Sweet Deceptions of Sugar
Quitting sugar seems to be the dietary “topic du jour” atm and yes I have been helping clients reduce their carb craving for years now and totally agree we are eating far too much sugar, often without even knowing it.
Have you ever stopped to read what is in your grocery items? What’s the bet half of the items have sugar listed in the top 3 ingredients. Some of the biggest culprits other than the obvious soft drinks (One can of coke = 9 teaspoons) are yoghurt, especially low fat which can have up to 11 tspn and pasta sauce 20g per serve.soups, stocks, bread (especially from Maccas etc) packaged meals and sauces…. almost everything has sugar! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 4 teaspoons (1 teaspoon = 4 grams sugar).
Sugar has the same biological mechanisms as drugs and is 8 times as addictive. It lights up the same part of the brain as drugs do, and as with drugs you will need more and more sugar to achieve the same euphoric response.
Sugar creates inflammation in your body which not only effects the immune system. Cancer feeds on sugar, using it as fuel. Cancer cells have insulin receptors that trick glucose into going to the tumour rather than muscle and fat, making them grow while the body withers.
We know that high blood sugar levels creates high insulin levels which will eventually lead to diabetes. It is also believed sugar, via creating insulin resistance in other organs is a culprit for other diseases, depending on what organ eg muscle = diabetes, liver = fatty liver, ovaries = polycystic fibrosis and brain = Alzheimer’s. I recently watched an interesting study on rats that were given a SAD (standard American Diet) and their ability to remember previous learning deteriorated substantially as with Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Let’s think like out grandmothers did…. Some claim we should stay away from fruit. Yes fruits do have sugar and unfortunately they are now grown to have a higher content of sugar to keep consumer’s sweet tooth content, but they also have nutrients and fibre and I believe should be a part of a healthy diet (btw bananas and grapes are highest in sugar content).
Bottle fruit juice unfortunately has little of it’s original nutrients after being heated for preservation and with removing the fibre will spike your blood sugar quickly and should be avoided. Starting your day with fresh juice is a great way to boost your vitamin intake in one shot. Try juicing mostly vegies and adding a smidge of fruit to sweeten if you need. My favourite is celery, carrot, with touch of orange or apple and ginger…yum!! (if you are thinking of buying a juicer go for the cold press ones as heat produced by centrifugal destroys enzymes in vegies and fruit
Here is an interesting fact as to how the high sugar content in modern manufactured foods came to be: When the low fat/no fat trend became rife, manufacturers realised the way to sell more of their products was by labelling “no fat or low fat”. However without fat the foods tasted bland so they added sugar which then made the food a little too sweet so they added lots of salt … and there we have it, products unnecessarily laden with sugar and salt
As consumer awareness rises, some food companies have added numerous low calorie products to their line. However, let me warn you artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative! Artificial sweeteners confuse the brain. When we eat something sweet the body doesn’t feel full, Leptin, a hormone that signals hunger and fullness telling your brain when you should stop eating, becomes deregulated and you lose capacity to know when you are really hungry. Artificial sweeteners also disrupt the gut bacteria, and there are reports linking artificial sweeteners to increased risk of cancer.
I believe we should not be focussing on just “sugar” as the devil. All high GI foods, not just sugar, raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, increasing inflammation and putting you on the road to diabetes.
Sugar is rated 100 GI (Glycaemic index) and all other foods are rated from this score, White bread, white rice, mashed potato (gasp, horror) will all spike your blood sugar as quickly as slapping sugar on your tongue. If you would like to read more about high gi foods and how it affects us please let me know, I have been fascinated by this subject for years.
Along with cutting out cakes, lollies, white bread, an easy way to reduce sugar, high gi foods and all the unwanted additives, preservatives and colourings is stick to real food (food that hasn’t been packaged) . Yes the obvious fresh fruit and vegies, free range/organic meat but even down to flavourings, it’s amazing how yummy you can make a meal with a lots of fresh herbs garlic, ginger, lemon and spices. Herbs are easy to grow and make an ok meal come alive.
Like the drug industry, the processed food industry (with the sugar industry feeding it)) is huge and very powerful and can be compared to nicotine industry of days gone by with big corporations pulling many strings with their power. The more I research the more like a movie it seems.
Here is one part of the story in short: In 70’s a British nutritionist Yudkin wrote a book titled “Pure, White and Deadly”. Yudkin’s thesis on the danger of sugar conflicted with American Nutritionist Ansel Keys who was famed for what we now know as incredibly flawed “Seven Countries Study”. Keys claimed Yudkin’s thesis was quackery and destroyed Yudkin’s reputation. Anyone who supported Yudkin’s views were accused as also being a quack like Yudkin and for the next 20 years funding for research on sugar grounded to a halt. Keys was later exposed to being funded by the sugar industry (more in my post Big Fat Lies).
In 2003 WHO were discussing a resolution to advise sugar be recommended to be less than 10% of recommended dietary guidelines. The American sugar industry got influential congressmen to threaten withdrawal of funding if the report continued, 5 months later the recommendation quietly disappeared.
So my take on all the natzi fad health diets/ideas that come and go (and make money on their way) is just do as your grandparents and great grandparents did – eating fresh, unadulterated, real food and everything moderation along with reducing stress is the basis to healthy living.
Cut out every bit of sugar you can, but don’t deprive yourself completely of eating nature’s blessed fresh fruit in moderation.(see Big FAT Lies >>here<<).
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