Let’s talk about sugar: Everyone’s weakness. “A little wont hurt you.” or “I just have a craving for something sweet.” Is typically what I hear from clients who are trying to justify that having sugar is OKAY. America has a sugar addiction and it exists in many forms besides that sweet white grainy or powdery form (usually GMO) we typically see and can find at a grocery store. Corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, are some of the more popular forms of sugar we see on a daily bases. In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption (per year) was around 15-20 pounds per person. Today, the national average person consumes his/her weight in sugar, plus 20 pounds of corn syrup. What in the what??? Think about how much you weigh for a second and pour that much sugar into a bottle and try to drink that. Adding on to that wonderfully healthy site, there are people out there who have cut out sugar or keep it to the bare minimum which means there are other people out there consuming enough sugar for two or more people. I’m going to let that sink in there for a minute.
But why is this such a big deal? I will tell you… Some people believe that sugar is its own food group. *<insert wtf face here>* Replacing a macro nutrient (fat, carb, protein) with sugar is not only problematic, but your vital organs can NOT handle that much sugar and can actually damage your body. Yes, sugar in some form can be found in foods but its self contains:
NO Healthy Fats
It’s pretty much just empty substance that can be quickly digested AND it can actually pull minerals from the body during digestion. So what does it really do? Nothing really beneficial, it just tastes good which then becomes an addiction.
Dr. David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition says, “white refined sugar is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact that cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula in C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms, and absolutely nothing else to offer.”… the chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. Sugar’s formula again is C12H22O11. For all practical purposes, the difference is that sugar is missing the “N”, or nitrogen atom.”
Sugar is compared to cocaine…. Something that gets consumed at this quantity should NEVER be compared to a drug like cocaine.
I can go on and on about sugar and the science behind it, but I feel that will take away the purpose of this article. The purpose is to make you more aware of what sugar can do to your body. Which takes me to sugar alcohols.
Sugar alcohols are becoming more and more popular in “health” foods or protein bars but in reality, it’s still sugar just with less calories. Xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol and erythritol are all types of sugar alcohols. They are incompletely absorbed in your small intestine which often can cause bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence which, let’s be honest, nobody got time for that.
Agave syrup can also be falsely advertised as “natural.” It is typically highly processed and is usually 80% fructose which in the end doesn’t even resemble the original agave plant. Advertisers really know all the loop holes and trick people into buying their products.
Honey is about 53% fructose BUT is completely natural in its raw form. SO long story short, buy the honey that says RAW on it. Yes, you will have to pay a little extra for it but when used in moderation, it can have a lot of health benefits and has as many antioxidants as spinach.
Stevia is highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South African stevia plant. This can be completely safe IF its in its natural form. SO before you go buying stevia, make sure its not tricking you!
But there is sugar in fruit! So stay away from fruit too? NO! Naturally occuring sugar in fruit AND vegetables are balanced by the fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other properties which slow down the digestion which helps the body deal with it more easily.
If it’s processed, it can create harmful effects on the body such as:
Increased bad cholesterol and triglycerides
Creates an addictive sugar response in the brain
Can increase the risk of heart disease
Increase risk for diabetes
Damages elastin and collagen in cells which can increase the aging process
Can negatively effect nutritional foundation, metabolism, and hormones in developing kids
So how much sugar is okay? If I am being honest here, no sugar is okay. I know, I know, it’s hard for me to even say but I have had real experience with these symptoms.
I swell up in the most random places and it’s quite annoying actually. If I am feeling bloated, odds are the inner part of my knees and right above my knees are swollen. Yes, I have paid enough attention for a while now to know this. I have cut out as much sugar as possible and when I went home recently, my parents had people over for a little dinner party. One of her friends brought over home made margarita mix, which is my favorite, and not thinking, I had about two cups of margaritas before I noticed my knees started to swell up and actually start to hurt. I asked her what was in her mix and she said one part sugar (not literally but most store bought mixes contain mostly sugar), one part water. I immediately knew that was the reason for my swelling because that was the only thing I had with sugar. That is how fast sugar negatively effects your body.
I am not trying to sit here and say sugar is the devil and never have any of it again but I am trying to spread awareness of what sugar can actually do to you. The next time you are craving something sweet, try grabbing a piece of fruit or some yogurt to kick that sugar craving to the curb.
Stay healthy my friends!