Actually, we are too sweet.
Is that possible? We like sweet personalities. We like sweet responses. We like sweet hugs and kisses. However, we should not like sweet blood, sweet cells or a sweet brain. Let me explain.
Of course, our bodies require glucose to function properly. Carbohydrates break down into glucose and give the cells energy. Some of our organs can use protein and fat for energy when carbohydrate intake is low. The brain and red blood cells require only glucose for energy. Bottom-line, the body requires sugar, just not as much as the average person gives it.
Glucose comes from the Carbohydrates we eat.
Simple carbohydrates such as table sugar, maple syrup, honey, jelly and jam, fruit drinks, soft drinks, and candy are digested very rapidly and increase the blood sugar quickly.
Complex carbohydrates come from whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans and lentils to name a few. These foods take longer to digest and absorb, therefore, hunger returns quickly.
The fruit in an apple is the same sugar as a spoon of sugar, but the difference is the fiber in the apple that causes the digestion to slow down absorption into the blood stream.
When the blood stream fill quickly with sugar this causes a rapid increase in insulin telling the cells to open so the glucose can get inside of the cells. When insulin levels are high, the blood glucose drops quickly causing you to feel hungry. When insulin levels are consistently high, the cells can become resistant to insulin causing the blood glucose levels to stay higher for longer periods of time. Increased Insulin causes increased belly fat, high glucose levels, obesity and if the person is also inactive the risk for diabetes and heart disease increase.
We do want a sweet personality, but we do not want an excess of sugar in the blood stream.
The average sugar intake is 22 to 30 or more teaspoons a day. The recommended is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men..
How is sugar hidden?
Labels include the ingredients in the highest amount first and then go down in that order. Many times, the food companies will put several different types of sugar in a product, so they do not have to have sugar listed high on the label. They also hope the consumer does not know all the different names for sugar. Here is your list so you are informed. By the way. There are many more than listed below.
Cane juice crystals
Fruit juice concentrate
Organic raw sugar
Evaporated cane juice
Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
Wet Sugar = syrups
High-fructose corn syrup
Rice bran syrup
What is wrong with processed food?
Loaded with added sugars.
Designed to have you overeat.
Huge abundance of artificial products.
Addiction to junk food is not a myth and the food companies are counting on it.
Often high in highly refined carbohydrates
Low in nutrients and fiber.
Often high in trans fats.
Serving sizes smaller than you think so a person is really eating 2-3 servings without knowing it.
Notice a pattern. Sugar, Sugar, Sugar
Sugar is an addictive substance
Several studies have found sugar to affect the brain the same way addictive substances such as nicotine, cocaine, and morphine does. This was a wake up call for me. Addiction is addiction. I want to be in control of my own life, not be dependent on the next craving. You may say, “Yes but it is everywhere, and it is legal.” My answer is, “Drugs are everywhere for those who are addicted.”
Sugar can release endogenous opioids in the brain, which leads to a rush similar to the what a person experiences when they inject heroin. That is addiction. Without the sugar cravings get more intense and withdrawal symptoms occur.
How to wean off sugar
Prepare yourself – you may feel very lousy before you feel good. Like someone coming off a drug, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Have a partner
Set a date to have a sugar halt.
Choose your tactics – Two ways to do it. Gradually and Cold Turkey
Gradually you will have less intense withdrawal symptoms, but the symptoms will stay longer.
Cold Turkey will be harder but faster end to the withdrawal symptoms. Cut out all forms of sugar, white flour, prepackaged foods, sweetened beverages.
Symptoms you may experience:
Emotional and mental symptoms
Changes in sleep patterns
Cognitive issues – Difficulty concentrating. May forget things, hard to focus on school or work
Light-headedness and dizziness
What about Fruit?
Fruits contain a type of sugar called fructose. Fresh fruit has no added sugar, but sugar levels range from 1 teaspoon per 100 grams in cranberries to over 3 teaspoons in grapes.
All figures below show naturally occurring sugar per 100 g serving. Keep in mind that consuming fruit is part of a healthy and well-balanced diet and that the sugar in fruit has not demonstrated adverse effects on health.
Mangos: 2.77 teaspoons of sugar
Bananas: 2.48 teaspoons of sugar
Apples: 2.11 teaspoons of sugar
Pineapples: 2 teaspoons of sugar
Grapes: 3.14 teaspoons of sugar
Lemons: 0.5 teaspoons of sugar
Kiwi fruit: 1.82 teaspoons of sugar
Apricots: 1.87 teaspoons of sugar
Strawberries: 0.99 teaspoons of sugar
Raspberries: 0.9 teaspoons of sugar
Blueberries: 2.02 teaspoons of sugar
Cranberries: 0.87 teaspoons of sugar
Tomatoes: 0.53 teaspoons of sugar
That sweet taste on the lips does more harm that a lifetime on the hips.
The American Heart Association has several studies that implicated sugar with various health conditions:
Obesity: A recent study in QJM found that eating more sugar and consuming artificially sweetened soda is associated with obesity. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262978.php
Heart disease: Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine investigated sugar intake and deaths related to cardiovascular disease. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2749350
They concluded that: “Most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. There is a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.”
Type 2 diabetes: Sugar consumption is an indirect cause of diabetes. Individuals who consume more sugar than average are also more likely to be overweight, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and Heart disease.
Even “healthy” foods can be high in sugar
With as many as 11 teaspoons (46.2 grams) of added sugar in some 12-oz. sodas, a single serving exceeds the AHA recommendation for men and is about twice the allowance for women and children. But sugar isn’t only in beverages and sweet baked goods. Here are some healthy-looking items you might find in the supermarket that also have high sugar contents:
– One leading brand of yogurt contains 7 teaspoons (29 grams) of sugar per serving.
– A breakfast bar made with “real fruit” and “whole grains” lists 15 grams of sugar.
– A single cup of bran cereal with raisins, in a box advertising “no high-fructose corn syrup,” contains 20 grams of sugar per serving.
– A cranberry/pomegranate juice product, also advertising “no high-fructose corn syrup” and “100% Vitamin C,” contains 30 grams of added sugar per 8 oz. serving. Some of the sugar is naturally occurring, but some of it has been added.