All About Sugar (and a challenge!)
Updated: Dec 23, 2018
I would like to think by now that most of us (especially those who are actually reading my posts) understand that sugar is not great. And by not great I mean that it accelerates aging, promotes cancer cell growth, deteriorates the brain, activates the disease process, causes insulin release which can then lead to weight gain, deters the ability to gain muscle and is addictive. I've written on it before. However, the bigger problem is that unless you are actually reading labels and paying attention to what you eat, most of us have NO IDEA how much sugar we are consuming. And I'm not just talking about white sugar. I'm also taking about cereal, process grains, cookies, pasta, bread, rice, alcohol, fruit, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. There are also a TON of other names that sugar falls under, including, but not limited to:
High fructose corn syrup
Brown rice syrup
Evaporate cane juice
The other problem is that sugar is now so cheap. Like, FREAKING CHEAP. You can purchase about 7 big gulps or Slurpees at 7-11 for what it would cost for a bunless burger at Nuburger (No affiliation and I didn't price check that. I just love that they offer bunless burgers and use locally sourced meats). And the next time someone tells me that a calorie is a calorie is a calories, I'm going to freak out on. It is not hard to understand that 500 calories from your big gulp will be processed SO DIFFERENTLY than 500 calories from your bunless burger. You will NOT function the same on those calories. You won't. You cause a completely different hormonal response. You food is not only fuel. More importantly, it is information telling your body what to do and how to function. And if you give it a Slurpee you are not only telling it to be wired and store fat, but you are also activating the brain's addictive centers. Not only is sugar cheap, it's addictive. Double whammy! So if you feel like you are addicted to carbs, yeah, I get it. It's a thing. Which probably means you shouldn't eat it. And even a little bit of it will set you off. I know sugar tastes delicious. I would take a Snickers bar over a bag of chips any time of day. But, I also am aware of how AWFUL it is for us. And that's the difference between making educated choices and making quick choices. You always have a choice.
Here's the deal. There are a lot of things in our lives that we can't control. But, we can control what we eat. And we will continue to make the decision multiple times a day for the rest of our lives. You are never done eating. However, understand which foods will help you thrive and which foods will not is extremely important. No one is functioning well on sugar. Are some sources better than others? Of course, they're called vegetables, nuts and seeds and fruit. And yes, those are all sugar or carbohydrate (which is SUGAR!) sources. Not only does your quality of life depend on the food you give it, if you have children, theirs does too. If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the next three years, you need to start paying attention to the environment you are creating for the next generation. Our children are sicker than they ever have been and I truly believe our dietary choices are one of the biggest impacts on that.
I have a task for you. Spend the next 7 days actually keeping track of how much sugar + carbohydrates (use the total carbohydrate number) you are consuming. Check labels, look it up on My Fitness Pal or you can even look it up on Google. Keep track of your daily average. Just for fun. Because, guess what? None of us really need more than 200g of carbohydrates per day. Any more than that and you are promoting weight gain and the disease process. Especially if is coming from poor quality carbohydrate and sugar sources. You are much better off if you can stick to around 100g.
And now, here's the challenge. Cut your 7 day total carbohydrate intake in half for the next 3 weeks. You are going to have to make sure you are eating enough quality fat during this time to make sure your cells are getting what they need. If you decide to try this "challenge" I will assist you for the duration of it FOR FREE. That's how important I think it is. I will also give you a copy of my cookbook to help you come up with some delicious recipes along the way. You can check my recipe page if you want more food ideas in the meantime.
If you want more reading, I suggest Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat and the The Case Against Sugar as well as Dr. Cate Shanahan's Deep Nutrition. Deep Nutrition is a harder read, but really goes into the ramifications of nutrition of child development. All are available at the Winnipeg Library, also.