Public Enemy #1: Sugar

Public Enemy #1: Sugar

Do you have any idea which food is public enemy #1 to our health? On average, Americans eat 2 to 4 pounds of this stuff every week. In 1900, Americans only consumed about 5 pounds per year. It's known by many names and is a cheap favorite of food manufacturers. It causes havoc in your body and is responsible many adverse health conditions and diseases. This stuff is terrible for you and your children.

Corn syrup, barley malt, glucose, call it what you will, but it's all sugar and it's detrimental to our well being.

There's been a lot of in the news about the negative effects of sugar. Sugar really does act like a poison when in the wrong form or when consumed in high amounts. It's been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and vascular disease, and more.

Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate family is broken into 2 groups; fiber and starch, which are then broken into sub groups: simple and complex starches and soluble and insoluble fiber. However, I'm talking about added sugars, refined and processed sugars (altered by man), also known as simple sugars that don't naturally occur in foods. Some sugars can be good for you, like the ones in the form of complex carbohydrates that come from nature, sugars like the ones found in beets, carrots, apples, etc. The best sugars come from complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are foods with fiber and offer many other health benefits.

Your body needs some sugar to be healthy. Your brain, central nervous system, and cells use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. In fact 40-55% of your calories should be from carbohydrates. Blood sugar energy received from complex carbohydrates is the cleanest form of fuel to burn. Your carbohydrates should come from vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils and whole grains, a.k.a. complex carbohydrates.

But not all starches and sugars are the same. Avoid foods with a high glycemic load; instead look for foods with a glycemic load of 10 or less. Some of Mother Nature's foods still carry a high sugar content. Starchy vegetables that have little fiber can raise blood sugar quickly, causing the same kind of problems that added sugars cause. For example, the glycemic load for dates is 22, which is high and the glycemic load for strawberries is 1, which is very low. The glycemic load for a baked russet potato is 33, compared to a sweet potato, ranging from 11 to 16. The lower glycemic foods have a lot of healthy fiber, which slows down the conversion of the starch to blood sugar.

Avoid using artificial sweeteners as a replacement. Unpasteurized honey and black strap molasses are the best natural sweeteners, but use them sparingly.

Sugar has made its way into almost every food stuff man is processing and refining. Sugar is added to bacon. luncheon meats, mayonnaise, peanut butter, dried fruit, fruit juices, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, prepared foods, cereal, granola, cookies, flavored milk, soft drinks, coffee drinks and hundreds, if not thousands, of other foods. Milk has about 3 teaspoons of sugar per 8 ounce glass.

The purpose of the added sugar is to make you eat more of the food it's in. It’s all about money. If you keep buying it, the food manufacturers will keep selling it. Stop buying it and they will begin to make healthier foods.

Your best defense is learning to read food labels and being able to find all the different names of sugar. When reading the food label pay special attention to the serving size and the grams of sugar per serving. Try to limit the amount of sugar you consume to 5 grams or less per serving. Look for foods that have 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.

Healthy wishes

Certified Nutritional Consultant

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