26 Oct Is Sugar Really the Devil?
There really aren’t many benefits to eating sugar, whether it be added table sugar to your coffee or fruit sugars added to the processed foods you eat – there is nothing that great about sugar no matter what form it comes in!
The main thing to remember is that it’s not fat that makes you fat… it’s SUGAR that makes you fat.
What is sugar?
Sugars are carbohydrates. It’s quite confusing… there are so many types of sugar it’s hard to keep track of them, and when industry keeps changing the names they use for it, it’s even harder to identify it on the ingredients list of the foods we buy.
A few common ones that we should be aware of are:
– Glucose, this is the main building block when it comes to carbohydrates and the one that is used by our brains and muscles for energy BUT when we eat too much of this the body stores the excess as fat. The best way to make sure you’re not eating too much is to use vegetables as your main carbohydrate source. Food manufacturers use dextrose when they add it to foods to disguise it. Added glucose or dextrose should be avoided.
– Fructose, also known as fruit sugar. This is obviously found in fruit but also added to processed foods to make them sweeter and the manufacturers get away with hiding it from you because it’s a “natural” sugar and is therefore listed in total carbohydrates rather than sugars on the nutrition information panel… very sneaky! One to watch out for, especially in yoghurts. Fruit juice is just plain BAD, I know it sounds healthy but it’s far too much sugar at once so get off the fruit juice and get into the water. Fruit is good for us, but in moderation. 2-3 pieces of fruit per day is plenty, any more than this and we’ll end up having excess carbohydrates to convert to stored fat in the body. A high number of people have trouble metabolising fructose in the body and suffer nasty side effects like bloating and diarrhoea from eating too much fruit.
– Sucrose, also known as common table sugar. This is manufactured from sugar cane and beets. Its structure is 1:1 glucose: fructose so it’s metabolised by the body in a similar way to fructose and high fructose corn syrup. It has no useful or beneficial nutrients whatsoever.
– High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), also known as corn starch and maize starch. This is really one to avoid… not digested well by the body and responsible for a number of growing health problems since its sudden surge of use in food products. Used in soft drinks and processed foods as a sweetener and known to contribute to non alcoholic fatty liver disease, decreases good cholesterol (HDL), and it also interferes with leptin causing you to never feel full… another cheeky ploy by food manufacturers to get you eating more of their product!
Why is sugar so bad for me?
There are quite a few negatives to having sugar in your diet, below are just a few to hopefully put you off the stuff…
– Sugar causes blood thickening, increasing your risk of clots.
– Sugar suppresses your immune system by affecting the function of white blood cells (your fighter cells).
– Sugar decreases leptin production, which is a hormone that tells your body to stop eating – very important in regulating your appetite.
– Sugar seems to encourage the growth of cancer cells.
– Sugar encourages fat storage and weight gain, especially if you have excess intake not being used for energy.
– Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
– High sugar intake over a long timeframe increases your risk of insulin resistance, type II diabetes and a number of other metabolic diseases.
I’ve also noticed that high sugar intake dehydrates the body, so after a big night of binge eating on cakes and biscuits it’s likely you’ll wake up with what I call a food hang over… not very comfortable.
So, the take home message is… avoid added sugars of any kind (glucose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup) and limit your fruit intake to no more than 3 pieces per day. This is one thing I’m not going to suggest having in moderation… just don’t eat it! SUGAR IS BAD!
If you do eat it, think of it as a “mental health” food for special occasions only, every now and then rather than daily.
– Stacey, “Make good choices…”