Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday's Tip of the Day

Beware of Sugar.

 Let’s face the facts. We live in a world that expects birthday cakes, Christmas cookies, and Halloween/Easter/Valentine's Day candy. Some people are successful, realigning their lifestyle to not include these massive amounts of sugar, but the vast majority of the health conscious population will occasionally bump up against the dreaded wall of compromise. Well, I can just have this one piece of cake to make my Mom happy... A couple of Thin Mints won't kill me...
Sugar, as we know it, is evil. Refined sugar has been processed and robbed of all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients that original sugar cane or beet contains.  In fact, refined sugar lacks chromium (a chemical needed for our blood sugar levels to be healthily managed). Of course, the processed food industry and sugar growers don't want us to know this about sugar. In fact, they go so far as to financially sponsor the American Dietetic Association. Don't believe me? Check out their list of sponsors here. It's pretty hard to speak out against the people who are backing you financially, right?

As I was searching online this week, I found this article which outlines the properties of sugar. I am just going to list twelve of the 76 dangers listed: 
  1. Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.
  2. Sugar causes food allergies.
  3. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
  4. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
  5. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
  6. Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA.
  7. Sugar can change the structure of protein and cause a permanent alteration of the way the proteins act in your body.
  8. Sugar can make your skin age by changing the structure of collagen.
  9. Sugar can cause cataracts and nearsightedness.
  10. Sugar can cause emphysema.
  11. Sugar lowers the ability of enzymes to function.
  12. Sugar can increase the size of your liver by making your liver cells divide and it can increase the amount of liver fat.
I don't know about you but I don't want to put that into my body... Yet, we do. In 2010, more than 50% of Americans were consuming over half a pound of sugar per day. That's 180 POUNDS of sugar per year. Seriously, imagine that all sitting in a HUGE pile in front of you. Impossible, you say, I definitely don't eat that much sugar... What most people don't realize it's that sugar is in practically everything that comes in a box or bag. It's in your sports drinks, deli meats, spreads, cheeses, and crackers not to mention the soda, cake, brownies, cookies etc where you would expect to see it. Even infant formula contains as much sugar as a glass of soda. From birth, some babies are learning to be dependent on it. Sad...sad...sad...

Sugar is addictive. When we go on a sugar high our bodies release hormones to reduce the sugar level in our blood back to a normal level, which is the same thing that happens when we consume caffeine. Unfortunately, as these suppressive hormones have side effects in themselves, such as stress and ultimately, lethargy. Once the cycle is complete, it leaves us feeling like nothing else but more sugar. So, this is why we are craving sugar. You've got to break the cycle!

This week, I challenge you to take a look at your labels to see just how much sugar you are consuming. Then, take that number and divide it in two. Eat that amount for the next week and see how you feel. With less of the highs and lows (sugar crash), I am betting you'll feel a lot better. 

Oh and don't pull out the Sweet 'n Low just yet. Next week's tip will be all about artificial sweeteners. Stay tuned...

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