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Monday, May 27, 2013

WAKE UP Without the Sugar Boost!


Hey everybody! I hope you are all doing well! Today is Memorial Day - so Happy Memorial Day everyone! Today would normally be a day consumed with grilling steaks, hamburgers, and hot dogs and devouring sugary sweets and side dishes, but since it's raining pouring actually here in Kansas, I doubt much of that will be occurring. This may actually be a good thing concerning our health. :)

Okay, I'm going to put on my best sweet talking voice pun totally intended :), and talk to you about one of the biggest drugs pushed in America (and even the world) today....SUGAR! Yes, I call it a drug - don't you?!? Let's see, it causes cravings and addiction, leads to bad habits/choices, alters the mental state upon consumption or with drawls, leads to poor sleeping habits, leads to diseases brought on by the inner decay of the body (i.e. organs shutting down, chemical imbalance, glucose imbalance - diabetes), and weight gain....sounds like a drug to me.

Did you know that the average American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar a year...that's roughly 3 pounds of sugar PER WEEK!!! WHAT!?!?!?! That's over 14 tablespoons of sugar PER DAY! We are only supposed to be consuming up to 4 tablespoons of sugar per day (and that's natural sugar!). The average sugar intake per year of Americans has increased by 30 pounds since 1970 (and back then it was still crazy high!!!). NOW, tell me why we are so surprised by the obesity rate and high risks of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart problems in this country?! Although this sounds completely directed at Americans, the rest of the world's sugar intake has increased by ridiculous amounts as well (but what else should be expected when pastries are considered breakfast daily and meals consist of high-carb loads with low protein?). Those numbers are just for adults...now think about the children with all those candy and soda machines at school or after school activities (One can of soda contains more than 4 tablespoons of sugar!!!). It used to be thought of as okay (even though it wasn't) to let kids eat tons of sugar because kids are always thought of as more active than adults and the "oh, they'll run it off" phrase was often given as an excuse, but kids now days are much more sedentary with the increase of social media and gaming systems. Everyone is being affected. No excuses...LISTEN UP!

Just because you may not be indulging in sweets every day DOES NOT mean that you are not taking in LOADS of sugar! Almost all processed foods contain sugar...I will repeat that...Almost all processed foods contain sugar!!!!!! Did you get that...it WILL be on the test! The test of life that is... You MUST always check the nutritional labels at the store to know exactly how much sugar you are taking into your body (and even with that...be careful! Check the serving sizes people! Just because you are only holding 1 pack of something in your hand doesn't mean that it only has 1 serving in it...it may contain 30 servings with 12g of sugar PER serving. In other words, if you eat the whole thing, you are eating 360g of sugar in one sitting!!!! AAAH!!!).

*Side note about checking nutritional information on store bought goods: Just because something says it's fat-free does not mean that it actually is and here's why: fat-free labeled items are generally processed with extra sugar added to replace the flavor of the fat that was removed. Extra sugar means extra calories...which leads to what class?!?!? FAT!!! ahahahaha! The cycle continues!). So what's the answer? Check the label...if it says fat free, make sure the sugar content is still low or you are paying extra (for a healthy item) just to get the same thing as the regular item or worse!

Carbohydrates are all sugars, however, the different types of sugars create the three different types of carbs: level one - simple sugar carbs, level two - starch carbs, and level three - fiber carbs. With each level, the number of sugar molecules in the carbs associated with that level number increase (i.e. simple sugars = 1 sugar molecule while fiber = 3 or more sugar molecules). The more sugar molecules there are in one carbohydrate, the longer it takes to break down and the healthier it is for you. Remember our talk about simple vs. complex carbs? See how this ties in?? So...exchange your simple sugars for complex sugars if possible.

Sugar is found in many items that you may not even know about due to the alternative names given to it on nutrition labels. Sugar is labeled in the following ways:

Sugar - Brown, white, cane(duh!)
Dextrose
Lactose
Fructose
Sucrose
Maltose
Glucose
...noticing a pattern here?
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Sorghum syrup
Syrup
Molasses
Honey
...another pattern??
Sorbitol
Fruit juice concentrate

So, if you see these words on a nutrition label, BE AWARE...you are eating sugar!

There are clearly benefits and disadvantages to eating the different types of sugars. Too much sugar of any kind will cause high blood sugar levels which has been linked to diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, high LDL, obesity, heart problems, etc. As the body fights to create and distribute enough insulin to battle the high levels of sugar being consumed, the pancreas gets overworked and worn out and the insulin is no longer available in the correct amounts (i.e. diabetes). This doesn't mean stop eating sugar entirely...low-blood sugar is just as dangerous for you! The key is eating sugar in moderation and realizing all of the items that it is in so that you can calculate it properly. Click here for more information on the break down of carbohydrates and the benefits/disadvantages of eating sugar or here.

Of course there are sugar-free products, but these can be just as dangerous. Want to know why? Come back tomorrow and find out!

Have a great day! I hope you learned something! :)

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*Disclaimer: All of the information provided here is the opinion of the author after thorough research of medical surveys, medical reports, and medical/government web site information. It has not been reviewed by a medical professional and results cannot be guaranteed by the author. Consult with your doctor before planning any diet or fitness changes.

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