Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sweeteners 101

There are two kinds of sweeteners: non-nutritive and nutritive. Non-nutritive sweeteners are also called high intensity sweeteners as they are used in small amounts instead of sugar. Let's see them!

Non-nutritive sweetener / Relative sweetness
Stevia                                  250
Aspartame                      150-200
Acesulfame Potassium      200
Sodium Ciclamate              30
Neotame(Nutrasweet)       800
Saccharin                          300
Sucralose                          600

Only Stevia is a non-artificial sweetener, being extracted from a plant, all the others are artificial made. They are also heat stable, except the Aspartame, which is not, and for this reason is used mainly for diet beverages. The others can be used in baked good without problem. First artificial sweetener discovered before WW1 was saccharin. Next one, discovered in USA in 1965 was aspartame, which was used largely, even as table top sweetener. But lately in the 90's we witnessed the anti-aspartame craze, and some companies like PepsiCo for example, went with the trend and used sucralose, marketing their drinks as aspartame free. Of course, the taste changed, so three months later they started to use aspartame again.  Some interesting facts, there is a direct link between using sweeteners and gaining weight, but no causality established. According to the research, replacing added sugar with sweeteners may result in lower energy and reduced body weight, there were few small studies, but no clear conclusion was drawn. The idea is that you should not have extra drinks or food just because is diet, because this is how you gain weight.

The second category is called nutritive sweeteners, also known as sugar alcohols. Their energy value is between 1.6-3kcal/gram (sugar -4kcal/gram) and their sweetness is slightly lower than sugar.

Nutritive sweetener / Relative sweetness
Sorbitol                       0.6
Maltitol                       0.9
Xylitol                         1
Lactitol                       0.4
Manitol                       0.5

They are used in sugar free gum (preventing tooth decay) and as sugar alternative in sweets for diabetics (smaller increase in blood sugar response, but also a laxative effect in high doses).

Monday, 12 March 2018

Luck and Success

Seems that the role of luck in achieving tremendous success is much more important that we are believing to be. Check this article to find more.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Writing, second language and Nicaraguan signs

* I was listening again the podcast with the guy who is writing a book every 21 days. Few years ago he would get just enough to stop working for a living, but now, two years later, he is averaging 40-50k per months with more than 100 books.

I was not so efficient like him, with two books published in March last year and another two this year in February, reaching the total count of 12.

** When it is about children, a negative habit such as whining or hysteric episodes, the way to deal with them is by using the psychological idea of extinction. But our rate of success needs to be as close to 100% as possible. If we decide to not give in when the child is whining, consistence is the key. If we stop after a while, we will reinforce the idea that we will eventually give up when the child is persistent. So giving in later is a No-No.

***Learning a new language as a child can have its own benefits. The second language will be native if it is learned before age of three, decreasing in quality with each age group (4-15, 15-18, 19-39) After age of 39, you will never speak perfectly, in theory. One good resource to check your child language is The ideal age of acquisition for a second language is before age of 10. A peer group talking in the studied language is ideal. If this is done early, the child will gradually lose the ability to speak first language, even if he/she will understand it. Even if parents are using the language. But not if he/she will have a second peer group where to use the language. An interesting observation was done in Nicaragua, where the deaf children were not supported until 1980s. Because of that, being deaf in there meant that you will have only rudiments of language, but something strange happen. After 1980, they start to create schools for deaf children, and their sign language started to get structure and subtlety with each new generation. The result was called Nicaraguan Sign Language. Main benefits in learning the second language are believed to be a result of switching from one language to another, creating a series of cognitive advantages called executive functions (EF). The main influence of the executive functions are observed in planning, flexibility and stopping/inhibition. They will relate later in life with retirement habits, diet, stopping bad habits such as smoking. Let's talk about diet as an example. Everybody knows the theory, but we do not do the right things, even if we know them. When you are on diet, and see food, the initial response (prepotent tendency) is to eat, but then we switch and stop. Same as when we are French speaking - English, but we are asked in French. The first impulse is to answer in English, but we switch and answer in French.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Food experiment

I just wrote everything that i was eating and drinking for two days, and it is still place to improve.

Statistically speaking, i have 2 meals and 2 snacks of average, with 800-1000 ml of drinks daily. I know, i need to drink a bit more, and probably i can have some better quality snacks prepared. Except this, everything is alright.

Next ones to plan:

7 days diary on my activities by hours
1 month diary on all my income and expenses

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

How to avoid getting fat in few easy steps (part 1)

This is a story of love, a Valentine's Day special, the story of interdependence and attachment between two main macro-nutrients, let's call them carbohydrates and fats.

Carbohydrates can be simple and complex. The simple ones can be classified in monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose) and disaccharides (maltose, sucrose and lactose). The complex ones are glycogen, starchi and fibers.

During digestion, the starch is broken to same degree, under the action of the amylase enzyme, secreted by salivary glands. When the carbohydrates reaches the stomach, the amylase is inactivated by the acidic medium. The digestion continues in the duodenum, under the action of the pancreatic amylase (an enzyme secreted by the pancreas). The starch is broken in maltose, sucrose and lactose. They are transformed in fructose, glucose and galactose under the action of enzymes such as maltase, sucrase and lactase).

Absorbed in the blood stream, the monosaccharides (glucose, fructose and galactose) are then processed in the liver, where almost all the fructose and galactose is used, and a big part of the glucose goes back in the blood stream, in direct relation to the blood sugar level (glucose level).

When glucose level goes up, the pancreas is secreting the insulin hormone, the role of insulin being to transform the glucose from the blood stream into glycogen, and to deposit the glycogen into the muscle and in the liver. After this process the blood sugar level is decreasing. Because of this action, the pancreas is secreting another hormone called glucagon, to break the glycogen from the liver into glucose, and when the liver deposit is finished (for example during a period of fasting), the glycogen from the muscle is used. The glycogen deposit from the muscle it is also used to generate energy when we are exercising. If we finish both of them (the deposits from muscle and from liver), the muscle is used for glycogen and we lose weight.

If both the deposits are up to 100%, the glucose is transformed into fat. But the fat is never transformed back into glucose.


Fasting and exercise are helping us to deplete the glycogen deposits, so the glucose will not be transformed in fat. (Search on Google about intermittent fasting)

If we fast and exercise too much, we will lose weight (but this will be muscle weight and not fat weight).

It is possible to eat plenty of sweets, as long as you are having a fasting period right before/after, or you exercise, or both. (This is by far my favourite conclusion)

(More to come soon - this is an excerpt from the future second edition of the book The Macronutrients Pocket Guide, written by me, of course )

Take care of your glycogen deposits,

Quote of the day

"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older."
(- Larry McMurty -)

In order to achieve your goals, you do not need to be a genius, to have some incredible skills or to be amazing in what you are doing. You do not need to excel, you do not need to be a master planner or an expert. 

You need only to start. Action is the defining difference between winners and losers. Action will make all the difference between success and failure. 

Think about something that you always wanted to do. And start right now. See what it is and how to do it. Go on Wikipedia website. In the next month learn a bit and read a bit every day about your thing. Find the best three books about this and read them. After one month, check where you are. It this getting closer? Did you do it?

I feel inspired. I will check right now some informations about flight and planes. See you soon.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Love, time and fool's gold

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." (- Rumi -)

I enjoy beauty, whenever i can. Sometimes my perception change and a wave of everlasting beauty appear to manifest all around me. A flower's smell, a ray of sunshine, or just a cat rolling around can make me happy.

There is all this talk about love and how love conquer everything. I am not calling this BS, but seem that beauty is easy to manifest and replicate in your own being, but love, love is infinitely more difficult. Maybe i was not used to love enough, maybe i do not recognize the real love. I love little, and i know that.

So, in response to this matter, not love, but beauty is my religion. I can just see God as infinite beauty, and not defined by any name.

If you were to choose, what would you choose? Beauty of Love?