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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

5 Eating Habits Causing Chaos on Your Blood Sugar, Say Dietitians — Eat This Not That

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Maintaining balanced blood sugar is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health—not only does it positively affect your energy and mood, but it can also help to prevent serious chronic diseases and conditions.

According to Kate Kanner, RD, a rollercoaster of constant blood sugar spikes and crashes can make it harder for your body to efficiently move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells that need it for energy. This is known as insulin resistance. Over time, if glucose levels in the blood stream stay elevated for too long, that can cause damage to the blood vessels, nerves, and even organs.

“When blood sugar levels are not maintained, you are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, brain fog, insulin resistance, and energy crashes,” says Elizabeth Arensberg, MS, RD. “Food plays a major role in balanced blood sugar. The best way to prevent crashes is to eat balanced meals—fill half your plate with veggies, and divide the other half equally into protein and starchy vegetables or whole grains with healthy fats.”

If keeping your blood sugar in the target range is a top priority for you, here are some eating habits experts say you’ll definitely want to avoid. Then, for more healthy tips, here are the Best Breakfast Habits to Lower Your Blood Sugar.

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This probably goes without saying, but regularly eating candy, processed sugar-laden cereals, or other foods consisting essentially of straight sugar with little nutrients are a big no-no, according to Dana Ellis Hunnes, a senior registered dietitian at UCLA medical center and author of Recipe for Survival.

For example, it’s much better to have an egg and avocado on toast rather than just jam, or a bowl of oatmeal with banana and peanut butter rather than just a plain banana. The latter options will increase your blood sugar very rapidly, whereas the former has key macronutrients like fiber, protein, and fat, to ensure a slower and more gradual release of glucose.

“When we eat high amounts of carbs or sugars, high amounts of glucose get dumped into the bloodstream,” says Arensberg. “Blood sugar levels will shoot up and are much higher than your body can handle. Then, your pancreas has to pump out a lot of insulin to help manage the glucose spike. This will then cause the high blood sugar levels to crash, causing an energy slump.”

Eat this, not that

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White bread, tortillas, and pasta, as well as pastries or other foods made with white flour, are not ideal for regulating your blood sugar, according to David Brendan, RD, founder of Start Rowing.

“Most refined grains lack protein and fiber,” says Katie Tomaschko, MS, RDN, a contributor at Sporting Smiles. “Thus, eating too many refined grains—especially with nothing else—will cause blood sugar spikes and drops.”

As a general rule, Tomaschko says it’s best to always opt for whole grains whenever possible—for instance, brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, and oatmeal instead of a refined grain breakfast cereal.

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“If you go too long without eating a meal or a snack, our blood sugar levels will drop too much,” says Kanner. “This is also known as hypoglycemia, and it results in feelings of lethargy and tiredness because your body literally does not have the energy to perform all its usual functions. Your brain’s preferred energy source is also glucose, so mental cognition can also take a hit when blood sugar levels drop.”

This is especially true if you skip breakfast, according to Arensberg.

When you wake up, you need to fuel your body and provide it with the macronutrients it needs to make energy,” she explains. “If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to feel groggy and irritable. Eating breakfast that’s high in protein and healthy fats within the first hour of waking is a great way to start your day off with steady energy.”

If you know you have a busy day ahead, keep some protein- and fiber-rich snacks on hand, like an apple and some almonds or whole-grain crackers and hummus, to prevent your blood sugar level from dipping too low as a result of not eating. And if you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, Kanner highly advises having a balanced snack in the evening—otherwise, blood sugar levels can drop too low overnight.

“The body has a mechanism where it can start to break down stored sugar from the liver when it recognizes this,” she says. “So, blood sugars can be high in the morning because the body has gone into panic mode and resorted to its backup method to get sugar into the bloodstream. Eating a balanced snack in the evening can help blood sugar levels stay more stable through the night.”

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Did you know that dehydration negatively affects blood sugar? According to Tomaschko, your body produces a hormone called vasopressin when you don’t drink enough water. Vasopressin causes your kidneys to retain fluid and stops the body from flushing out excess sugar in your urine.

Consistently drinking water throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable. Remember: the ideal intake will depend on your size, diet, level of physical activity, health condition, and other factors. That said, The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends that men drink 125 ounces (3.7 liters) a day, and women drink 91 ounces (2.7 liters) a day.

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Dietitians say drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks, and some fruit juices, is one of the worst habits you can have when it comes to your blood sugar. Again, this is because these drinks are essentially “empty calories” that provide no other nutrients like fiber, fat, and protein to slow down the absorption of sugar.

Worse yet—liquids are digested and absorbed far faster than solid foods, so they may spike your blood sugar even faster and more dramatically than a piece of cake or a muffin, which at least has some starch in it. That may explain why a 2018 study in The BMJ found that Sugar-sweetened drinks pose a greater risk of type 2 diabetes than most other foods containing fructose.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average can of sugar-sweetened soda or fruit punch packs 150 calories, almost all of which comes from added sugar. And a 2010 study published in Diabetes Care found that participants who drank one to two servings of sweetened beverages a day had a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who had less than one serving a month.

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Expert’s nutrition tips for runners

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Running is a very popular sport, thanks to its simplicity and many health and fitness benefits. It’s versatile and inexpensive, requires very little equipment, and it’s an excellent way to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

Nutrition plays an important part in optimum running performance. pexels

With the competitive nature of the sport, runners continuously challenge themselves and each other to improve. In addition to training, proper fuel for the body is vital for peak sports performance.

Noted medical and nutrition specialist Dr. Korakod Panich provided the five best nutrients for optimal running performance.

Nutrition is important for runners because it plays a vital role in overall health and can also support performance. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include these five key nutrients:

1. Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates—which can be found in food such as fruits, dairy products, and starches such as rice, bread, and pasta—are the most important source of energy for the body.

For runners, a small meal, taken an hour before running, consisting of carbohydrates and a bit of protein can provide the energy needed to run effectively. A smoothie made with milk and fruit, or some yogurt topped with berries, provides the nutrients needed and is easily digested before a workout.

Consuming the right amount of carbohydrates before exercising can help you maximize your workout.

2. Protein
Protein—found in meat, milk, eggs, and soy—helps repair and rebuild tissues and muscles that could be affected during physical activities. With the proper amount of protein and adequate sleep, muscles repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Soy is a good protein source as it is one of the few complete plant-based proteins containing all of the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Runners should consume a combination of carbs and protein 30 to 45 minutes after exercising.

Carb to protein ratio should be 2-3:1, with 20 grams of high-quality protein after a workout and between 40 and 60 grams of carbohydrate. A sandwich on whole-grain bread with a piece of fruit or a high-protein recovery shake would fill the bill.

3.Fat
Fat serves as an essential energy source. It is often used as fuel, particularly during moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for an extended period, such as a moderate jog lasting at least 30 minutes or so. The body will utilize more fat than carbohydrate for fuel in an attempt to conserve carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles.

Choose beneficial fats—such as those found in olive oil, avocado, and nuts—and avoid saturated fats¬¬that can raise the risk of heart disease. This means staying away from fatty red meats, and ultra-processed foods, such as fast food or bakery items.

4. Vitamins and minerals
There are different kinds of vitamins and minerals that help maintain the balance in body system functions; fruits and vegetables are the best sources to obtain them. During exercise, the body excretes waste in the form of sweat, which also removes important minerals from the body. If you opt to exercise for more than one hour, energy and mineral drinks are highly recommended to replace lost fluids and minerals.

5.Water
The human body is made up of 70 percent water, which is why staying hydrated is crucial. Water helps deliver nutrients to the cells and plays a significant role in eliminating waste. Runners need to maintain body water balance before, during, and after workouts because water provides nourishment that the body needs for almost every single function. It also helps limit changes in body temperature.

Make sure not to lose more than two percent of your body weight in fluids during exercise, as it can reduce your strength and affect performance. If you exercise regularly, check your weight before and after a workout to keep track of water loss and be sure to replace those losses. For every pound of weight lost during exercise, replace with 2-3 cups of fluid (or 1 liter of fluid for every kilogram lost during exercise).

Nutrition and running style

Aside from understanding the importance of nutrients, it is also essential for new runners to learn the proper way to run. Running not just makes our bodies stronger; it also helps burn calories and fat, depending on the goal.

If you have little time and would like to burn calories and fat, you can do interval training, which alternates short work intervals (80-90 percent of maximum heart rate for 30-60 seconds) with rest periods (50 percent of maximum heart rate for 1-2 minutes). This helps improve circulation and enable the heart to pump blood and make it healthier while strengthening the muscles.

If your main aim is to burn fat, and you have some time, you can run slowly to raise your heart rate to 40-60 percent of your maximum, for at least 45-60 minutes.

Korakod Panich is a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board.

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Weekly Spotlight: Make the Perfect Spring Vegan Pasta Salad!

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Pasta salad is a wonderful spring meal, plus it’s a wonderful plant-based meal that can easily be veganized! It’s a meal that you can add any veggie that you want to, making it super versatile for this time of year. When spring produces like arugula, garlic and some herbs are hitting their peak season, you might have extra veggies on hand or are looking for a way to clear out some veggies from your fridge. Pasta salad is also easy to whip up, and you can either do a simple dressing or a more involved creamy dressing to top it.

Depending on your time and how you want to enjoy your pasta salad, this guide splits pasta salad recipes depending on their sauce base. The simple oil and garlic type dressings are lighter in flavor, allowing whatever you hand (veggies or herbs) to stand out in your final pasta salad. However, if you’re looking for a creamier and more hands-on homemade dressing, we’ve got you covered too! These are topped with a dressing that uses a base of tahini, tofu, or even hemp seeds to create a delicious creamy dressing. The last group focuses on taking a traditional pasta salad adding a twist, like a clever flavor or mixing up the base grain!

We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster app — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based, and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Weekly Meal Plan Archives!

Are you ready to have a week full of delicious, high-protein, whole-food vegan food that leaves you nourished and content? Let’s get started!

This week, we’re bringing delicious pasta salad recipes that are fully vegan and plant-based!

Pasta Salads that Use a Mayo, Sour Cream, or Simple Oil Dressing:

Vegan Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

Source: Spring Pea and Arugula Pasta Salad

These quick pasta salads are great to throw together for the week! Their light dressing makes it excellent to eat on its own to get a variety of simple flavors and enjoy the fresher crunch of the veggies in these dishes.

Pasta Salads that Use a Tofu, Tahini, Homemade, or Cashew Based Dressing

Vegan Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

Source: Easy Vegetable Pasta Salad

These creamy pasta salads are excellent to enjoy on their own, or if you’re looking to add even more veggies, you could enjoy these over a base of greens for an extra crunch of texture! There are so many ways to make a creamy pasta salad with vegan ingredients; you could use cashews, tofu, tahini, or even hemp hearts to get a creamy sauce.

Pasta Salads that Are a Twist on a Classic Dish:

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Source: Greek Pasta Salad with Tofu Feta

Cacio e Pepe as a pasta salad? Using orzo instead of pasta? There are so many ways to change up the flavors and inspiration you use for your pasta salads. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a new way of eating pasta salad, this is your list right here!

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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, good health other more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.

For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster app which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental other health benefits of a plant based diet.

Here are some resources to get you started:

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

Food Therapist Debunks Myths About Veganism

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Veganism is a lifestyle that is based on the ideology that humans should not exploit animals or the environment for their needs. Vegans refrain from utilizing any kind of animal products for food, clothing, or work, among other things, and they do not differentiate between any species as they consider all animals equal. Simply put, veganism is the practice of avoiding the use of any animal products—particularly in our diet—including meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Myths about veganism

Additionally, there are countless myths, misconceptions, and assumptions about being vegan from all corners. We got Nidhi Nahata—Founder, Justbe Resto Cafe, Bangalore, and food therapist—to debunk a few common floating speculations.

1. Milk has a lot of calcium

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There is an existing misconception that only cow milk contains calcium. So, what is the optimal source of calcium? Like plenty of other nutrients, calcium is readily available in a variety of plant-based foods that are better absorbed by the body than dairy. Think broccoli, cabbage, kale, almonds, chia, beans, pulses, leafy vegetables, and more. Therefore, even if you are not vegan, having a wide range of calcium sources in your diet can be a healthier option.

2. Animal protein is more important than plant protein

7 myths about veganism
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Incidentally, the animals that are consumed for so-called protein are fed on a plant based diet, which basically means that we are consuming the same and/or processed protein through dead tissues or extracted produce from an animal. For those on the lookout for plant-based protein sources, there are plenty of options like soya, lentils, pulses, broccoli, seaweed, peas, spinach, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, peanuts, cashews, almonds , pistachios, walnuts, oats, and seitan tofu.

3. Vegans have B12 deficiency

Vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians—all could have deficiency because of vitamin B12, which is a bacteria found in nature. The sources of vitamin B12 are commonly questioned in reference to being vegan, since the most common source is assumed to be animals and animal products. But the reality is that vegans can achieve the intake needed through reliable sources, such as supplements or fortified foods.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Vitamin B12 is produced by certain microorganisms and is processed while consuming cobalt from a plant base. However, our modern day agriculture prevents these nutrients to be transferred into our bodies through either sources-–animals or plants. Therefore, vegans, vegetarians, or non-vegetarians need to normally be given cobalt or B12 supplements to attain suitable levels regardless of their dietary preference.

4. Vegan lifestyle is very expensive

food item
Credit: iStock

The limited accessibility to vegan food and alternatives is one of the biggest restrictive misconnects prevalent in our society. The reality is that, similar to any diet, plant-based eating is only expensive if there are a lot of quick-to-eat processed foods, readymade meal preps, and products from vegan-specific brands. There are plenty of vegan foods and ingredients that are affordable in India, especially if the diet is centered around cheaper foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans, and several others. Good planning can make vegan diet more affordable than the ones that include animal products.

5. Pregnant women need milk and dairy

7 myths about veganism
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“You cannot be vegan when pregnant” is a common misconception for soon-to-be vegan parents. The basic fact is that pregnancy is a challenge for the body, no matter what diet you are on and usually requires additional nutrients. It is advised to be closer to iron and vitamin B12, which can be attained on a vegan diet as well. The tradition of milk being one of the most integral components of our diet has been prevalent for decades. We need to be mindful and bring logical reasoning in choosing food for soon-to-be parents as well as children.

6. Soy increases the chances of breast cancer

  7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

There is no convincing evidence that eating soy-based food increases the risk of breast cancer in humans. This misunderstanding, however, might arise from earlier studies conducted on rodents. Scientists of this study showed that when these animals received large amounts of soy-compounds called flavones, they showed likelihood to develop breast cancer.

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

A study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, in February 2020, searched associations between soy intake and breast cancer risk by following 52,795 cancer-free women in the US for an average of 7.9 years. In the results, they found no substantial association between soy intake and breast cancer, but they did identify a link between dairy (milk) and breast cancer.

Soy as an ingredient is loaded with fiber and is a good source of protein, omega 3, and antioxidants. Research also suggests that soy has a good amount of protein which is well absorbed by the body, and the best way to consume it is in bean form, tofu, tempeh, and other such forms.

7. Veganism is a cult

7 myths about veganism
Credit: iStock

Being compassionate and conscious can never be a cult. Veganism is a lifestyle that utilizes an ideology to bring people closer to their instincts. This means bringing us closer to eating what nature has designed and grown for us, rather than exploiting animals and other sentient beings.

Lead Image Credit: Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam Dhar, Instagram

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