Skinny Bitch, Chapter 3: “Sugar is the Devil”. Crazy Sexy Diet, Chapter 3: “ Sugar: The Legal Drug”. Entire chapters have been devoted to why we shouldn’t be consuming as much sugar as we currently are. Both books lay it out in a no-nonsense approach: if you eat too much sugar you are putting your body through hell & making yourself sick. Sick you say? Yes, sick & fat. Interested to learn more? Please, read on folks.
Some of the health problems associated with excess consumption of white, refined sugar include: acne, weakened immunity, candida (yeast overgrowth), cavities, cancer, inflammation, strips your body of important minerals, hormonal imbalance, hypoglycemia, ADD, ADHD, enlargement of kidneys & liver, imbalance of neurotransmitters in your brain, diabetes… the list goes on! Understanding the physiology of our body is critical in seeing the big picture as to how we metabolize sugar so here is a mini crash course…
When we ingest something that has sugar in it, a few things happen. First, the liver breaks it down into glucose, the simplest form, and spits it out into the bloodstream. Simultaneously, our pancreas is pumping insulin into the blood. Insulin brings the glucose into our cells for immediate energy use. When our cells have reached maximum capacity for glucose however, insulin must take it back to the liver to be stored as glycogen (stored energy). If this glycogen does not get used up via exercise, between meals, sleep, etc. the liver too reaches capacity and converts it into… yep you guessed it. Fat. In the form of triglycerides. This fat is stored, mostly around the abdominal area, increasing your chance of heart disease and diabetes. So really when you think about sugar in this way, it doesn’t sound so sweet, right?
In Crazy Sexy Diet, author Kris Carr includes a handy list of “Sneaky Sugar” that is very helpful to know the different names sugar comes in. Some, not all, of the ones listed include:
– Brown sugar
– Corn sweetener
– Corn syrup
– Fruit juice concentrate
– High-fructose corn syrup!
– Maple sugar
– Maple syrup
– Raw sugar
With all these alias’, sugar certainly sneaks its way into
SOO TOO many foods. Not only do you have the simple carbohydrates you should avoid (white flours, white rice, white pasta), but we’re also pretty doomed with the majority of foods packaged or pre-made. Added sugar is hidden in many salsas, condiments, almond/soy/rice milks, crackers, dressings, dips, flavored drinks, breads, dark chocolate… the list goes on! Pay attention to labels and ask at restaurants! I’ve become a rockstar at this… it only gets easier with time and you really come to know the brands that are not adding all the evils.
One more thing to keep in mind is that just because a sugar is labeled “vegan” or “organic” does not mean it’s any better for you. Granted, if you are going to consume anything it is always best to choose organic. However, when push comes to shove, organic sugar does not justify you eating an entire package of cookies.
So, what is my take on all this? It’s easy. I avoid all those listed above between 90-99% of the time. For now, I do enjoy beer once in awhile and I love me some dark chocolate. Unless I’m making my own I don’t have much choice so I give myself that. Allow yourself some breather room and just remember you are changing your eating habits for your WELL BEING. You’ll feel better both physically and mentally. Don’t be so hard on yourself that you go crazy. Cause that’s no fun. Aim for sanity & health! :)