You may recall a few months back I wrote an entry discussing sugar – friend or foe? Well, as I hoped to point out, it is not your friend! I could write numerous addendums to that topic and probably never fully be able to emphasize that fact enough. Today is one of those occasions.
Time Magazine recently published a health special, A to Z Health Guide, which covers most topics briefly. I was relieved to see that the dangers of sugar are being discussed more and more in general, and was, of course, touched upon in this magazine. The section that caught my eye was one that clarified the differences of glucose, fructose and sucrose. Although they sound the same, they do not have the same impact on your body.
Glucose is produced by your body after you digest and break down starches and carbohydrates, and this is the easiest on your body. Surprisingly enough, it is fructose, the sugar obtained from various fruits, that can be dangerous if eaten excessively over time. Excessive fructose puts you in the ring for risks such as heart disease and diabetes. The reason for this is that more fat develops in the liver and do not react to insulin properly. We are always taught that fruit is good for us, but the thing to consider is all of the other places that fructose lingers.
Working in an office, or any workplace for that matter, we see more fructose on a daily basis than any of us would like to believe. It is all of the processed foods, mainly, that typically contain sucrose, which is a combination of fructose and glucose. I would like to challenge you to start paying attention to everything you consume and the things that are consumed around you, and you would be amazed at home sugar is consumed. Beverages alone make up a great deal of this when you look at most sweetened beverages such as sodas, juices, energy drinks and the like. It has been said that the average American consumes 53 tablespoons of sugar per day. Can you believe that? Yes, this is a problem. So I urge you to pay attention to the things that you put in your mouth going forward, because it is certainly easy to fall into the trends of our fellow co-workers when it comes to processed, convenient foods and drinks. If there is something that you love more than most, perhaps a type of soda or snack, put a limit on it and make it for those exceptional days and eliminate all other unnecessary sugars.
And believe me, this is as hard for me to swallow (or literally, not swallow!) as it is for you, but we will all feel and look better for those better choices!
Training Connection says
Wow! Written with lots of passion for sure. I too have decided to minimize my refined white sugar intake yet its hard to tell which means of sweetening are still acceptable. Is organic sugar- even more natural- organic brown sugar, okay? How about Stevia as an alternative?
Currently, Michelle Obama is making a campaign against childhood obesity in this country. All of our foods are so filled with white refined sugars, transfats, sodium and other chemical #5’s and sprayed down with detrimental pesticides, how and what can we eat at all? Never mind the fact that putting your healthy foods in plastic containers can disrupt your hormones in your middle age.
I would love your book recommendations about this. Its a great choice but very hard to choose. Yeah, we are sweeties!
sarah present says
Thank you for the feedback. While organic sugars and organic brown sugar might be a step up, they certainly are not better by much. Stevia is a good alternative, and it is becoming more well known, you can find many great recipes substituting with Stevia or Xylitol as well.
Childhood obesity in our country is no joke. Today the food available to us is certainly not the food that was available 50 years ago. This is why it is so incredibly important to educate ourselves and, most importantly, our children, on how to take care of ourselves and eat properly. If we don’t, we can EXPECT illness and disease later on in life. Well, I could go on and on!
Most of the information I have read on sugar and its impact on the body have been from medical and nutrition journals, magazines and various sections of nutrition books. I would, however, recommend starting with this book, “Suicide By Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction”, by Nancy Appleton. It has gotten good reviews and it is on my list of books to read as well.
Tony Zelinko says
Thanks for bringing up the topic of sugar and abuse of it. Let me start with knowing the differences in sugars is not enough. Even realizing that fructose causes decreased insulin sensitivity and other problems.
Here is an excerpt from that article in TIME.
“The fructose-drinking volunteers also were not as sensitive to insulin, the hormone released by the pancreas to capture and break down glucose in the blood and store it as fat. Insulin insensitivity is one of the first signs of diabetes.”
It doesn’t stop there, In the process of trying to break down all these sugars a multitude of things are happening to you. Your ability to control your apetite is compromised by the inaccurate release of Leptin a hormone that controls hunger. It directly affects the part of your brain the satiety center and between the two you never really feel satisified once you start taking in your calories with high sugared products. Another very important item to note is that whenever we take in a lot of sugar we “get a sugar high”. For a short time you feel good and then you crash. Your body wants to continue that high it’s an addiction thats why one can of soda is not enough. I’ve talked to people who drink six cans a day. There’s more and more.
The American consumer doesn’t have a clue how bad it really is and the medical community can only cite specific studies, such as the one mentioned in TIME.
I explained the differences of sugars to a friend this past weekend.
If I take my right hand and try to overlap my left or clone it, I can’t.
It’s a mirror image of each other but not the same. With sugars it’s the sterochemistry that matters and how they react specifically with other compounds and the resulting complex that is formed is the critical thing. Not that they are just all called sugars.
If you liked to here more of my comments and rants please visit my blog at http://www.bontemedical.com/blog
sarah present says
Tony, thank you for your comment. What an excellent dialog. I agree, that there is so much more to know than just the differences between the sugars. It is way more involved than my little blog could ever cover. I just hope we can inspire others to continue to learn about it, before terrible things like diabetes and heart disease set in.