How the Chooks Helped Me Discover More Sneaky Sugar!

Kris Kern

We’d been planning on getting chooks for awhile, the chook house was ready for months but somehow, the chook pen just never happened.  My partner is a Virgo and very handy too, bless him, but Virgos are renown as perfectionists and he just couldn’t get his head around how to put the second-hand fencing panels we’d bought months ago up so it was just right!  The heat didn’t help either; I have to admit because the location for the chook pen is the hottest part of our yard.

Then about a month ago my brother in-law saved about 60 chooks from being turned into chicken nuggets.  They weren’t laying every day at the chook farm, so it was time for them to go! Suddenly the chook pen became urgent and as luck would have it, the neighbour a few doors down was replacing his security screens with window shutters.  Perfect!  A quick solution for a temporary, dog-safe chook pen!    

Here a picture of our happy girls eating some of their favourite food – silver beet and kale.  We still haven’t named them all but the head chook is called Omeletta!

And today we celebrated 100 eggs from our 4 girls. Yes, the Virgo has been counting them!  He’s even been weighing them and it’s now a daily game to guess their weights!  What we’ve discovered is that on average they’re getting bigger.  Must be the good food!

 Here’s today’s harvest.

Feeding the girls to lay all these eggs is no mean feat, especially since we had been buying organic  eggs and want our eggs to be as organic as possible.   Kitchen scraps just aren’t enough, the poor silver beet and kale plants in the veggie patch are struggling to keep up, and I haven’t mentioned the amount of dried food they’ve been through! 

So what’s all this got to do with sugar?  Well I’ve been visiting the organic shop to get chook scraps and the other day I didn’t really need anything much but because they were giving me free chook food again I felt obliged to buy a few things.

I saw some interesting looking purple kale chips and thought I’d grab a bag to have at work as a tasty snack some time.  Since I’ve made kale chips myself I knew it was a great, healthy snack but this combination with beetroot and coconut really piqued my interest.  The word “healthy” and “raw organic” were plastered all over the bag.

Later that day I just had to try them!  But my taste buds got a total shock - they tasted sweet, not savoury like I was used to with kale chips!  I turned the bag over to read the label and was gobsmacked 

I normally read all labels before buying something because I’m so sceptical about food labelling and the variety of false claims made on labels.  This time I hadn’t read the label because I made the assumption that this must be healthy.   

How wrong I was!

Despite the “spiel” about how healthy this versatile snack was, in the 40g pack of chips there was 12g of sugar – more than 2heaped teaspoons worth!  The total percentage sugar on the label was 29.9%. That's one third sugar!

Just 12g of sugar, can significantly spike your insulin level, especially in this case if you were to just have the bag of kale chips on their own because the protein content was quite low at 6g. 

So why should you care about your insulin level anyway? 

Insulin is a hormone; a chemical messenger, and is your main fat-storing hormone.  Having a high insulin level will keep your fat cells locked tight for hours, no matter how much you exercise or restrict your calories. 

But even if you don’t have a weight problem, eating foods that make insulin go up throughout your day can result in you becoming insulin-resistant.  This means your cells no longer listen to the message insulin is trying to tell them, which is to let glucose (sugar) from your food in to be burnt for energy. 

Your pancreas has to work harder to try to make them listen by pumping out even more insulin and eventually you end up with blood fat disturbances and diabetes.  And all this is slowly and insidiously pushing your body into a chronically inflamed state, causing diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, depression, dementia and more!   

And yes, it’s even possible to be slim and have blood sugar and insulin issues!  In fact, in his new book called “The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier”, Dr Carl  Carl J. Lavie MD discusses why.  But that’s a topic for another day!

The moral of this story though is, read all food labels and keep your eyes open for one of your biggest health enemies, that sneaky sugar!  Keep your sugar intake as low as possible at all times if you want to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Have you discovered sugar sneaking into places you never expected?  If so, please share it below.

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