2) IDENTIFYING WHOLE GRAIN FOODS: A COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT APPROACHES FOR SELECTING MORE HEALTHFUL WHOLE GRAIN PRODUCTS,” REBECCA MOZAFFARIAN, REBEKKA LEE, MARY KENNEDY, DAVID LUDWIG, DARIUSH MOZAFFARIAN, AND STEVEN GORTMAKER, PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION, ONLINE JANUARY 4, 2013
3) Journal of Hepatology June 2008 vol. 48 issue 6 pp. 993-999
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