Sweet Heart?

After a long walk at Golden gate in San Francisco, my nephew wanted to eat a sandwich at a particular cafe. While family was ordering food for kids, I couldn’t resist looking admiringly at lemon meringue, strawberry toss, cream puff, apricot tart and so many cakes. (  I clicked the above picture in the cafe). Sweets are always on  top of the food pyramid indicating us to eat less, but there are ever increasing sweet foods in the market. We begin our day with sugary breakfast cereals, sip sugar loaded fluids and have whole lot of sweet snacks in the market than before. At any given time the choice is always ours but the latest factor contributing to poor heart health has been attributed  to sugars. It’s not so sweet news and may be a surprising fact for many. With so many foods in the market with added sugars it is a new challenge  and not a good news for people who were not worried about weight gain. Excessive added sugar can make liver synthesize more fat and is linked to excessive formation of triglycerides.  Salt and fat are old contenders and now not so much emphasis has been laid on fat. People, who had cut fat in their diet, still had heart attacks.  People with high lipid levels and high blood pressure can benefit  avoiding heart health issues by cutting added sugar in their diet. You will hold your sweet tooth for your heart or not  is always your choice!

How much to eat?

American Heart Association is saying 6 tsp ( 25gm) for women and 9 tsp ( 38gm) for men per day.

What are added sugars?

Ingredients such as dextrose, sucrose, fructose, mannose, lactose, galactose, saccharose, fruit nectar, peach nectar, agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate and more. These names will be in ingredients list.

Natural Sugars

Naturally occurring sugars are better to treat on. Foods such as fruits and veggies have naturally occurring sugars in them which gives sweet taste. Since they have fiber and water in them, the sugar is released slowly in the blood stream which can avoid formation of high amounts of triglycerides. Also fruits are rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.

If you eat sweet cereal for the morning breakfast, eat sugarless cereal with natural fruit stirred in  milk. If you eat yogurt with sugar, replace sugar with little fruit tit bits. Replace soda with water. Beware that replacing soda and juice with bottled tea can have more sugar.

Keep watching this space for healthy naturally occurring sugars and sweet recipes. Here is a recipe for grape treats which I ate just last month at my Guru’s volunteers’ dinner. Replacing sugar loaded sweets with those which have natural sugars and less added sugars is a smart way to keep yourself healthy.

Grape treats

Dudhi Ladoo

Beetroot kheer

Pineapple Rava Kesari


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