Too much syrup, not enough sleep

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert, Dr Libby an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about living a health­ier life.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Ques­tion: Over a pe­riod of five years I spent many weeks in Mid­west Amer­ica and dur­ing this time was con­stantly ap­palled by the use of high fruc­tose corn syrup in so many foods, es­pe­cially those la­belled as a ‘‘lite’’ or healthy al­ter­na­tive. Please dis­cuss the in­sid­i­ous use of this prod­uct show­ing up in our food. We sim­ply don’t need it and should not have it in our food. Thanks, Lin. Hi Lin, high fruc­tose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in many pro­cessed food prod­ucts through­out Amer­ica. It is used be­cause it is cheaper than white cane sugar, low­er­ing the cost of food pro­duc­tion.

A main con­cern with HFCS is that it is pro­por­tion­ally very high in fruc­tose, and this re­quires the liver to pro­duce an en­zyme to con­vert the fruc­tose into use­able glu­cose. In some peo­ple this process can be in­ef­fi­cient and ex­ces­sive amounts of fruc­tose may be con­verted into fat, lead­ing to weight gain and a fatty liver, mak­ing body fat even harder to shift.

In New Zealand we are for­tu­nate that so far HFCS has not sig­nif­i­cantly in­fil­trated our lo­cal food sup­ply.

Most com­pa­nies do not use HFCS in the pro­duc­tion of food prod­ucts, how­ever you may find that some im­ported foods do con­tain HFCS, as it is not a banned sub­stance.

By choos­ing to eat real food you will nat­u­rally avoid HFCS as well as other ad­di­tives in pro­cessed foods that can take away from your health.

HFCS is a good ex­am­ple of hu­man in­ter­ven­tion harm­ing a per­fectly nour­ish­ing whole food, corn.

When choos­ing sweet­en­ers to use in cooking and bak­ing it is best to use small amounts of those that are as close to na­ture as pos­si­ble. Ex­am­ples in­clude fresh fruit, honey, pure maple syrup and fresh herbs like ste­via. Ques­tion: How much sleep should we be get­ting? Is it dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one? I have no idea what time to go to bed and I al­ways wake up when­ever my lit­tle ones wake up. I feel like I need 10 hours! Thanks, Bex. Hi Bex, science sug­gests that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and we can­not fight our bi­ol­ogy!

The pre­cise amount needed, how­ever, varies from per­son to per­son.

It sounds like you are a mother of young chil­dren, so it is not sur­pris­ing that you feel like you need 10 hours.

Chil­dren are more likely to be fol­low­ing their nat­u­ral cir­ca­dian sleep rhythm, go­ing to sleep when the sun goes down and wak­ing just af­ter sun­rise.

This is a great pat­tern for you to fol­low too, when you can.

Once your chil­dren have gone to bed, try to spend some time wind­ing down and pre­par­ing your­self for sleep.

Don’t feel like you have to stay up un­til a cer­tain time.

If you are feel­ing sleepy then head to bed, par­tic­u­larly if you know your lit­tle ones will be wak­ing you early.

As a young mum, it can be chal­leng­ing to get rit­u­als around your sleep pat­terns so also re­mem­ber that they are lit­tle for such a (rel­a­tively) short time. It helps to re­alise that sleep de­pri­va­tion and ex­haus­tion don’t have to be your ex­pe­ri­ence for­ever.

If your diet re­ally needs sweet­en­ing up, con­sider nat­u­ral op­tions such as honey and fruit.

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