Sugar, we all think of it as that white refined substance that we put in our coffee or use in baking, but it is in many more things that we eat and drink. Sugar has become much more prominent in our diet since the low-fat craze took effect. When they took the fat out of the food they took all the taste too, the one way they found that they could make food taste better was to add sugar.
The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and the World Health Organization both recommend that we intake less than 10% (12 tsps.) of our total daily energy from free sugars, whereas a further reduction to less than 5% (6 tsps.) per day would provide additional health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends 9 tsps. per day for men and 6 tsps. per day for women. These numbers are based on a 2000 calorie per day intake.
Sugar provides us with a great energy boost, but unfortunately that doesn’t last and we feel drained afterwards and usually hungry and wanting more to eat. Sugar is hidden in all kinds of food, including those so called healthy foods. From cereals to granola bars to low fat yogurt, there can be as much if not more sugar in these than there is in a chocolate bar.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize how much sugar is in the products that they are putting into their bodies because the food industry uses all different types of sugars. If there is an ingredient that ends in ose like Dextrose or Sucrose or syrup like High Fructose Corn Syrup on the ingredient list than that is sugar. If sugar is one of the top 3 or if the product has more than one type of sugar in it then you probably shouldn’t be ingesting it. There are over 50 different names for sugar and we will list them below.
Different Names For Sugar
Agave Nectar Galactose
Barley Malt Glucose
Blackstrap Molasses Glucose Solids
Brown Sugar Golden Sugar
Buttered Sugar Golden Syrup
Cane Juice Grape Sugar
Caramel High Fructose Corn Sugar
Corn Syrup Honey
Corn Syrup Solids Icing Sugar
Confectioner's Sugar Invert Sugar
Carob Sugar Lactose
Castor Sugar Malt
Date Sugar Maltodextrin
Dehydrated Cane Juice Maltose
Demerara Sugar Malt Syrup
Dextran Maple Syrup
Diastatic Malt Organic Raw Sugar
Diatase Powdered Sugar
Ethyl Maltol Raw Sugar
Florida Crystals Refiner's Syrup
Fructose Rice Syrup
Fruit Juice Sorghum Syrup
Fruit Juice Concentrate Sucrose
1 teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4.17 grams of sugar, so if you see on the side of a box of cereal that it contains 10 grams of sugar per serving, that would be the same as 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar. But this is where they get us, the serving size, that 2 ½ teaspoons of sugar is for ¾ of a cup, and I don’t know about you but I’d need at least 3 of those just to fill me up for a couple of hours, so now if I also have some low-fat yogurt and a glass of juice with my breakfast then I’m probably to almost double my healthy daily intake of sugar.
Having too much sugar in our diet has been linked to various diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, certain cancers and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, depression, cellular aging and has also been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Sugar is made up of fructose and Glucose, our bodies use the Glucose as energy to power muscle and brain functions, while the liver coverts fructose into energy or stores it in the liver as Glycogen, unfortunately the liver is only able to store so much before the excess amount is turned into fat, which can lead to visceral fat which is fat that builds up in the liver and around the organs. This type of fat is much worse than the fat that builds up under your skin, it is known to secrete pro inflammatory hormones into your bloodstream that can wreak havoc on your health. If you have ever seen a person who is thin and can seem to eat whatever they want and never seem to get fat. Just because they are thin on the outside doesn’t mean that they are healthy. This can be known as TOFI (Thin On The Outside, Fat On The Inside). This is the category that I probably would place myself.
When we talk about Fructose as being bad for your body we are talking about the refined type, not Natural Fructose that is found in fruits and vegetables. Most people seem to think that if I eat too much fruit then I will get fat, that could be true if you are eating excess amounts of fruits (like 10 apples a day), but when you eat fruit you get all the fibre and nutrients that come with it, and it doesn’t absorb into your system as fast as the refined sugar based Fructose does, thereby not getting that huge sugar spike.
This is a huge topic which we will break down into several posts, touching on the topics of insulin resistance, the amounts of sugar that are in the liquids we drink daily, how sugar is addicting and how using sugar substitutes can be just as bad for you if you are trying to lose weight.
It is the conclusion of most doctors and scientists that research sugar (except those that are funded by the sugar or food industry) that sugar is extremely bay for the human body and should be avoided as much as possible. Sugar basically provides calories without any nutritional value (empty calories).
For the last 30 days of my 120 Day Healthy Living Exchange I will be doing a 30 day NO SUGAR Challenge. During those 30 days, I will be eating no foods that have any refined sugars in them. I know this will be hard as I’ve always been addicted to sugar.
Mark & Shelly
Join me on my journey into minimalism and healthy living.