A word on hidden sugars, and how Pinterest is lying to you.

I was talking to a very funny and also health conscious friend of mine this morning, the Petulant Panda, about an issue that has been bothering me as of late and she wrapped the whole conversation up in a perfect bow.  I'm not sure how to give you all the bad news, so I'm just going to say it.  The internet is a factual wasteland.  Just because the internet says something is healthy doesn't make it so.  I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true.  Let me give you some examples...

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The fake healthy recipe that has been bothering me most recently me is the frozen banana ice cream. This recipe has been circulating around Pinterest for a couple of months and is generally accompanied by comments like, "My kids love this!" or, "I have this after dinner every night."  Those comments make me sad because I think that these are people who are really trying to do the right thing by substituting bananas for ice cream.  Bananas, peanut butter, and coconut milk all have calories and lots of sugar.  Eating 2 or 3 bananas in one sitting is not a super healthy snack and doesn't have enough protein to be a good breakfast.  You would be better off going for some frozen yogurt, especially if you can find a Greek yogurt version like Pinkberry that packs 7 carbs and a whopping 18 grams of protein.  

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Another fake healthy recipe that's been making the rounds is the
zero calorie apple cinnamon detox water.  Please hear me when I say that apples are not allowed on a low carb diet for a reason.  They are high in fiber, but they have a ton of sugar!  You can call this a lower calorie drink but zero calories it is not.  If you soak apples in water, some of the sugars are going to go into that water.  Common sense tells me that if water is sweet, there is sugar in it.   I know that some people just plain don't like regular water and are working to overcome that.  This recipe hurts my feelings because it's leading people to think that it's sugar free when it is not.  If you need flavor in your water, the juice of a medium lime has about 1 carb.  It's okay to add carbs to your water as long as you count them.  

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Lastly, the worst Pinterest perpetrator is the juicer.  I'll be the first to tell you that I have a juicer in my kitchen.  I love to make fresh lime juice for my vodka sodas and fresh lemon juice for when I'm cooking fish or veggies.  Sometimes I'll even juice a tomato, a jalapeno, a handful of spinach, and a couple of celery sticks for a spicy morning drink, and juice can be a great way to treat yourself.

However, when websites tell you that juicing is a great way to get your servings of fruits and veggies, they aren't being totally honest.  When you juice an apple, you are separating the fiber and the sugar.  Then you drink the juice (sugar) and throw away the rest (fiber).  You're ingesting the sugar and tossing the good stuff!  On top of that, you have to juice 3-5 apples to get a glass of juice.  Eating 5 apples in one sitting sounds crazy, but that's what happens when you juice.  Even juicing veggies is a nutritional sin.  One of the best things about kale and celery is the high fiber content.  Removing the fiber greatly degrades the nutritional content of these power foods.

The moral of the story is do your research before you take online recipes (even mine!) as absolute truth. The best way to calculate the nutritional content of a recipe is to add together the nutritional totals of the component parts and then divide by the number of servings.  Don't take for face value that those bananas you are mashing up are a wonder food, and if something seems to easy to be true it probably is.

Do you have a recipe that you are questioning?  Please leave a link in the comments below or email me at lifelovelowcarb@gmail.com.  I'd be happy to calculate nutritional values if you're not sure about something, and I'm always looking for things to test out in my own kitchen!

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