First of all, if you read food labels, sugar content should be one of the first things you look at. Are you aware of sugar health effects?
The FDA won’t tell you this, but we are only supposed to be consuming 30 grams of sugar per day, so when tracking your food in a food tracking app, make sure you put 30 grams as your max setting on sugar.
Next, sugar will not only be displayed as sugar. RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Sugar will show up in many, many forms.
Here is a list of its many forms, so always check your food labels:
– Aspartame – marketed as Nutrasweet and highly dangerous
– Acesulfame potassium marketed as Sunett / Sweet One
– Agave Nectar
– Barley Malt Extract
– Brown Rice Syrup
– Brown sugar
– Corn sugar
– Corn sweetener
– Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
– Crystalline Fructose
– Dehydrated Cane Juice
– Evaporated Cane Juice
– Evaporated Cane Syrup
– Fruit juice concentrate
– High-fructose corn syrup
– Invert sugar (golden syrup)
– Malt syrup
– Maple syrup
– Raw sugar
– Rice Syrup
– Sorgham syrup
– Turbinado Sugar
Not all sugar is bad, in small doses, but anytime we ingest sugar, it causes insulin to get released from the pancreas. Basically, the job of insulin is to absorb this sugar and use it as energy.
When we take on too much sugar, we overload the pancreas, meaning it will not release enough insulin to be able to absorb the sugar and use it up, so our blood sugar then increases.
Then, the pancreas has to keep producing insulin for longer periods of time meaning we are suppressing our fat burning hormone glucagon and essentially setting ourselves up for fat storage. That is a basic version of what happens.
When we do this to our bodies chronically, our body becomes insulin resistant, meaning our body doesn’t recognize insulin production, which means it will keep producing insulin to try to regulate blood sugar and the cycle goes on. We get fatter.
One of the big issues with sugar and all of its forms is, that it is in: almost all processed foods including cereals, protein bars – even the “healthy” ones, diet sodas, gum, baked beans, bacon, bbq sauces, canned fruit and soups, deli meats, dips, bread, creamers, crackers, dry roasted nuts, hot dogs, peanut butter, salad dressings, soy, spice mixes, trail mixes, yogurt and more.
We go about our day without paying attention to the amount of sugar we ingest, so your new rule of thumb will be to only buy foods with less than 4 grams of sugar per serving. any more than this in a product should be rejected.
Sugar, obesity and disease
America consumes about 170-190 lbs of sugar per person per year. A quite staggering amount, but this is not the worst; Egypt, Mexico, Russia and Brazil have even higher consumption rates. This leads to higher rates of obesity, cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, dementia, Alzheimers and so on.
It also changes the chemistry in the brain that can cause behavior changes and attention deficits and we wonder why our kids act “crazy” when we give them pop tarts, cereal and chocolate milk for breakfast. I think you get the picture.
Can I ever eat sugar?
Not a lot of good comes from sugar. Essentially you should try to avoid sugar at all costs and take it easy on the fruit too. Obviously, fruit is good for us because of all of its antioxidant properties and micro nutrient qualities, but should be consumed in moderation.
Sometimes eating fruit in combination with nut butter or nuts can slow spikes in blood sugar and therefore, the insulin response. Other sugars we can eat is stevia extract (which 100 times more sweet than sugar), as it has the ability to regulate blood sugar, suppress sweet cravings and hunger pangs.
Sounds counter intuitive right? Also, raw honey can be used now and then as it has good nutritional value such as enzymes.
Moral of the story?
Check your food labels. Just because it says 0 grams of sugar look for the hidden sugar because it is just as devastating. Track your food for a day with an app and see how much sugar you consume. Make adjustments accordingly to better your health and longevity. If you have any questions please ask.