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This Weeks Blog is Short and Not So Sweet

 

The not so sweet side of sugar

Sugar is an addictive drug. It releases endogenous opiates- brain chemicals that make you feel good and crave more sugary foods.

The side effects of sugar consumption can include:

  1. Reduced immune function
  2. Increased fat production
  3. Fatty liver
  4. Heart palpitations
  5. Hypertension
  6. Anxiety
  7. Diabetes

Adding vegetable oil to sugar will magnify all these side effects.

Don’t be fooled: Sugar is Sugar and it’s always bad for you

Some ways manufacturers have tried to hide sugar from health-conscious consumers is by using common sugar pseudonyms:

  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn Sweeteners
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Malt
  • Malt syrup
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Beet juice
  • Molasses
  • Honey
  • Grape juice
  • Turbinado
  • Sucanat
  • Agave nectar

 

To reduce your sugar intake you need to cut your carbs/starches. Starches are composed of sugar molecules. Whether a starch is simple or complex, it’s only a matter of time before it enters your blood stream as sugar and causes an increase in insulin.

If you are trying to lose weight and want to reduce inflammation, limiting refined carbohydrates (including limiting fruit to 2 servings- preferably berries) is the key.

These foods can raise your blood sugar:

  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Rice (including brown)
  • Potatoes (sweet are better choices)
  • Noodles
  • Corn
  • Breakfast cereals
  • “Health” Bars
  • Fruit
  • Grains such as quinoa, millet etc

Why is sugar so bad?

Sugar stimulates insulin. Moderately elevated levels of insulin over time will increase the levels of inflammatory markers. Inflammation is the hallmark of most acquired and degenerative diseases.

Diets high in carbohydrates that chronically stimulate Insulin production have been implicated in obesity.

Sugar is sticky and can bind to collagen and affect your joints and cell membranes, aging them.

 

What about the artificial stuff?

Aside from the myriad of health conditions linked to artificial sweeteners, there’s the fact that you can’t fool your body.

There are receptors in your digestive tract (starting in your mouth) that react to sweetness, regardless of the source, in the same way.

This gut perception of sweetness initiates insulin production, which can in turn raise LDL levels and promote the production of fat.

 

 8 Tips to Use Cut Sugar Cravings:

  • Give in a little- Eat a bit of what you’re craving.  Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied.
  • Combine foods-  combine the craving food with a healthful one, e.g. mix some  raw almonds with dark chocolate.  you’ll satisfy a craving and get healthy nutrients.
  • Go cold turkey- Cutting out all simple sugars works for some people, although the initial 48 to 72 hours are tough. Some people find that going cold turkey helps their cravings diminish after a few days; others find they may still crave sugar but over time are able to train their taste buds to be satisfied with less.
  • Grab some gum- If you want to avoid giving in to a sugar craving completely, try chewing a stick of gum. Research has shown that chewing gum can reduce food cravings.
  • Reach for fruit-  Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. Stock up on foods like nuts, seed and have them handy so you reach for them instead of reaching for that sugary something.
  • Get up and go- When a sugar craving hits, take a walk around the block or do something to change the scenery, to take your mind off the food you’re craving.
  • Choose quality over quantity- e.g. choose a dark chocolate truffle instead of a king-sized candy bar.  Learn to incorporate small amounts into your diet, but concentrate on filling up with less sugary and healthier options.
  • Eat regularly.-Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, salty and fatty foods to cut your hunger.  Instead, eating every 2-3  hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you avoid irrational eating behavior. Your best bets are to choose protein and  fiber-rich foods like vegetables.

 

 

 

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin

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