” A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” sang Mary Poppins innocently enough. The bitter truth is, your sweet friend sugar is trying to kill you. Look around. Sugar, in all it’s forms, is in everything. Your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, “vitamin” waters and is hidden in most other processed food. Infant formula is now loaded with sugar equivalent to a can of soda. Isn’t that great? Let’s start poisoning our young from birth. Because that’s what sugar is. A metabolic poison. It promotes weight gain, feeds cancer cells, and accelerates aging. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to see the ever expanding waistline of America. My husband and I people watch at the mall from time to time, and here in the panhandle, where beef and more beef rules, 1 out of 2 people and entire families are overweight. He sometimes has to keep me from accosting people. I prefer to think of it as reaching out. I just want to ask a simple question. What is stopping you from taking better care of yourself? I ask this in coaching sessions with my clients. Reasons are many and varied. Emotional eating. Budget. Stress. Time. Some just don’t know. These things I can address but some really don’t care which really makes me sad, because I can’t help that. Even sadder still, obesity increases the risk for deadly diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.
Let’s avoid the sweet confusion by taking a look at sugar in its various forms.
- Simple sugars – Dextrose, fructose and glucose. Your body metabolizes these differently.
- Sucrose (table sugar) – 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
- High fructose corn syrup – 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
- Sugar alcohols – Xylitol, erythirtol, mannitol, sorbitol, and glycerol, Incompletely absorbed in small intestine. Causes gas and bloating in some.
- Agave Nectar – Falsely advertised as natural. Highly processed and up to 80% fructose.
- Honey – Has many health benefits in its raw form, in moderation.
- Stevia – A South American herb whose leaf is 300 times sweeter than sugar, safe and natural.
- Lo han – A safe, natural sweetener from the Chinese fruit luohan guo, used for years in TCM.
- Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame k (Sweet One, Sunett) are ARTIFICIAL sweeteners and should be completely avoided due to detrimental health effects.
Nearly every cell in the body utilizes glucose. With fructose, however, the metabolic burden falls on the liver. And because most people are now consuming about 130 grams of fructose per day versus the 15 grams or less per day a mere 300 years ago, well, you can imagine how your poor liver feels. So, where does the excess fructose go? To your backside. Your belly. Your thighs. It is turned into FAT. And triglycerides. And VLDL, the very bad low-density lipoprotein that increases the risk of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Still make you want to have a glass of orange juice and a toasty, frosted pop-tart for breakfast? Only 41 grams of sugar folks! To make matters worse, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want, the more effective your body becomes in absorbing it, the more metabolic damage occurs. Try eggs with some veggies and sliced avocado. Or plain, greek-style yogurt with sliced almonds and fruit. Fair warning. Be careful with fruit consumption. Although fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it also contains fructose and it’s the cumulative effect of fructose that is toxic. Berries of all kinds are the best choices with most being 8 grams or less per cup, Your average apple has about 9 grams. Dried fruits are much higher and should be consumed in limited quantities.
Do yourself a favor. Take a 21 day sugar-free vacation. Try limiting yourself to 25 grams a day or less. Maybe then you’ll be singing, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” instead.