Stumped about an ingredient or recipe? Got a health query? Send your thoughts to [email protected]Today, I’m answering questions about sugar.

Sugar is a topic many people have questions about. Are all sugars bad? Which foods am I eating that have added sugars? How much should I allow myself per day? Unfortunately, as Americans, we are generally grossly overloaded with sugar—it lurks in the foods and drinks we consume when we opt out of whole foods and homemade options.

Q: So how bad is sugar for me, really!? I love my desserts!

A: If you simply must have a treat, my best advice is to exercise moderation and only eat a small portion as a dessert. It’s best to choose treats prepared with natural sweeteners like raw honey or dried fruit. These sweeteners are natural, unprocessed, enzyme-rich and are easier for your body to deal with than refined sugar. Avoid white, brown and powdered sugar—and most especially artificial sweeteners—at all costs! They are highly processed, chemical-laden and anti-nutritive foods. Keep in mind that too much of any sugar—even if it’s from a “healthy” source—is stressful to your body. Sip some kombucha or room temperature lemon water along with your sweet dessert. The sour flavor works wonders to help keep you from craving more and more sweets.

Q: I think I may have gallstones.  What do I need to know?

A: Diet is a huge factor in gallstone management. To avoid pain and distress, those with gallstones need to avoid consuming:

  • Dairy products
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Foods rich in hydrogenated fats, such as margarine
  • Sugary foods or snacks including cakes, chocolates, ice creams, etc.
  • Animal fats and derivatives: products like butter and eggs
  • Refined foods including white flour products, white rice, pasta, white bread, etc.
  • Carbonated drinks and beverages such as coffee, alcohol, black tea, etc.
  • Foods containing artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, etc.

Though the above list may seem restrictive, the fact is that most of the items ‘to avoid’ you’re probably better off without anyway, whether you have gallstones or not. (It is worth noting that vegetarians have a lower incidence of gallstones than those who frequently eat meat.)

Over 500,000 people have a cholecystectomy—gallbladder removal—each year, in hopes of becoming pain, gas and bloat-free and to be able to eat whatever they like. The unfortunate truth is that out of every 10 surgeries, four patients will still have symptoms. Be sure and do your own diligent research before you give your body parts up. The answer may simply be on the end of your fork.

 

Please remember that your health is your own responsibility. Nothing here is to be construed as medical advice. This information is not meant to replace the guidance offered by your health practitioner.