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September 1, 2014, 3:00 pm

Honey, brown or white – all sugars

What’s better, honey, brown sugar or white sugar?


Camden, N.J.

Honey is a sugar. It affects the body much the same way sugar does. Honey is a combination of two sugars, glucose and fructose. Its makeup is determined by where the bee gathers the nectar. It’s said that honey is better than sugar but in most cases, all the beneficial nutrients, such as the B vitamins, are cooked out of it because the temperature used is higher than 150o. Honey also acts on the body like sugar. So, don’t use more honey thinking it’s better for you.

The quality of the honey can also be affected by the way the beekeepers remove the bees from the hive. Some large beekeepers use a toxic chemical to remove the bees. This chemical, carbolic acid, can stay in the honey.

Sugar is sugar. Sugar is extracted from a plant. All sugar is processed into a concentrated form. The only natural sugar is found in fruit and vegetables that haven’t been extracted or concentrated. Once you’ve taken the sugar from the plant, it’s been processed.

Raw brown sugar is an intermediate stage of completely refining sugar. After the juice is squeezed from sugar cane, it’s boiled, filtered and dried until it’s crystallized. The sugar has a brown appearance because the molasses has not been removed. Brown sugar in the United States is sometimes more refined than white sugar. Because of the value of the molasses, the sugar is heated until all the molasses is removed. The sugar is colored by charcoal, which eventually changes its color to light brown.

An addiction is a strong or irresistible dependence on the use of a particular substance. Those who are addicted need to increase the dose progressively to achieve the original effect produced by smaller amounts. The sudden deprivation of that substance produces withdrawal symptoms. Sugar fits this description. The brain produces a substance called EOP, which makes us feel pleasure when we eat. Sugar, fat and salt trigger EOP. In some people, this can cause a craving for fat, salt and sugar. How do we break this habit before it affects our health? Gradually wean yourself from the bad foods. First, find out how much sugar you really eat by keeping a food diary. Next, cut back a little each week. A lot of your craving is psychological and you’ll need strong will power to go along with your gradual cutting back of sugar.

So, use both honey and sugar in moderation.

Walking the stairs

My coworkers and I walk down 22 flights of stairs twice daily. Can the concrete steps cause injury problems?”



Gayle, It’s great to hear that so many of your co-workers want get in shape together. But there are potential problems with your program. Walking down the fire escape can cause joint problems with the knees, hips, ankles and back. There’s also the danger of someone tripping or falling. You didn’t say how long it takes you to walk down the steps, but we’ll guess around 10 minutes. Granted, walking down the steps rather than catching the elevator will help you burn calories; walking up steps works the thighs, buttocks and burns more calories.

To effectively burn fat, you need to walk briskly for at least 20 minutes non-stop. Thirty to 45 minutes is ideal. Try walking around the neighborhood for your workout instead of using the fire escape. Climbing steps is not a bad idea for aerobic fitness, but concrete steps can be dangerous and cause repetitive stress injuries.

Your self-esteem

I know that exercise can improve your body, your health and your self-esteem. Does that mean recovering drug-dependent people can benefit from exercise? Drugs destroyed my once pleasant personality. I can use a change in my personality.


Richmond, Va.

A person who is rebellious, emotionally unstable, uptight and aggressive can change personality through a regular fitness program. A good program will make you feel better, help to deal with stress; you’ll have more confidence and feel relaxed. How does this happen? When we exercise, our bodies produce pleasure hormones that have a calming effect on us. We also produce adrenaline, which helps in producing a feeling of confidence. Before starting your program, get a checkup. Start your program by doing 15 minutes of calisthenics. Try to do two to three exercises for each body part. The next day, do 15 minutes of walking. Make sure you wear the right shoes and dress for the weather. Try to workout at least 3 to 4 times a week for the best results.

Exercise can be a positive spark in your life and brighten up the worst personality.


Traveling and exercise

We do a lot of traveling and we still want to stay in shape. What can we do so we won’t get out of shape while we’re away?

Sandy & Jim,

Newtown, Pa.

If you’re going to be traveling and you still want to get your workout in, call ahead to see if your hotel has a fitness center on the premises. Some hotels may have an agreement with a local gym. So, find out what’s available.

Your road workout should include toning exercises, aerobics and stretching. For toning, you can do calisthenics. Pick an exercise for each body part. Push-ups for the chest, back and shoulders, wall sitting for legs, toe raises for calves and sit-ups for your abdominals. Do three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps. Use good form and concentrate on each rep.

Do your same aerobic workout or substitute walking. Be prepared for the weather. Try to get a good idea of the type of weather you’ll have to deal with during your trip. For aerobics, walk, jog, skip rope or do your regular aerobic workout.

Don’t use traveling as an excuse not to workout. Do a little planning.


Traveling and eating

How can I eat the right things when I’m on the road?


Phoenixville, Pa.

Having a job that keeps you on the road for several days at a time has the potential to ruin good eating habits. You can still eat right with a little planning. It’s a good idea to pack a portable blender and a thermos. You can pick up fruits and juices at most convenience stores or the nearest supermarket. The fruits will keep for several days. You can add fruits to your juice in a portable blender or eat them raw. Carry some fruits with you for a morning snack. Carry your thermos so you can drink plenty of bottled water throughout the day.

Lunch can be a large salad with the dressing on the side and baked or broiled fish, chicken or turkey. Tell the waiter to hold the butter or heavy sauces. Stop by your local health food store and pick up herb popcorn, whole-wheat cookies, unsalted tortilla chips, herb tea and whole grain rolls to take on your trip. Avoid fast-food restaurants, bakeries and convenience stores for between-meal snacks.

Dinner should be just as healthy. Dinner should be a low-fat protein like fish, chicken or turkey. On the side, have steamed broccoli and a salad. Go easy on the dressing. Don’t choose a meat protein entree with a starchy carbohydrate like pasta or linguine. Protein doesn’t digest well with starchy foods. If you do have a starchy food, skip the protein. If you don’t have a protein during a meal, have unsalted sunflower seeds or almonds later. After-dinner snacks can include a modest helping of whole-grain cookies, herb popcorn, herb tea or whole grain rolls.

Though you don’t have the convenience of your own kitchen, you can still eat healthy by planning.

Before starting your fitness program, consult your physician.

For help with drug, alcohol and mental health problems call Sobriety Through Outpatient drug, alcohol and mental health treatment center at (215)227-7867. Watch or listen to our recovery media stations every day at


If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit” P.O. Box 53443 Philadelphia PA 19105, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Or call (215) 387-3081.

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