We’ve all been taught that too much sugar is no good. But why is this? Glucose, a type of sugar, is the main fuel source for the brain. But what happens to the body when these glucose levels go haywire? And why do they go haywire even if we are trying to control our sugar intake?
It is common knowledge that cookies, cakes and candy contain a lot of sugar. But it is not so commonly known that sugar is one of the most widely used ingredients in our food, that it hides in our salty crackers, our pasta sauces, ketchups, juices, yogurts, peanut butters, dried fruit, breakfast bars, salad dressings and breads! Quite a list… ! Why does your peanut butter need sugar in it? It doesn’t. A little bit of sugar here and there isn’t a problem. The problem is that sugar is in so many of our foods, we are eating it even if we are not having dessert or a cookie!
Sugar is a carbohydrate and there is a list of names under which it is referred to in our food. Sugar may be called fructose, glucose, sacrose, lactose dextrose, cane sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, ethyl maltol, malto dextrin, agave nectar, carob syrup, barley malt, rice syrup, and the list goes on. Check out more names for sugar here.
Sugar has been researched for decades. Studies show that sugar intake is directly linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, mood disorders, heart disease, acne, cancers, depression, fatigue, fatty liver, declining cognitive health, tooth decay, blood sugar problems and so on and so forth as this list can go on for a long time! The goal for you and your loved ones should be to eat a little bit of dessert sometimes and not to eat foods which contain “added” sugar.
Sugar is proven to have addictive properties, and so in this nature, the more you have, the more you crave/need. When we eat sugar, our reward receptors in the brain are activated. When someone tells me I should only have a little, that’s like telling me I, as an ex cigarette smoker, should only have 1 cigarette a day. Impossible for me! I have been battling, my entire life, with moderation of sugar. But the fact is that if I intake a little bit of sugar at breakfast, a muffin or a sugar breakfast bar, I set the tone of my entire day, which means all day I will be craving and thus eating sugar. I have tried only having a little bit of chocolate. This did not work. I have tried having a tiny piece of cake. This did not work. I have learned that for me, the best and only way out of this loop is to not eat sugar at all. This isn’t easy for me, but more often than not, I feel better, sleep better and have a lot more energy throughout the day.
Our bodies function with billions of different kind of bacteria. Some bacteria in our gut is good for us, and some bacteria is bad for us. The bad bacteria multiply most efficiently under a high sugar diet. One of my doctors said, “whenever you feel a craving for sugar, it’s not you craving, it’s your bacteria being starved of their own food.” H.Pylori is a bacteria that most people in the world have in their gut. Much of the time, it is not “enacted” and does not cause any problems. But for some people, H.Pylori can cause painful symptoms. This bacteria thrives on all carbohydrates including sugars. Some people have been able to extrapolate the bacteria naturally, taking all sugars out of their diet, and supplementing with certain supplement regimens. Most others have to use one or two bouts of strong antibiotics. H.Pylori and other bad bacteria are linked to cancers, autoimmune conditions and inflammation, and digestive issues among other diseases. When we have a lot of bad bacteria in our gut, the good bacteria does not flourish, and thus the bad does.
For years now, I have been militant about reading nutrition-labels. It is now second nature to me to check ingredients of a new food that I am buying, and to avoid those which have a high sugar content and unnatural ingredients. Just recently, it was announced that the nutrition labels in the US must show how much “added sugar” there is in a food product. Many foods are naturally sweet and contain sugar. Added sugars is where it gets tricky and unhealthy.
Certain foods high in natural sugar are still a little problematic. 100% Natural juices are high in sugar, but it is always better to eat an orange than to drink orange juice. Eating the orange will stimulate different parts of your digestion and you will intake fiber, something that is mostly lost in the squeezing of oranges.
Ever wonder why the nutrition label does not show the daily recommended dosage in percentage, but other categories do? There was no clear agreement between the recommended dosage. “Big Sugar” is a large and powerful industry. It has prevented the publishing of scientific studies about its negative affects on the body from fear of losing its profits. The low-fat food craze was born out of Big Sugar’s refusal to comply with FDA’s recommended dosage of sugar (between 6 teaspoons and 9 teaspoons per day). Be wary of low fat foods and soda drinks as they have been loaded with sugars to make them more palatable to eat. Check out the amount of sugar in your coca cola can next time you feel like following the recommended dosage! 39 grams! That’s 8 teaspoons of sugar!
A diet high in excess glucose leads the body to convert it into fats, exhibiting the complexity of the age old myth that burning off the calories you ate means weight loss! The “calorie content” in the food you eat is nowhere near as important as the ingredients you’re putting in your body.
We are always told what NOT TO DO, thus we have created such a negative, wary and fearful relationship with food. How many of you or your friends are just always “watching what you eat.” Don’t “watch” what you eat, enjoy what you eat by eating fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, whole fish, nuts, and products with raw and natural ingredients in them and always check your nutrition label for that hidden little killer drug we all love.
If you are interested in learning more about sugar, check out this documentary on Amazon Prime called Fed Up. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can watch it for free in two parts here: