Americans tend to like sweet stuff and most of us eat more of it than we should. Although we’re warned to be conscious of the amount of sugar we eat, that doesn’t mean never eat anything sweet. Of course, some people choose not to, but if you do – eat the good stuff – like […]
Tag Archives | sugar
New York city, uptown #2 train, Saturday night. Not too crowded, most people are wearing their subway stares – avoiding eye contact, eyes glazed over, ipod earbuds in place, bodies rocking with the motion of the train. My trip isn’t long enough to pull out something to read, so I start to scan the ads […]
I was recently helping a client learn how to interpret nutrition and ingredients labels of food products. He clearly wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of spending the extra time to read labels. It does take time. But, you don’t have to do it for everything. It’s particularly important to get a feeling for products that […]
I was recently in a restaurant that specializes in chili – hot, hotter, and hottest. I happened to be facing a table of four large thirtyish guys. One guy cherrily ordered, “hottest.”
Shortly after this big, burly guy dug into his chili – with gusto, I might add, he was sitting glassy eyed, rivulets of sweat dripping off of his bald head, practically unable to speak. The waitress, obviously having seen this reaction before, came running over with a glass of milk with orders to, “Drink up.”
Have you ever had this reaction to very spicy food — maybe from that dish you made when you got a little too zealous with the chili powder? Or perhaps, like this guy, from being a little too macho and ordering “hottest” after assuring everyone that you love really hot and spicy food. Or maybe when you accidentally grabbed the wings known as red hots at a Superbowl party.
What Causes The Burn?
Capsaicin is mostly responsible for the “heat” in chili peppers. To stop the mouth flames you need to neutralize capsaicin’s burning heat that binds to your taste buds. Capsaisin is soluble in both alcohol and fat so full fat dairy and alcohol are solutions.
What To Do To Tame The Flame
What do you do as your mouth is sending a five-alarm signal, your face is on fire, and you are sweating enough to water every plant in the room? Here are some solutions that are easy – even when you’re in a restaurant or someone else’s home.
* The most common flame relievers are full fat dairy, acid, and sugar – although some people also swear by nut and seed butters (peanut, almond, tahini). They may all have some degree of effectiveness.
* Ice and water will feel pretty good, but only temporarily. The burning pain will come roaring back. Because capsaicin is soluble in alcohol and fat, sometimes beer is suggested as a solution. The alcohol helps neutralize the capsaicin molecules. But beer is about 95% water and won’t really neutralize the capsaicin clinging to your tongue.
* High fat dairy products like milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and ice cream coat your mouth and can break the bonds capsaicin forms with the nerve endings – and, since they’re cold, they feel good, too. Aha! An explanation for why spicy Mexican food is often served with sour cream.
* Sugars bind to pain receptors more readily than capsaicin so sweet things may work, too. Sugar, fruit, honey, molasses, even carrots have all been used. Highly sweetened non-carbonated drinks may work. Try some sweet tea. Hoisin may work for Asian dishes, Lassi (sweet and dairy combination) if you are in an Indian restaurant.
* Acid can cut through the heat so use vinegar, lemon or lime juice, anything acidic that doesn’t mess with the taste. Beer with lime?
Do you think you are being oh-so-virtuous by grabbing the reduced fat cookies or crackers off of the supermarket shelf? I hate to disillusion you, but sometimes there isn’t a big difference in calories between the low or fat free version and the regular version of the same food.
In many reduced and fat free foods the fat is replaced with flour, sweeteners, or other starches and fillers which make the reduction in calories very small or, sometimes, nonexistent.
When fat free and reduced fat foods – especially snack foods like cookies, crackers, and chips hit the market — they were touted as products to help with the rising tide of obesity. Even things like pretzels, marshmallows, and gummy bears, foods that never contained fat to begin with, had “fat free” plastered all over their labels.
The season of sugar plum fairies, ribbon candy, and sparkly cookies (and even fruit cake) is upon us. For about the past ten years we’ve been warned about watching how much sugar we’re eating and we still haven’t really listened. According to the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, Americans average 475 calories from added sugars […]
Fructose: A Simple Sugar Fruit sugar, or fructose, is a simple sugar that your body metabolizes quickly and easily. Fructose, has few, if any, advantages over sucrose, the kind of sugar in candy. Moderate fruit intake is recommended as part of a healthy diet. The simple sugars, like fructose, found in fruit are not a […]
It’s Christmas Cookie Time In my family holiday season means, among other things, baking. Lots of cookies: spritz, rolled, ginger bread men, meringues, Greek powdered sugar cookies; a savory carrot bread; poppy seed bread; and whatever dessert sounds good. No fruit cake, though. If I ever added up the butter and sugar calories in all […]
What Are Carbohydrates? They are the sugars, starches, and fiber we eat. Carbohydrates (carbs for short) are carbon dioxide combined with water and, except for fiber, are transformed by your body into blood sugar, mostly glucose, the body’s basic fuel. An enormous number of foods contain carbs. They’re the main energy source for your body […]
Do you have a clue about how much added sugar you eat each day? Added sugar is the kind that doesn”t occur naturally, like in fruit, but is added during food processing, preparation, or at the table. Because food labels show only grams or percentages of sugar in a product rather than the number of […]
Penny Manegan Klatell, PhD, RN
Penny is a doctoral level nurse; a health, life, and wellness coach; and a Mom. She’s also a nutritional counselor, food lover, former college professor, author, blogger, speaker, and a very frequent restaurant visitor. She’s from a Greek restaurant family where she learned to cook and discovered the need to speak loudly to be heard above the din. She writes about delicious, healthy food and how to eat well anytime, anywhere, and at any age.