What’s the Problem with My “Healthy” Bowl of Oatmeal?

Food manufacturers have clever ways to market foods to us. Unfortunately, many foods that have a reputation for being healthy are no more than junk food disguised as a healthy food choice. I commonly see people under the influence of a “health halo” effect. This is due to strategic marketing efforts. People overestimate the nutritional value of a food that is labeled “good for you” or they underestimate the negative impact of a food because it contains a healthful ingredient, like flaxseed or fiber. In fact, a recent study from the University of Houston found that terms on food labels such as antioxidants, all-natural, and gluten-free often are used to give an otherwise standard food a "healthy" halo, and influence consumption from the well- intended consumer.

Case in point-- oatmeal. We’ve all heard about the cholesterol lower benefits from soluble fiber contained in oatmeal. It’s blasted all over packages with a paid endorsement from The American Heart Association. However, that’s not the whole story. Most people enjoy a cup of oatmeal with one to two tablespoons of added sugar and fruit such as a ripe, yellow banana. In other words, let’s enjoy a bowl of “send my blood sugar through the roof” high glycemic oatmeal. The glycemic index of oatmeal is 55, and instant oatmeal is 83. Top that with more table sugar, glycemic index 58-65 and better yet top that with a high glycemic, ripe banana with a GI of 62.

Preparing one packet of regular instant oatmeal with one tablespoon of sugar and a medium ripe banana five days per week would result in the sugar equivalent of more than 5 1/2 cups of sugar per month!

Furthermore, the story many Americans are missing is all of that sugar intake, from their so-called “healthy” bowl of oatmeal, actually raises small-dense LDL cholesterol particles, increases blood sugar and contributes to insulin resistance, faulty gut flora, and belly fat.

How do we improve upon our bowl of oatmeal? Enjoy a bowl of hot coconut flaxseed cereal, eggs any variety of ways, or last night’s leftover salmon and vegetables.

The Cureality program provides tools, guidance, and support that does not follow the party line but rather offers nutrition solutions that address the underlying causes for proliferation of many chronic diseases.

How Can I Lose Weight Eating Fat?

For new comers to the Cureality nutrition approach, this question may invariably pop up. For many years, fats and oils, whether classified as good or bad, were demonized because they contain 9 calories per gram. Meaning, they contain more than twice the 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein.

So this familiar logic stated, if you eat less fat, which by default meant more carbohydrate, you would eat fewer calories and lose weight. This misguided logic was based on the assumption that caloric density was the primary reason people either gained or lost weight. The result - obesity rates have climbed and low-fat diet recommendations have proven unsuccessful in thwarting the battle of the bulge.

Why? There are a multitude of reasons, as discussed in the Cureality Diet Track. The following two explanations are important to to avoid needlessly suffering on a low-fat diet.

1) Appetite satiation is drive by insulin response, not calorie density.

Meals that trigger a substantial insulin response trigger increased appetite and fat storage. Carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, whole wheat waffles, and fruit juice trigger insulin release. Continuous insulin provocation equates to one heck of a time trying to lose weight, as insulin is a fat-storage hormone. In comparison, oils and fats are the least insulin provoking with protein a close second. Consuming adequate fat intake is essential to quench appetite and avoid the insulin surges and crashes that are the result of eating plenty of “healthy whole grains”.

2) Modern wheat increases appetite thereby increasing intake.

Portion control becomes a major challenge because the gliadin protein in modern wheat stimulates appetite to the tune of 400 calories more per day, 365 days per year. That’s a recipe for weight gain, not loss.

The Cureality nutrition approach encourages the generous use of healthy fats and oils to support healthy weight loss and cardiovascular health. These topics are discussed in much more detail in the Cureality Member Forum.

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Nutrition Coach

Condition Afflicts Millions: Do you have “YBS”?

After one of the harshest winters, spring has finally arrived.  The welcomed warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours infuse us with a sense of renewal and new beginnings.   Low and behold we begin to come out of hibernation and start the mad dash to engage in positive lifestyle changes such as eating better, exercising, proper sleep and taking appropriate nutritional supplements.  But invariably, life happens.  

Yep, just when you were about to get started, it happens.  YBS sets in.   I see this “condition” all too often with clients attempting to enter or re-enter into any number of behavior changes.  I will go so far as to say we all have been afflicted at one point or another in our lives.  I call this condition Yeah But Syndrome, or “YBS”.    It is often paralyzing and prevents those afflicted from moving into action, instead remaining in a state of inertia.  

There are many symptoms of YBS but the following are some of the most common.  

Yeah I planned to go to the gym today BUT, the kids needed a ride to practice.  
Yeah I really want to eat better BUT I don’t have the time.   
Yeah I didn’t plan to eat the cake BUT my husband wanted too, so I did also.   
Yeah I really meant to go to the grocery shopping BUT I was too tired, so I hit the drive- thru.  
Or this is a good one. Yeah I meant to start today BUT, I’ll start tomorrow.  

But tomorrow never comes.  You get the drift.  We can all come up with a million yeah buts, in other words, excuses.    The good news is the treatment for YBS is simple--just do it!  Take action.  The reality of today’s 24-7 planet is there will always be something.  The kids, work commitments, family obligations and various projects that need your attention will perpetually be present in some shape or form.  The difference to make the difference is to learn to dance in the rain, not wait for the rain to pass.  When will all the stars align so that your world will be “just right” to start?  If not NOW, WHEN will you begin?  

The key word here is begin.   Far too frequently, I coach clients that shoot themselves in the foot before they start.   Instead of consuming yourself with all the barriers to entry, select reasonable, low-hanging fruit that is “doable.”    The art of lifestyle change is to avoid all-or-nothing thinking and begin to appreciate what you CAN do, versus focusing energy on what you can’t do.  What is one action you can do TODAY to move toward your wellness goal(s)?  Start to focus on what you can do in the mist of your existing life demands. This mantra is a friendly reminder: BE-DO-HAVE.  Be committed.  Do what it takes.  And you will have results.  

Lastly, if you think removing cereal from your morning routine it is too difficult and you can’t do it. Guess what-- you’re likely right.   What you think is what you get!   But what if you think instead, “I can do this.  There are many truly healthy options for breakfast to replace cereal such as eggs and veggies that will help me look and feel my best.”  Then guess what--you will!  This simple change in mind-set can start a tidal wave of change and prevent you from abandoning ship when life tosses you into rough waters.  Ongoing support is hugely important to sustain lifestyle changes.  Join the conversations in the Cureality Forum to engage the support of health coaches and Cureality Members to stay on track.