RFNH = “Real Food Nutrition & Health” Study. My children and I are working our way through Kristen Michaelis’ book, Real Food Nutrition and Health, during the fall and winter months as part of our homeschooling curriculum. If you’re following along, or falling behind, no worries! This series will be here for you whenever you’re ready. And even if you’re not quite caught up, feel free to jump in regardless.
Click here to read more about the study and get the proposed schedule, as well as current and past downloadable discussion questions/activities each week — which you can save for the future if you’re not going to participate now.
Chapter 9: Sweeteners
Click here for Chapter 9’s discussion questions/activities (a free PDF download).
My parents are visiting us, and even though we’ve got some time off homeschooling to enjoy being with them, we read Chapter 9 and chapter 10 with them. Chapter 9, on sweeteners, was well laid out and understandable, covering the main point of sweets: they make you fat.
“When you eat sugar, your body stops burning fat as a fuel source. By eating a diet unnaturally high in sugars, we are training our body’s metabolism to store fat.”
The Worst “Natural” Sweeteners
While sweets are to be severely moderated for best health, we learned and categorized all natural sweeteners into the good guys, compromisers, and bad guys. In a nutshell, the bad guys are named as such because they are concentrated fructose. Even though “natural,” they’re akin to high fructose corn syrup in their how they affect the body:
“Because concentrated fructose is digested in your liver, it is immediately turned into triglycerides or stored body fat. Since it doesn’t get converted to blood glucose like other sugars, it doesn’t raise or crash your blood sugar levels. …fructose inhibits leptin levels — the hormone your body uses to tell you that you’re full. Besides contributing to weight gain, it also makes you gain the most dangerous kind of fat.”
My children get the song and dance about sweeteners every day. 🙂 This is not new to them. Still, they love sweets (as I do) and we constantly have to work on not indulging multiple times throughout the day.
By the way, “sweets” is a much broader category than you might think. Check out When Sugar Is Still Sugar, a blog post at Food Renegade recently. As my dad said recently about something else entirely, Kristen’s post is painfully hilarious.
What About Fruit?
Fruits can be considered sweets. However, there’s a difference between a fresh, in season, tree-ripened fruit and concentrated fruit juice. Fresh fruit are God’s gifts — we call them Heaven’s candy. They’re delicious, enticing, and beautiful by His design. In season, in moderation, and in a complete package of water, fiber, vitamins, and a host of complex nutrients, they offer us a taste of God’s goodness. For that, we are thankful!
The chapter mentioned that sweets are addicting. They are. I’ve felt addicted to sweets in the past, no doubt. And it was quite difficult (still is) to keep my desire for satiation under control. Your and your kids might might read this past post that offers support for getting through the difficult withdrawal period of going without sugar.
What do you think? Do you or your kids consume too many sugars, even the natural ones? Are you or your kids willing to do as the discussion PDF suggests and keep a food journal for a day to see just how much you’ve eaten? Are any of you willing to go without sweets for a week to see how you feel along the way, and at the end of it?
Visit the main RFNH post for the schedule, links to other discussion questions, and links to all the blog posts in this series.
GNOWFGLINS will earn a commission on sales of the Real Food Nutrition and Health book through this blog. But honestly, we’d be doing this study whether or not we were associated. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchase. You should also know I’m very thankful to be undertaking this study with Kristen’s permission.
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It’s all about balance! A piece of tree ripened fruit will have sucrose (glucose, fructose) and potassium in balance. Most commercial fruit is lacking in proper sugar balance and potassium because they are picked unripe and the tree or vine puts the sugars and potassium into the fruit last. Potassium is necessary for the proper metabolism of sugar. When you have balance, sugar (sucrose) actually increases your metabolism. A lot of the hyperactivity and subsequent “crashes” associated with consuming sugar are actually potassium deficiency issues. I have experienced this first hand.
“Insulin is important in the regulation of blood sugar, but its importance has been exaggerated because of the diabetes/insulin industry. Insulin itself has been found to account for only about 8% of the “insulin-like activity” of the blood, with potassium being probably the largest factor.”
“In Houssay’s experiments, sugar, protein, and coconut oil protected mice against developing diabetes. The saturated fats of coconut oil are similar to those we synthesize ourselves from sugar.”
Rebecca in Michigan says
What happen to Ch. 10 and 11 Discussion questions? Did they ever get added to your blog?
Rebecca — I’m sorry; they haven’t. 🙁 We’ve read them, I just haven’t posted anything on them. I will hope to do so after the holidays. Thanks for asking!
Rebecca in Michigan says
Just checking to see how this might be coming along. I am wanting to finish up this with my family and you have helped us a lot with the other chapter discussion questions. Thanks for doing the other ones.
Oh, dear! I have those final discussion questions, just need to put them up. Thank you for your patience!
Rebecca — I put up the final discussion questions, and they’re linked in this post:
Rebecca in Michigan says