In honor of Sugar Awareness Week, I thought I’d share a little about our nation’s current health crisis – sugar consumption and addiction.
Some of you have seen the interviews, read the books and maybe you’ve even watched a documentary or two. If that’s you, much of what you read here may be familiar to you. If that is the case, please share this with someone you love –
it could save their life.
For those of you not a familiar with the sugar problem in this country, that may have sounded a little dramatic. I assure you; it is not.
Growing up we all heard how bad sugar was for our teeth. But tooth decay is not all we need to be worried about when it comes to sugar.
As science has improved over the last couple of decades, we have learned that sugar is the leading cause of inflammation in the body and that inflammation is the cause of all dis-ease in the body.
Yes, when the body is inflamed it is not “at ease”. It is not in its natural healthy state. It is in a state of dis-ease. See where this is going?
Inflammation = dis-ease = disease
Here are just a few illnesses (or diseases if you will) that are caused by inflammation:
Heart disease – including high triglycerides, atherosclerosis & blood pressure issues
Diabetes & blood sugar problems
Acceleration of the ageing process (read: deeper and more pronounced wrinkles)
Eye problems - including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, macular degeneration & glaucoma
I don’t know about you, but to me that is a really scary list.
My goal today is to help you learn to identify sugar in all its forms and give you a fighting chance at trying to prevent these issues.
Many of my clients come to me with sleep issues, hormone imbalances, allergies, digestive issues, too much weight and not enough energy. When I approach the subject of sugar I often hear, “Oh I stay away from sugar. I never eat cookies or cakes or anything like that…except occasionally dark chocolate…which is good for me, right?”
All too often those who are "staying away from sweets” are consuming WAY TOO MUCH sugar that they don’t even know about.
Juice for breakfast with a bowl of “healthy” cereal is simply sugar + sugar + sugar and sets the day up for brain fog, mood and energy swings, not to mention the internal inflammation/dis-ease. This breakfast is just one example of how sugar is sabotaging our meals, our day and our health.
Sugar is not just cakes, cookies and candy. Much of what is included in the Standard American Diet (SAD) turns to sugar in your body. Grains (wheat, rice, corn etc.), bread, crackers, pasta, dairy (milk, yogurt & yes, even cheese) all convert to sugar during the digestion process. And let’s not forget the wine.
We all (me included) need to be more diligent about identifying the sources of sugar we are eating to know when enough is enough and hit the brakes.
What about the hidden sugars?
So much extra sugar is added to foods that never needed it in the first place. But, when food manufacturers use inferior quality ingredients, one way to make the product tasty is to add sugar.
Two really good ways to disguise sugar on food labels is to use a long, scientific sounding word or to rename the sugar altogether. One of the easiest ways to recognize sugar on a food label is by recognizing the -ose suffix.
Sugars ending in -ose include:
High fructose corn syrup
Just because it doesn't end in -ose, however, doesn't mean it isn't sugar. There are plenty of names that may or may not sound like sugar. Regardless of how they sound, the following are all sugar:
Dehydrated cane juice
Cane juice solids
Cane juice crystals
Corn syrup solids
Fruit juice concentrate
Dehydrated fruit juice
Fruit juice crystals
Wow, that’s quite a list!
OK, this has gotten long, and I don’t want to lose you forever, so… I will continue this sugar discussion in my next installment. Next time we will discuss why we are addicted to sugar and tips on how to slay the sugar dragon once and for all.
In the meantime, please read your labels to gain awareness of the hidden sugars already in your pantry and refrigerator. Maybe take a few extra minutes this week at the store to read labels and see what you can choose instead.
And of course, remember, vegetables and fruits may have sugar in them, but they also have vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fiber that your body needs each and every day. Especially, when trying to conquer your sugar cravings.
Until next time, be well friends!
Here’s a little bonus for you – a great article from the University of California San Francisco explaining a little more about sugar. Enjoy!
How Much is Too Much?
Don't forget to share Best Tip Tuesday with your friends.
Thanks all! 😊