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Water makes up 60% to 65% of our total body weight. When we exercise, we lose water through sweat – this water needs to be replaced. Even a 2% loss of body weight through sweat (i.e. 3 lbs of loss for a 150 lb person) can put you at a disadvantage. If this fluid loss is not replaced properly, dehydration will occur. This is a serious condition that can diminish energy and impair performance, among other symptoms. However, it can be easily spotted and prevented. Here are a few ways to prevent dehydration and keep up with your water intake.

Signs of Dehydration 

Thirst is one indicator of dehydration, but it is not an early warning sign. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
  • Having a dry or sticky mouth
  • Producing less urine and darker urine

Related: have other nutrition questions? Talk to one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians! Click here for a free 30-minute consultation.

How to Prevent It

Drink Fluids

Preventing dehydration starts long before the activity. The easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink lots of fluids, especially on hot, dry, windy days.

How To: the night before, as well as before your workout, you should intake the following fluids:

  • 16 ounces of water before bed
  • 16 ounces of water in the morning
  • 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes

Related: speaking of the night before, here are some meal prep tips you can use in addition to these hydration hacks to make sure you’re staying on track!

Be sure to also replace your fluid loss post exercise: 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost!

Water is usually the best choice, but you can also get fluids from water-based juices and smoothies!

Dress Appropriately

Always dress appropriately for your activity. Wear loose-fitting clothes and a hat if you can, this will keep you cooler and cut down sweating.

Fitness tip: if you can’t remember how much water you drank today, you haven’t had enough!

Seaweed? For dinner? Seriously?

Yes, yes, and yes! Chances are you’ve had seaweed as part of a sushi roll or even as a side dish or salad at a Japanese restaurant, but have you considered adding it to your regular weekday at-home dining experience? Now might just be the time to try it!

Seaweed has been growing in popularity, making it more widely available in grocery stores, and it is absolutely chock-full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and even trace elements.

Trace elements are dietary elements that are essential to the body for things such as growth, metabolic function and other processses but are only needed in very small quantities (aka trace amounts) and include (but are not limited to) selenium, copper, magnesium, iodine, etc.

Why Should I Care?

The purported health benefits as to why you should be eating seaweed range widely from estrogen regulation (leading many to speculate that seaweed consumption may help lower the risk for breast cancers) to reduction in blood pressure (and therefore a reduction in heart disease). Further research is needed to examine all potential health benefits of seaweeds and determine their maximum therapeutic potential in terms of disease prevention and risk reduction.

Related: click here to register for a free nutrition consultation at FFC!

Seaweed’s most well-documented health benefit is that it is a phenomenal source of iodine, an essential element needed for thyroid regulation. The thyroid, which is a gland located in the neck, secretes and regulates various bodily hormones involved in everything from growth to metabolic regulation. Consuming healthy, adequate levels of iodine is key to maintaining a healthy thyroid – inadequate iodine can cause goiters, extreme fatigue, and even intellectual disability. However, as with all good things, moderation is the key to success! The same way too little iodine can be harmful, so can too much. Be sure to curb your intake if there are medical reasons to limit iodine.

How to Buy Seaweed 101

The 411 on common edible seaweeds: seaweeds are members of the algae family and are typically available in three varieties; red, green, and brown. The most commonly eaten varieties are red seaweed, which is used to form nori, and brown seaweed (such as kelp or wakame), which frequently finds its way into in soups and salads.

Related: try the souping diet! Check out this post to see why.

  • Nori – a red seaweed used most commonly for sushi rolls is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B12 while being lower in iodine than many other varieties of seaweeds.
  • Dulse – another red seaweed, this varietal is frequently consumed in its dried flakey form as a flavoring for soups, but can also be sautéed with a little butter and garlic for a lovely side dish.
  • Kelp – also known as “kombu,” this brown seaweed is very high in iodine and is often used in combination with dashi to make broth for soups, particularly miso soup.

30-Minute Recipe: Wakame Salad

(adapted from Karman Meyer, RD)

5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz dried wakame, rehydrated per package instructions
  • ½ medium seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into ⅛” slices
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded with a vegetable peeler or zoodler
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2.5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Drain all liquid from the rehydrated wakame and tear wakame into bite-sized pieces, as needed. Set aside in medium mixing bowl.

In a small dish, stir to combine: sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Pour this over the wakame.

Add sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots to the wakame dressing mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate to chill before serving; for best flavor, allow to marinate for 24 hours prior to serving.

Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top just before serving.

Post written by FFC contributor Carla Schmitz.

Are you someone who’s wondering how to shop organic? Or even wondering if you should? Even if you’re not ready to commit to buying EVERYTHING pesticide and additive-free, here is a quick guide on how to shop organic – plus some must-have items for your grocery list.

Beef

Due to the recent findings about red meat, it’s even more important to choose beef that hasn’t been given hormones or antibiotics, both of which can cause health concerns for humans.

Produce on the “Dirty Dozen” list

What’s on this “Dirty Dozen” list, you may ask? Produce such as apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, and potatoes are all included. Why? Because these foods have very high pesticide residues when grown conventionally.

During the winter months in Chicago, it can be difficult to find these local and organic produce because there must be some amount of pesticides added in order for them to grow in colder temperatures. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide which is more important to you and your family.

Related: have nutrition questions and want to set up a free 30-minute consultation with an on-site FFC registered dietitian? Click here!

Eggs and milk

Some studies suggest that organic eggs and milk are higher in nutrients and lower in pesticides and hormones. Although this isn’t proven, it’s still worth the money to buy these items organic—if for no other reason than their great taste!

Hot peppers and leafy greens (like kale & chard)

The pesticide counts in these products aren’t high enough to make the Dirty Dozen list, but they’re still pretty high. Purchase these organically to avoid the health concerns.

Related: avoid mood swings with these nutrition tips!

Have a question or a suggestions for an upcoming event you’d like to see? Leave a comment below!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

As you know, it’s important to not let your travel plans get in the way of your fitness goals. But what about your diet? The best option for traveling is to bring your own meals and snacks, at least for the airport. However, no matter how prepared you may try to be, there will always be a time when planning ahead and bringing snacks just can’t happen. Here are some options covering the best healthy food at the airport to help you stay on track.

Related: need some easy grab-and-go lunches for travel – or even for your desk? Here are some ideas, plus what makes up a well-balanced lunch!

  • Trail Mix: Choose the ones with just nuts and fruit, and make sure you only eat one portion at a time. One handful = one serving. (One serving is 1/4 cup, roughly 200 calories.)
  • Smoothies: With a little searching, you can usually find a Jamba Juice or another smoothie joint. Ask for one with more vegetables than fruit and <20 grams of sugar (no added sugar). Be sure to add protein to help keep you full longer!
  • Starbucks Bistro Boxes: It’s important to notice these are usually full meals in terms of calories, not snacks. However, it’s a great choice if you’re stuck in the airport during mealtimes or to bring with you on the plane.
  • Salads with grilled protein: This is always an okay option when you must eat at a restaurant. Opt out of the croutons, cheese, and bacon and measure out 1 tablespoon (about your thumb size) of dressing. Choose all the non-starchy vegetables you want!

As for those snacks to bring from home? Good options include whole fruit, mixed nuts and seeds and cut-up veggies, which can go a long way in saving calories and money while in transit. As an easy and inexpensive meal, bring a sandwich on whole grain bread or an “adult lunchable” with cheese, hummus, veggies and a hard boiled egg!

Related: to schedule a free consultation with a registered dietitian at FFC, click here!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

As a registered dietitian, I’m often asked, “What’s the best thing that I can do right now to eat healthier?” The short answer? Food prep! But today’s dizzying pace of life leaves all of us wishing we had a few extra hours in the day as we struggle to fit in work, family, friends, exercising, and healthy eating. So, shy of skipping out on sleep, what else is a busy health-conscious person to do? Dedicating just one or two hours a week to food prep can alleviate much of the hassle that comes from daily cooking (not to mention that it will help to keep you on track during the week when you might otherwise hear the take-out calling). Here are a few of my best food prep tips for beginners:

  1. Start small

You don’t have to make every meal of the week ahead of time. Simply having a few staple items prepared does wonders. Try keeping fresh cut vegetables, your favorite protein (like grilled chicken), and a healthy whole grain (such as cooked quinoa or brown rice) already prepared and handy in the fridge. With those three simple things prepared, you can throw together a quick stir-fry, an at-home-burrito-bowl, or a fancy salad in only a few minutes.

  1. Plan it out

Once you’re more comfortable with prepping ahead, sit down and make a plan for the items you want to prep for the week. Having a written plan not only helps to guide you in what you need to accomplish in the kitchen, but it also helps you write your grocery list.

  1. Measure twice, cut once

When writing your meal plan and considering food prep tips, try to re-use ingredients in multiple meals throughout the week. This way, when chopping up tomatoes for tacos tonight, you’re also chopping up the tomatoes that you’ll layer onto your salads over the next few days. Now there’s only one mess to clean, but multiple meals prepped!

Related: click here to sign up for a free consultation with a registered dietitian at FFC!

  1. Do double duty

If you’re going to take the time to make one meal, you might as well make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. By doing so, you’ll slowly stock your freezer with healthy “freezer meals” that only need a quick defrost and reheat. Foods that generally freeze well are soups (try this recipe!), stews, chili, and sauces.

  1. Don’t go overboard

Most foods only stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge, so too much food prep ahead of time can be wasteful unless it’s intended for the freezer. Using the 2/2/4 rule, remember that things should be completely chilled within 2 hours, stored in containers no more than 2 inches tall, and kept no longer than 4 days.

Did we miss one of your favorite food prep tips? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC contributor Carla Schmitz.

Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, sports supplements, amino acids, or combination of the above ingredients. Vitamins and supplements are growing in popularity among Americans, with approximately 68% of the population taking some form of dietary supplement.

User confidence of safety, effectiveness, and quality is also very high, at 84%. A large percentage of Americans also believe that supplements are a smart choice for a healthy lifestyle.

Taking Your Supplements with a Grain of Salt

However, it is important to understand that vitamins and supplements do not need to be proven safe and effective before marketing. Unlike medications, clinical trials are not required for dietary supplements.

Another misconception is that if x amount is necessary for optimal health, then three times that amount must be even better. This is not necessarily the case. Protein is a great example of a macronutrient that is necessary in ranges from 0.8-2.0 grams/kg body weight/day, but protein in excess of this does not contribute to increasing lean body mass.

How to Evaluate Dietary Supplements

How can consumers be protected? Here are 4 main guidelines you can keep in mind when looking at supplements. And of course, please remember to always check with your healthcare provider.

Be educated.

The supplement industry makes billions of dollars selling supplements that are not based on sound science. Supplement manufacturers can use industry funded research, or preliminary lab studies to support their claims.

Use reliable sources to evaluate supplements.

Websites including the office of dietary supplements and the Australia Sports Commission are good starting points.

Related: you might not need to be taking supplements for positive health changes – here are 5 spices that have great health benefits too!

Look for 3rd party certification.

These are independent agencies that test vitamins and supplements to ensure quality. Although they do not evaluate effectiveness, 3rd party certification can help ensure that what is listed on the label is actually contained in the supplement.

Note that each agency is different and such testing is essentially a snapshot in time of a particular product and is no guarantee that future batches will be the same. Some common 3rd party agencies include NSF International, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the Banned Substance Control Group, ConsumerLab and Informed-Choice.

Watch out for proprietary blends.

Proprietary blends allow manufacturers to list ingredients without listing exact amounts for each ingredients. This is especially concerning for supplements containing stimulants caffeine, synephrine, or yohimbine.

Post written by FFC registered dietitian contributor. 

 

 

When it comes to getting healthy, eating out can sabotage our efforts. Whether it’s takeout, delivery, or even a fancy restaurant, much of the food prepared in these establishments tends to be heavy in salt and fat. After all, the goal of any place selling food is to satisfy customers with delicious flavor. As customers, it’s natural that we like rich, fatty foods. Chefs tend to rely on salt, sugar, fat and dairy to make dishes more delicious – and that can show up around your waistline. On top of that, excuses for relying on eating out often are plentiful: lack of time, lack of energy, lack of cooking ability. My nutritious 5-minute Asian noodle bowl recipe is here to change that.

This quick, healthy dish is ready in just minutes. It uses a few key ingredients that you can always keep stocked in your pantry and freezer for easy access. Healthy buckwheat soba noodles and plant-based protein from edamame will leave you feeling satisfied and fueled for your next workout. Jazz it up with shredded cabbage, baby spinach, or sliced bell pepper. This noodle-bowl will “take-out” your excuses for “takeout”!

Related: sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an on-site registered dietitian at FFC – click here!

5 Minute Asian Noodle Bowl

  • Level: easy
  • Servings: 1
  • Ready in: 5 minutes

Ingredients

Quick Asian Peanut Sauce:

  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbs ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 tbs orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 1/8 tsp red chili flake
  • 1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

Noodle Bowl:

  • 1 (2 oz) bundle Soba noodles
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup shelled edamame

Related: need a quick boost of energy? Check out these nostalgic, yet adult-worthy PB & J Oat Bites!

Directions

Make the noodles. You can bring a pot of water to a boil. (This may add a few extra minutes, but will still be pretty fast).

Add the Soba noodles to boiling water.

Make the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime, red chili, tamari, and orange juice.

After the noodles cook for about 2 minutes, add the bean sprouts and edamame. Cook 1 more minute, until hot.

Drain noodle mixture. Toss with the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce and serve.

Chef’s Tip: Use an empty peanut butter jar to make a big batch of the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce. You can then whip up this bowl in even less time, or use it as a dressing for salad, a dip for veggies, or even poured over roasted sweet potatoes.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving (1 recipe)

Calories 445.44

Calories from Fat (34%) 152.39

  • % Daily Value
  • Total Fat 18.22g 28%
  • Saturated Fat 3.51g 18%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 773.95mg 32%
  • Potassium 744.9mg 21%
  • Total Carbohydrates 63.84g 21%
  • Fiber 4.47g 18%
  • Sugar 7.35g
  • Protein 21.43g 43%
  • Calcium 24.96mg 2%
  • Iron 62.53mg 347%
  • Vitamin A 43.18IU <1%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%

Post written by FFC Boystown Group Fitness Instructor Katie Simmons.

About Katie

Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC Boystown, and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend of mine recently told me she thinks I have FOMO, a fear of missing out. I thought about it, and the concept resonates: I do often feel conflicted when I want to have some downtime but an interesting activity or event comes up. I also have tried hang gliding, bungee jumping, skydiving; you get the picture—not because I’m a daredevil or an adrenaline junkie, but because I want to experience as many things as possible. It had not occurred to me before that there is a connection between this feeling and eating. But when my friend nabbed me with the FOMO label, it made me think back to my childhood and other times in my life where this showed up, and how it could make eating healthy difficult. Here’s why eating with mindfulness is important.

FOMO with Food

My grad school classmates would laugh at me because I’d lug around pretty much my entire kitchen to feel prepared for a long day of classes. And it’s not just me. There is this pervasive fear of missing out when it comes to food. This is probably one reason that most people I work with are fast eaters; it seems built into our DNA and likely served us well for evolutionary purposes. “Better get to it before someone (be it human or animal) does!”

It also seems like that’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to say no to those donuts your coworker brings in for an early office meeting, or a dessert you just have to try at that upscale restaurant downtown.

Related: want to master your meals? Sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an on-site registered dietitian – click here!

Or that, despite your best intentions of bringing your own healthy snacks to work, come 3 o’clock, the vending machine wins out over your trail mix or seemingly lackluster hummus and veggies. You don’t want to miss out on those flavors, the satisfaction, the buttery goodness, the sugar—right now.

So, are we doomed to feel like FOMO failures, or can we do something about this unsettled feeling? Here are a few simple tips to eat with more mindfulness that will help us feel more grounded when a food FOMO moment gets the better of us:

Self talk is powerful.

I like to tell myself in those moments is that I’ve had X (brownie, ice cream, pizza) before, or something similar, and I know what it tastes like. I know I will have it at some point again—so I don’t have to eat it this minute. One research study highlighted in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when people said “I can have it some other time” to themselves, it lessened the value of that food and allowed them to postpone eating it.

Keep in mind that the first three bites of any food are the most satisfying.

If you do want to indulge but you’re trying to reduce your portion size, try eating three bites and stopping after that—either by sharing, putting the food away, or possibly even throwing it away (although I also try to avoid wasting food—even indulgent ones!).

Related: take time to stop and smell the… food. 4 tricks to eating more intuitively! 

Think about the future.

When you feel tempted by certain foods, consider how much better your mind and body will actually feel when you choose healthier options, now and later in the day. You might think about having more energy in the afternoon if you choose a protein-filled snack rather than anticipating a late-day slump.

Feel the discomfort, move through it, and let it go.

This is kind of like grief or sadness, or any other uncomfortable feeling that you want to relieve. We naturally want to run away from yucky feelings. But when we sit with them with mindfulness instead of fight them (or in this case, eat the food), the moment often passes. And then, the need to eat this thing RIGHT NOW lifts, and we can wait another day—or longer.

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Cindy Klinger.

About Cindy

Cindy’s love of food led her to explore its health benefits, and the more she learned the more interested she became. After several years as a writer and editor for magazines, she decided to make a career change to help support people in reaching their health goals. As a dietitian (currently one of FFC’s on-staff registered dietitians), she has worked in a variety of settings, including with refugees, as a health coach, at a retirement home and with WIC (Women, Infants and Children).

Seeing people have “aha” moments and make small and significant changes that profoundly affect their wellbeing is extremely rewarding to Cindy. She enjoys the process of communicating and sharing questions and answers with clients around their health and wellness concerns. Cindy’s approach is a blend of lessons she’s learned along the way, and she strives to think outside the box and help make the process a fun one for her clients. Want to set up a complimentary consultation? Email her at cklinger@ffc.com!

As a generally healthy individual, I eat my daily greens, stay away from added sugar and include protein and healthy fats in my diet. This, we have learned, is probably the most important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. Beyond that, though, there is actually much more we can do for our diet in addition to just eating the right foods. This is where the health benefits of spices come into play. Spices are more than just a way to change up your normal chicken and rice!

Not only that, but using these different spices in place of salt will significantly reduce your sodium intake which may aid in lowering blood pressure! Check out this list of 5 spices you need to add to your diet for health benefits.

*As a note, please always check with your healthcare provider before including any of these in your diet.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is most commonly associated with baking, and thereby falls into the off-limits category of “added sugars”. However, you can gain a ton of benefits from this spice. Not only that, but health benefits to active people are especially huge!

Cinnamon has a big-time effect on insulin sensitivity, thereby improving the body’s ability to use glucose. What does that mean? Your body will more efficiently digest and absorb your food after a meal, which will regulate weight gain. Other benefits of cinnamon include raising good cholesterol, potentially lowering bad cholesterol and reducing inflammation.

How To:

Just ½ – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon will allow you to reap its benefits – add it to your daily post-workout shake, coffee, oatmeal, yogurt, or even to meat to give it a smoky taste!

Related: wanna take your boring oatmeal from meh to magical? Cinnamon can help – plus some of these other low-sugar add-ins!

Cayenne Pepper

If you don’t like spicy foods, you may need to tone this one down a bit! Cayenne pepper aids in digestion and muscle cramps and has been known to fight off cold and flu bugs. This hot spice can also help lower high cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

For those leading an active lifestyle, this spice also helps to relieve joint and other severe-level pain while also aiding in weight loss. It’s high in vitamins A and E, so it also contributes to healthy vision and skin as well as slowing the aging process.

How To:

I like to mix a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with ¼ – ½ a lemon and hot water and drink it (be prepared for a fiery mouth!) but you can also add this to any meal to spice it up.

Turmeric

Turmeric goes back many, many years as being known for its medicinal qualities. This intense spice has some of the most exciting attributes, including reducing risk for heart disease, preventing cancer, Alzheimer’s and fighting depression.

On a more day-to-day scale, this spice acts as an anti-inflammatory, increases antioxidants in the body and improves memory. It can also delay aging and age-related chronic diseases.

Related: register to talk to a dietitian and receive a free 30-minute nutrition consultation at FFC!

How To:

You can buy turmeric in powder form and even pill form, but always try and pair it with black pepper to enhance the benefits. I add ½ teaspoon of turmeric and a dash of pepper to my eggs everyday. You can also make tasty ethnic dishes using turmeric.

Crushed Red Pepper

In my opinion, crushed red pepper is an easy spice to add to your diet, as most of us have tried it on pizza at some point in our lives. But did you know that crushed red pepper has huge health benefits? Crushed red pepper has something called capsaicin—which is responsible for many health benefits, including acting as a painkiller.

Crushed red pepper also has been known to increase metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant. It can also boost immunity and increase antioxidants.

How To:

Add ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper to your eggs in the morning (along with your turmeric and pepper), or on top of salads, fish, or other proteins.

Related: speaking of benefits, check out the awesome benefits of matcha in this post!

Garlic

My personal favorite spice for benefits is garlic. I add garlic to everything I eat… except maybe my morning oatmeal! Garlic has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol, risk for heart disease and risk for cancer. That, in and of itself, is enough for me!

It has also been proven to fight infection, viruses, and the common cold. Additionally, some studies have also shown that garlic can improve athletic performance and bone health.

How To:

Like I said, I add garlic to everything. My personal favorite is marinating chicken in garlic and olive oil with some red wine vinegar. Plus, you can add garlic powder to any recipe without adding a significant caloric increase!

Related: many of these spices (like garlic) can SERIOUSLY elevate your meal prep game – cook up a big batch of seasoned veggies for easy meal sides! Check out more ideas here.

Post written by FFC Group Fitness Instructor Tiffany Florczak.

T Florczak group fitness instructor at FFC

 

About Tiffany

Tiffany is a group fitness instructor at multiple FFC locations. She currently specializes in strength-based formats, but you can find her teaching on a spin bike soon! Tiffany enjoys spending her free time in the weight room of FFC, experimenting with healthy recipes in the kitchen, or exploring Chicago’s food scene.

Come to her weekly classes ready to sweat – check out her weekly schedule below. You can also follow her on Instagram HERE for daily workout ideas to try on your own, or find her on Facebook  HERE. 

 

 

 

We’re bringing you a mini-series to introduce and examine some of the top nutrition trends. We’ll explore what’s hot, where we’re seeing it, why it’s gaining popularity, and what’s in store for the future. In this post, we’ll go through the trend of the low sugar diet, benefits and how you can try it on your own.

Added sugar has been in the spotlight lately, especially as research continues to emerge linking excess sugar to a host of metabolic dysfunction and disease.The average American consumes more than 20 teaspoons of sugar daily. Comparing that figure to the recommended daily limits of 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women shows the impact that food manufacturers truly have on our sugary bottom line.

Journalists and health advocates alike have taken food manufacturers to task in recent month calling for a reduction in the sweet stuff and the importance of educating people on a low sugar diet. Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, has outright declared a ‘War on Sugar,’ and numerous highly regarded commercial publications have been raising awareness of the health impacts of added sugar.

So, what’s this mean for the future? As focus on the added sugar issue grows, expect to see demand for (and, subsequently, the supply of) “reduced sugar,” “no sugar added,” and “alternatively sweetened” products to rise. Look for food manufacturers to make the move towards less refined, natural sweeteners like dates, honey, and agave.

There will also be an increase in products made with “all natural” sugar substitutes like Stevia, Truvia, Sweetleaf, Whey Low, and Xylitol. Expect to see one nutrient benefit from this sugar crusade: fat. When the low-fat craze hit in the 1980’s, food manufacturers replaced fat with sugar to keep our taste buds happy (and our wallets open). It’s a safe bet that many companies will offer product lines, especially dressings and dairy that return normal-fat content and reduce the amount of added sugars.

Related: register to talk to a dietitian and receive a free 30-minute nutrition consultation at FFC!

Low-Sugar Recipe Hack: Make Your Own “Added Sugar” Flavored Yogurt Substitutes

Greek yogurt is all the rage right now, and rightfully so – it packs a high-protein punch. But not all yogurts are created equal. With some commercially prepared flavored yogurts containing as many as 22 grams of sugar for a measly 6 ounces of yogurt, it’s buyer beware in the yogurt aisle. So skip the stress and the worry – make your own! Below are a few recipes to make your yogurt flavorful and nutritious.

Fruit On The Bottom Yogurt

Each of the fruit + honey combinations below is approximately 12 grams sugar, total, cutting approximately 5-10 grams of added sugar from commercial yogurt brands while adding more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and overall volume to your yogurt.

Step 1: Pick one fruit option from the list below
Step 2: Mash or dice your fruit to your preference
Step 3: Mix in ½ TBSP honey, if needed (optional)
Step 4: Add 6 oz plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt
Step 5: Enjoy!

  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 6 medium strawberries
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 2/3 cup raspberries
  • ½ small peach
  • ¼ cup pineapple chunks

Related: fast, convenient snack options (for when you’re in the airport, for example) without added sugar can be hard to find. Check out this post for some tips and options!

Flavorful Low-Sugar Combos

Not a fruit-in-my-yogurt person? Fear not! There are plenty of other options out there that are high in flavor and low in sugar. Add any of the following options below to 6 oz of plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt:

Post written by an FFC contributor.