The First Wealth is Health (Part 3)

June 15, 2021

Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and food companies hide it in food products by using words ending in, ‘ose’, like sucrose and, the words sugar and syrup in the name.

Carbs, Carbs, everywhere there’s Carbs


In the first and second blog posts in this series “First Wealth is Health” our intention was to put you in the picture. We introduced you to the Glycemic Index – sugar is at the top of the list with a value of 100 and all other carbohydrates are measured against it.

We explained the highest volume ingredient is listed first on food labels and reduces with each subsequent ingredient. We discussed nutritional content:

  •  Calories/Kilojoules rounded off 1 calorie = 4 kilojoules.
  • Carbs: avoid foods high in them.
  • Fats: good and bad, fat does not make you fat.
  • Proteins eat them in moderation.
  • Sodium translates to salt and we are one of the largest consumers in the world.

The Mission

Our mission with this blog series is first to prevent you from developing a dread disease such as diabetes or obesity and avoid the many health issues related to them. These include:• Heart disease

  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure and hypertension
  • Blindness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Kidney disease
  • Sexual performance

Second, to improve all round performance in academics, extra mural activities and your ability to successfully navigate everyday pressures being a student brings.

Third to help you reduce your carb intake and provide simple, practical tips and tricks to help you do it.

Processed carbs

While highly processed white carbohydrates such as white bread, white flour and maize meal look different to the eye, in your brain and body it has the same response as table sugar.

Processed carbohydrates, referred to as simple or refined, have had all the fibre and other nutrients removed, the largest source of refined carbohydrates is white flour. Sugars such as table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are also referred to as simple carbs. They are high in calories, however the calories they provide, do not provide any sustenance. When consuming these we feel full momentarily but quickly feel hungry again and wanting more due to the endorphins or brain reward we receive. The words, empty carbs are often used to describe the lack of sustenance these provide.

Don’t be fooled though!

Majority of people believe that brown bread is healthier than white. While there are exceptions (Seeded, 100% Rye and Sourdough), the glycemic index of brown bread the majority of South Africans consume equals white.

So what now?

Now that you know white refined, processed carbohydrates are bad for you, what should you do? The ideal answer eat them infrequently and reduce the amount you consume at all meals.

Let’s get practical

There are several ways you can lower the GI of carbohydrates:

  • For meals high in carbohydrates, eat a salad or some raw veggies or an avocado before having the meal. The combination of low GI and high GI makes a medium GI overall.
  • When preparing foods like pap and stews add in some oat-bran. Its available with the oats in most supermarkets pick up a box, it’s inexpensive and effective. It’s incredibly high in fibre and thickens your stews and pap so you need less food to achieve the desired thickness.
  • Avoid adding foods high in sugars. Including: sugar, tomato sauce, chutney, cook in sauces etc. Read the label, we explained how in the previous post.
  • Use sauces made with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, onions etc. Do not add any sugar. Thicken them with oat-bran and preferably use tiny amounts of salt. Also avoid taste enhancers like Aromat or any anything that has monosodium glutamate in it. Read the label and if you don’t know what 2 or more of the ingredients are don’t buy or add it to food.
  • Adding lemon juice or vinegar to any food, lowers GI. You can use it in preparation and over prepared foods. Using fresh tomatoes or any other acidic food/liquid also lowers the GI.
  • Studies have shown that carbohydrates cooked allowed to cool and reheated the next day produce smaller blood sugar spikes and show a faster return to normal sugar levels.
  • Adding good fats to carbohydrates lowers the GI. Examples are adding olive oil to cooked pasta and potato and its great on salads together with balsamic vinegar. Adding avocado to any cooked dish lowers the GI and provides excellent dietary fats.

Eating less carbohydrates is the best strategy for reducing weight gain and preventing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Here are some tips:

  • A good rule of thumb is to have a volume of carbohydrate with a maximum size of your fist.
  • If you eat carbohydrates at night, try to eat them as early as possible at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
  • Don’t forget to eat something low GI like a salad or raw veggies before your main meal.
  • Drink a glass of water before and during eating, it may not lower the GI but assists in digestion.
  • Don’t have any cold drinks including sugar free with your meals.
  • Go for a 10-minute walk after eating to stimulate your metabolism.

We have reached the end of another post, thank you for reading. Eating well has so many facets and requires an extended series of posts to just scratch the surface. In the next post we will continue to discuss foods that are good and those that should be avoided.

At The Fields in Hatfield Pretoria, we are continuously looking for ways to improve the lives of our student residents and help them flourish in their studies. Need any information on our excellent accommodation contact us we look forward to hearing from you.

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