Ok, so I admit it. Even though I should know better, I love sweet foods and SUGAR ! Who doesn’t! Are we fighting a losing battle? Is that so bad?
Look what we are up against. Sucrose is good old table sugar – refined white glistening granules of joy. Sucrose becomes glucose and fructose in digestion. Fructose and especially High Fructose Corn Syrup, is added to beverages, especially pop and fruit juices, and many processed foods. Fructose is sweeter than sucrose and less expensive in the US because of government corn subsidies. Fruits and vegetables also contain some natural sucrose and fructose so how bad can they be?
Well, let’s see what happens in our bodies? Glucose is our body’s preferred energy source. It readily enters the blood stream for energy use in the brain, muscles and all organs throughout the body. Under the control of Insulin, some of the excess glucose is converted to glycogen to be stored in the muscles and liver, and the rest gets converted to – you guessed it – fat.
What the heck is Insulin Resistance? Well, with repeated and excessive glucose in our bodies, the insulin becomes less and less effective in controlling blood sugar and voila – a recipe for fat accumulation, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Inflammation !
How about Fructose? It doesn’t need insulin and heads straight to the liver where it is used to convert fatty acids into triglycerides and more FAT and fatty liver disease !
What about High Fructose Corn Syrup ( HFCS )which is found in so many sweetened drinks and processed foods ? First of all, it is not a natural sugar – it’s made from cane sugar which is chemically altered into a designer sweetener. It is broken down in the body into glucose and fructose –more sweetness, more fat!
What about bread and pasta? Guess what ? They are also carbs that rapidly raise blood sugar ie. blood glucose, the insulin release and the fat deposition for the unused glucose. Darn it! You are better off eating more protein, vegetables and good fats, instead of a sandwich.
The bottom line is that sugar, fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup contribute to more calorie rich and fat -forming foods without enhancing the nutritional quality of those foods. Excessive use contributes to a myriad of health issues – a topic for another time.
So what can we do to mitigate the harm? Look at sugar as your friend and your enemy – a small treat, not the main event ! Try smaller portions, combine with other foods like nuts or seeds or combine less pasta with more protein to slow the rate of sugar uptake. Consider reducing the amount of sweeteners in our foods and beverages, drink a lot more water and herbal tea instead of pop and juices, reduce processed foods and choose snacks that are low in sugar, high in protein. ! You are now on the road to good health.
If you need more advice on your specific health and nutrition concerns, give me a shout. I’m Marsha Fenwick…Nutrition is my Mission