November 21, 2014

Sugar: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In 2009, it was estimated that more than 50% of North Americans consumed nearly half a pound of sugar PER DAY! Sugar is in almost everything we consume – from pretzels to soda, yet consuming it has proven to be very detrimental to our health. Several years ago we all went on low fat diet: low fat this and low fat that… yet the obesity rate is steadily increasing. What is up with that? We have replaced fat with sugar and created an entire new array of health problems. Diets high in sugar can lead to insulin resistance which means that the insulin has a reduced glucose-lowering effect. When insulin resistance exists, more insulin needs to be secreted by the pancreas and if the compensatory increase does not occur, blood glucose concentrations increase and may result in Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is said to be affecting 90 to 95% of the U.S. diabetes population?not a good thing!

The Problem(s) With Fructose

Not all sugars are created equal -while some sugars are good for our health, others can have a serious impact when regularly taken in large amount. Research has demonstrated that our bodies metabolize fructose in a much different way than glucose. Unfortunately, the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver- causing major problems like: elevated blood pressure and blood sugar, damaged kidneys and inflammation.

And that’s not all! The following is an excerpt from Dr. Nancy Appleton’s (PhD) book Lick the Sugar Habit. Appleton provides readers with a list of 143 ways sugar can ruin one’s health. Prepare to be shocked! You can read the full article at http://nancyappleton.com/141-reasons-sugar-ruins-your-health/. Here is the list of the first 20:

1. Sugar can suppress your immune system.
2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
3. Sugar can cause juvenile delinquency in children.
4. Sugar eaten during pregnancy and lactation can influence muscle force production in offspring, which can affect an individual’s ability to exercise.
5. Sugar in soda, when consumed by children, results in the children drinking less milk.
6. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses and return them to fasting levels slower in oral contraceptive users.
7. Sugar can increase reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can damage cells and tissues.
8. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness in children.
9. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
10. Sugar reduces the body’s ability to defend against bacterial infection.
11. Sugar causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function – the more sugar you eat, the more elasticity and function you lose.
12. Sugar reduces high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
13. Sugar can lead to chromium deficiency.
14. Sugar can lead to ovarian cancer.
15. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.
16. Sugar causes copper deficiency.
17. Sugar interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium.
18. Sugar may make eyes more vulnerable to age-related macular degeneration.
19. Sugar raises the level of neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
20. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.

Alternative Sweeteners

Now that you know how harmful sugars can be to our bodies, here are some healthy sweeteners you can use as a substitute:
• Fruit concentrates
• Cinnamon
• Raw organic honey
• Black strapped molasses
• Stevia and Lo han

How to Curb your Sugar Cravings

If using an alternative is not appeasing to you here are some suggestions to help keep cravings at bay:

1. Look into “Nutritional Typing” and find your type – This will drastically help with food cravings.
2. Exercise regularly! When you feel a sugar craving kicking in go for a brisk walk or jog. Do this often enough and soon you’ll be craving exercise instead of sweets—the power of endorphins is amazing!
3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Keeping your stomach satisfied, but not too full, reduces cravings.
4. Drink your 8 glasses a day to stay hydrated and to maximize body functions.
5. Don’t skip breakfast! The body absorbs the majority of vitamins and minerals between 6am & noon. Beginning each day with a balanced meal stimulates the brain’s neurotransmitters to contribute to a feeling of well being all day!
6. Try to distract yourself when cravings kick in – take up a hobby when you’re bored, or write in a journal when you’re depressed.
7. Substitute with healthier alternatives like organic raw honey and organic black strap molasses.
8. The brain does not know the difference between real and artificial sweeteners, so stay away from them—they are also toxic to the body.

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