In last month’s newsletter, we told you about how amazingly economical our bodies are (see article here).  Our bodies actually learn from the way we regularly eat and the way we work out, and adapt enough that they anticipate what we will do so that they can function in the most economical way. 

Another thing that is amazingly economical of our bodies is that as we age, they require fewer and fewer calories to accomplish the same tasks.  It kind of stinks, because just as we get to the age where we may be financially able to afford more of the rich, succulent foods, or we learn how to prepare these amazing meals for ourselves, we find that eating as much as we want leaves deposits of fat in places we don’t want them. 

You may have been able to eat 4 slices of pizza when you were 20, and you never noticed that your pants felt tight the next day, but now that you’re …ahem…older, 2 slices can be all it takes to have to unbutton the waist band, or plan on stretchy pants the next day.  This can happen even if you exercise more than you did at a younger age.  Aging bodies just need fewer calories to function.  Think of it like any manual skill.  When you first attempt something new – lots of effort is required, but after you become adept at that skill, you can do it effortlessly.  Bodies are amazing that way – but for those of us struggling with our weight because we still want to eat the way we did when we were younger – that economy of the body doesn’t seem so great! 

It is vitally important that we understand what kind of foods we can eat so that we get maximum nutritional value and that we don’t eat “empty calories”. Empty calories come from foods that offer little or no nutritional value while piling on the calories.  Sugar is the best known “empty calorie” food, but do you know that you can read a label that doesn’t list sugar as an ingredient, but it still contains empty calories?  The following list (and it isn’t little) are words to look for that are basically sugar in disguise.  If they are listed on the label, remember that they are adding to your calorie consumption, while getting no nutritional benefits.


Agave nectar Barley malt syrup Barley Malt Beet sugar
Brown sugar Buttered syrup Cane juice Cane juice crystals
Caramel Carob syrup Corn sweetener Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Date sugar Dehydrated cane juice Dextrose Diastatic malt
Ethyl maltol Fructose Fruit juice Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose solids Golden sugar Golden syrup Grape sugar
Glucose High-fructose corn syrup Honey Invert sugar
Lactose Maltodextrin Malt syrup Maltose
Mannitol Maple syrup Molasses Raw sugar
Refiner’s syrup Rice syrup Saccharose Sorbitol
Sorghum or sorghum syrup Sucrose Sugar Syrup
Treacle Turbinado sugar Xylose Yellow sugar


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