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Should we be afraid of sugar? Episode 51

Food Bullying Podcast

Release Date: 07/13/2020

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Sugar gets the blame for many of our health issues.  Should we avoid sugar? Are there good sugars and bad sugars? Our guest, Melissa Joy Dobbins is a registered dietitian and diabetes expert.  She brings a common sense approach to eating well and says “if people with diabetes can have sugar, you can too!”

Melissa Joy Dobbins MS, RDN, CDE is known as The Guilt-Free RD® – “because food shouldn’t make you feel bad!” As a dietitian and diabetes educator, Melissa helps people digest food and nutrition information so they can make their own well-informed food decisions based on facts, not fear, and ultimately – enjoy their food with health in mind. Melissa hosts the popular Sound Bites® Podcast where she interviews experts on a variety of topics ranging from fad diets to farming and delves into the science, the psychology and the strategies behind good food and nutrition.

Key points

  • More than 1/3 of Americans are obese. People blame sugar consumption, but we’ve only slightly increased sugar consumption since 1989.
    • Sugar isn’t the sole problem. Inactivity is an issue, too.
    • Sugar is a simple carbohydrate
    • Common sources of sugar are
      • Sugar cane
      • Sugar beets
      • Corn
    • Honey, table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup all have 16 calories per teaspoon and are nearly identical.
    • The difference in the source of sugar is less important than the amount consumed.
  • Doctors don’t always have the facts on sugar.
    • Should focus on nutrient-rich foods instead of sugar.
    • Takes shame out of the conversation.
    • Research shows kids drink more milk if it is flavored.  Getting the nutrition is more important.  It is like putting a little dressing on salad.
    • Focus on what is nutrients are in the food and what things in it might you want to avoid.
    • Doctors have implied power based on their position, but don’t receive training in nutrition. They can unintentionally spread fear about food.
    • People have to be in the driver’s seat of their own health. There are no forbidden foods - have to pay attention and make a decision about what works best for you.
    • Dietitians have significant on-going training and specialize in areas such as pediatrics or diabetes.  People have to swim in their own lane of expertise. 
  • School lunches and snacks can be a source of food bullying.
    • Things have changed over time in terms of what is encouraged for snacks at school.
      • Now required to bring fresh fruit or vegetable for snack
        • Challenging to avoid food waste if it all has to be fresh instead of apple sauce or raisins
        • Doesn’t avoid allergy issues
        • Elitist - not everyone can afford or has access to produce
  • How to think about sugar:
    • Look at it from diabetes point of view.
      • Consider a combination of simple carbohydrates (sugar) and complex carbohydrates
      • Research doesn’t support sugar creates hyperactivity
      • Blood sugar doesn’t spike and crash unless you have diabetes or reactive hypoglycemia
      • Be aware how much sugar is in your food - but don’t be afraid
        • too many calories from anything will cause weight gain
        • “hidden sugar” isn’t really an issue
          • feeds into a conspiracy theory about the food industry tricking us into buying food - look at the label
          • people buy what tastes good
          • “added sugar” label is confusing
  • Snacks should fill nutrient and hunger gaps
    • look at label to see what nutrients are in the snack
      • we don’t get enough produce
      • use all forms of produce to get what we need: Fresh, canned, frozen, and dried.
    • small cups of apple sauce or fruit are portion controlled
    • chose based on your own needs and standards

Sound Bites RDN Melissa Joy DobbinsThree tips to avoid food bullying:

  • Food shouldn’t make you feel bad.  If you aren’t feeling good about a food (or are uncertain) step back and think about your goals and standards
  • Don’t pay attention to the front of the package. Look at the nutrition label.
  • Focus on nutrient-rich foods.

Links:

Sound Bites Podcast: https://soundbitesrd.com

Melissa on Instagram & Twitter:  @melissajoyrd

Food Bullying Podcast’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/foodbullyingpodcast

Food Bullying: How to Avoid B.S. by Michele Payn: http://foodbullying.com

Embrace Your Heart with Eliz Greene: http://www.embraceyourheart.com/