A recent study published in October of 2016 revealed that healthy changes to your diet can make a real difference… really quickly.
Study: Swapping Out Sugar for 9 Days
Researchers recruited 37 children volunteers who were all obese and had at least one metabolic syndrome issue such as high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, high triglyceride count or fatty liver disease. Researchers allowed these children to eat their usual diets over 9 days with just one change: all fructose or sugary foods were swapped for starch.
Examples of Don’ts:
- sugary yogurt
Examples of Ok’s
- hot dogs
On the 10th day, researchers compared the children’s blood tests to what they were on day 1. They found that the small change in diet led to lowered LDL and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and raised HDL cholesterol levels, despite the fact that the children’s diets were still very poor overall.
What Does This Study Mean For Us?
First of all, it’s important not to interpret the results of this study as advice to binge on starchy foods! The researchers wanted to determine how much of a difference fructose/sugar alone makes to our diets, without doing a complete healthy overhaul.
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Their findings mean that high-fructose and high-sugar foods that are often marketed to children are actually seriously damaging their cardiovascular health and should definitely be avoided. Sugary foods and drinks can raise kids’ risk of developing heart disease, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes.
The results of this study are pretty encouraging because they prove that, especially for children, making small steps in the right direction can make a real difference for our bodies! For those of us who recognize that we need a complete transformation in our diets and lifestyles to prevent disease, we don’t have to be overwhelmed- the little changes really do add up.
Swap These Snacks for a Healthier Lunchbox!
Unfortunately, most of the snacks and drinks for kids in grocery stores have incredibly high sugar or fructose content, even in products you wouldn’t expect. When getting your kids ready for school, convenience can become the deciding factor instead of health. Here’s how to pack a healthy lunch for your kids that tastes great and protects their hearts (and won’t steal time from your busy morning routine)!
1. Fruit Roll-ups, Fruit Shapes, Fruit Gushers
General Mill’s Fruit Roll-ups contain 7g of sugar in every 14g roll-up. Primary ingredients are corn syrup and sugar. Swap for clementines or kiwis or get a healthy fruit roll-up recipe here.
2. Granola bars
Nature Valley’s Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars contain 11g of sugar in every 41g package. Ingredients include both refined and brown sugar. Swap for unsalted trail mix or try one of these 25 healthy protein bar recipes here.
3. Fruit Cups, Applesauce
Mott’s regular (ie. sweetened) applesauce contains 22g of sugar (actually it’s high fructose corn syrup) in every 111g cup. Swap for organic, unsweetened applesauce.
4. Bear Paws
Dare’s chocolate chip bear paws contain 14g of sugar in every 45g wrapper. It’s a mix of sugar and glucose-fructose. Swap for banana nut muffins (gluten-free recipe here).
5. Yogurt with Fruit at the Bottom
Dannon’s strawberry yogurt contains 24g of sugar per 170g container, sweetened with refined sugar. Swap for chia pudding (recipe here) or organic plain yogurt with fresh berries.
6. Juice Boxes
Sugary drinks are probably one of the biggest culprits that slip under the radar. Minute Maid’s “100% Apple Juice” contains 32g of sugar, their Fruit Punch contains 18g of sugar (sweetened with sugar and glucose-fructose), Kool-Aid Grape contains 25g of sugar (high fructose corn syrup).
Swap for water! Teach your kids to fix dehydration with the most satisfying beverage out there. Reusable glass bottles are always best.
Reducing sugar from your family’s diets isn’t just for the kids, make sure you’re avoiding sugary foods and drinks in your own meals to prevent chronic inflammation, keep your blood sugar and insulin levels balanced and to help reduce your cancer risk, too! Tell us your favorite sugar-reducing tips, we’d love to hear them!
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