www.whyville.net Jan 23, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

No Sugar, No Carbs, Fat Free

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Last night I was watching "Good Eats" and it got me thinking. Alton Brown was going on one of his usual rants and talking about the good fats and carbs and other foods, and how they aren't all bad.


The typical reaction of a teenage girl to normal food:
"Ew calories! I can't eat this! Ew and there's fat and this, ew and carbs!

The typical reaction of a teenage girl to any food with a label that says "low fat", "no carbs" or "only 100 calories!":
"Oh this is low fat, I can definitely eat this!" or "Oh look, no carbs, yum!"

Let us pause for a moment and take a look at the movie A Cinderella Story.

Shelby: What can I get here that has no sugar, no carbs, and is fat free?
Sam: Uhh, water.

If water is the only thing with no sugar no carbs and is fat free is water the only thing that's good for you? You can't survive on just water, your body needs these things to survive. You just have to know how much and what kinds. Allow me to explain.

Carbs, also known as carbohydrates:

Some recent popular diets may have led you to believe that carbohydrates are a "no-no." I'm sure you've all seen the popular Atkins diet or the South Beach diet, making you think that having no carbs in your body is the best thing for you. There are some types of carbohydrates that are bad for you, but you need them in your diet somewhere. Low carb diets can be ok, but anything that cuts out carbohydrates completely is very unhealthy. Carbohydrates give you energy and they help your brain work. Some foods have carbs that your body can digest easily which makes you hungry faster, but many carbs are good for you such as fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain carbs that your body needs, they also contain fiber. You should also eat whole grains and potatoes. Starchy carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy, and you can also eat them and still lose weight. They'll give you energy, and these carbs keep you fuller longer.


Fats are not bad. If you're eating the right kind of fat, that is. Most people assume anything that is low in fat can help you lose weight. But most things that are low fat can contain other innutritious ingredients that in fact, won't make you lose weight. In the words of Alton Brown, "If you're fat, don't blame fats because fats are good!" You just have to eat the right kinds. Unsaturated fats are the natural fats found in plant foods and fish. For example, they are found in peanuts and salmon. These are the fats that are best for your body, and most of the fats you intake should come from unsaturated fats. There are also saturated fats and trans fats. These are the fats you should eat very little of. Saturated fats are found in meats, butter, milk, and cheese. These fats are found in margarine and certain foods you buy at stores or restaurants. Too much of these fats can cause high cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease. Your body needs fats for energy so if you're eating unsaturated fats and fats with lots of protein, you're eating the right fats.


Some sugars are bad for you, but how do you know which ones? When you look on a food label look for sugars like fructose, glucose, and galactose. These sugars are the three most important sugars your body needs. These sugars are found in fruits and vegetables such as berries, melons, beets, and onions. The sugar in most candies and soft drinks that you probably most often see is called sucrose. These sugars may also be found in the form of syrups so you may want to watch out for that on food labels also. Sugar is not always healthy for you, and you shouldn't eat much of it, but that doesn't mean you have to cut it from your diet completely.

So you see, not all carbs, fats, and sugars are bad, you just have to know how to choose the right ones to eat. I leave you with a recipe that makes a good snack and is rich in nutrients of good fats, carbs and sugars.

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup 3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries

Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

This is Morgan612 off to make some scrumptious granola bars.

Author's Note: The recipe came from an episode of "Good Eats" and you can find more recipes at foodnetwork.com


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