… A SWEET OLD FRIEND WHO IS PLANNING YOUR DEMISE?
“Eat less sugar…drink more water!” My four-year-old nephew yells this back at me every time he leaves my office. He thinks it’s funny that I tell them that every single time they come, but the truth is, for him, as for everyone, he is exponentially healthier when he does not eat sugar – or foods (like white flour and pasta) that become sugar in his system. We all hear it, we all know it – sugar is bad for you! However, in doing research, I was absolutely shocked to find these statistics:
In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar a year
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar a year
In 1900, the average person consumed about 90 pounds of sugar a year
In 2009, more than half of Americans consume 1/2 pound of sugar EVERY DAY – adding up to 180 pounds of sugar a year!
It’s in our drinks, our foods – almost ALL processed food – including the vegetables you order in restaurants! Some infant formula has the sugar equivalent of a can of soda – starting them out so young, it’s no wonder we have such problems with obesity and chronic disease! Sugar consumption promotes the storage of fat, exacerbates mood swings and mental disorders, leads to mineral deficiency, causes allergies and eczema, affects the sinuses to cause headaches, contributes to gallstones and hypertension, increases arthritis, and is one of the major causes of degenerative disease. As soon as sugar touches your lips, body-wide inflammation occurs (including the brain). One tablespoon of sugar reduces immune system function by 90% for 72 hours, and for that amount of time, weight loss is nearly impossible! Sugar also causes wrinkles. WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?
Well, it might be as simple as the feeling that we need to 'treat' ourselves for whatever reason, and we've learned that's what a treat is. But, new studies show sugar effects our brains the same way drugs of addiction do! (watch the video below to learn more...)
But not all sugar is created equal. Some sweeteners and naturally sweet whole foods, used in MODERATION (meaning, eating 180 pounds of these a year would also be harmful to us!), don’t do as much damage. Honey, for example, is 53% fructose, but, especially in its raw form, has some health benefits including having as many antioxidants as spinach! Coconut sugar, maple syrup, and Stevia are also natural sweeteners that, in moderation, don’t have a negative effect on us. **Just be sure to buy only the real thing – much of the honey, maple syrup, and even Stevia in grocery stores have additives that are not good for you! Check your labels, and, as always, local is best!** Of course, many foods contain sugar naturally, such as fruit. Eating the whole fruit, which also contains fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, helps neutralize the sugars. This is NOT true for fruit juices – they are not much better than soda!
What about all of the other sweeteners out there? We all have heard that high fructose corn syrup is bad, and this is due to its chemical composition that causes the fructose in it to be immediately absorbed and go into your liver. In addition ALL artificial sweeteners are not too much better than poison in our bodies – whether it’s Equal (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), or saccharin. If you come across a sweetener and are unsure if it is acceptable, bring it in and ask me!
So, what can we do to improve our sugar consumption? Check labels – low-fat and gluten-free foods often use sugar as a filler to make up for lost taste. Beware of anything that ends in –ose (sucrose, dextrose, etc.), syrups, evaporated cane juice, maltodextrin. And even though our bodies can become sensitized to sugar – craving larger quantities while being able to absorb more and therefore increase the negative effects, there is good news. Studies show that when you go even two weeks without consuming sugar, sugar sensitization rapidly decreases, which will cause your body to be less reactive to it. Try it – it is really amazing to see the changes in your body when you pay attention and make changes to the way you eat! Sugar is addictive, both physically and emotionally – if you find yourself struggling to stick to it, let us know! We can help with both supplements and recipes.