This month we have a round of questions that I will get answered short and sweet!
1: How can I make shelf stable milk more palatable? “I can’t seem to get past the taste difference in the shelf stable (Dairy Pure UHT) milk, even after trying it in cooked recipes.”
So, some people suggest popping it into the refrigerator (even though it is okay to drink at room temperature) to get a more like “normal” taste. Shelf stable milks have been heated to a higher temperature and therefore lose good bacteria and protein. To counteract this, some producers add vitamins or stabilizers. In addition, it could taste sweeter and have a thicker mouthfeel. There also might be a taste of caramelization or “burntness” when recipes call for additional heating/cooking.
Consider what type of milk is being called for in recipes; if it calls for whole milk and you are using low fat (either fresh or shelf stable), the difference in taste must be considered. Your best bet is to taste as you cook and adjust recipes accordingly.
Shelf stable milk is a great alternative to fresh milk--it is versatile, has a longer shelf life, and can reduce food waste.
2: “I have diabetes and am told that if there is dietary fiber listed under the ingredient list of a food item, you can subtract the amount of sugar also listed. Is this true and can you tell me more about this?”
I get asked similar questions all. the. time. In general, fiber is beneficial for all of us. It helps keep our gut in check, tackle cholesterol levels and keeps us feeling full (to name a few). Fiber is helpful when considering blood sugar control because it can help minimize the increase in blood sugar when carbohydrate foods are eaten. Some people with diabetes calculate the net carbs by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate. However, you should not be subtracting the grams of sugar. Both fiber and sugar are included in the total carbohydrate count. Sugar increases our blood sugar, but the fiber does not.
In general, the more fiber the better (to a point of course). Most of us are lacking fiber in our diet. Try upping your fruit, veggie, and whole grains!
3: “Should I talk to my doctor about taking a potassium supplement?”
Yes, you should absolutely talk to your doctor before starting a potassium supplement. Potassium levels that are too high can be dangerous, so do not take a potassium supplement unless you get a prescription from your doctor.
Potassium is important because it helps our bodies regulate heart rate, blood pressure and process protein and carbohydrates; it enables our cells, muscles, and nerves to function. Most people do not need to supplement potassium. Generally, we get enough from the foods we eat like potatoes, avocados, tuna, bananas, spinach, milk, and tomatoes. Lab work would help to determine if you are lacking potassium.