Sugar is not evil. In fact, without the naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, and milk our bodies would cease to work. However, refined sugar and the added sugars that make up most of the American diet is a weight on the system, literally and figuratively. We just can’t process the refined sugar or two molecules (one fructose and one glucose).
“Your body cannot absorb the disaccharide, or two-sugar molecule, as is, so it must first sever the chemical link connecting the two sugars. The enzyme sucrase in your small intestine assists with the breakdown of sucrose into fructose and glucose. This allows your body to absorb them, transport them to the liver for processing and distribute them throughout the body. The hormone insulin then facilitates the uptake of glucose into cells, where it is metabolized into energy for immediate use.” (sfgate.com)
This is where refined sugar becomes “evil” or dangerous because the glucose is stored fuel for in between meals and while sleeping. The more simple sugars or juice, soda, cookies, candy, etc. consumed, the more glucose is stored. It can cause an immediate crash and burn and long-term belly fat. With other vitamins or nutrients, it just weighs on the body. There are several conditions associated with excess sugar consumption like diabetes, hypertension, dementia and a condition called sugar cirrhosis. Yes, the same effects of alcohol on the liver since alcohol is a product of sugar.
Complex sugars found in grain, fruits, vegetables, take longer to break down and have other components such as protein and dietary fiber which the body can use to sustain healthy energy levels and a feeling of fullness as well as other nutrients.
What the experts say:
“The American Heart Association reports that most Americans consume an average of 22 grams of added sugar per day, much higher than the recommended 6 teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men. “
“University of Iowa Health Care notes that glucose that exists beyond your body’s storage capacity for glycogen is turned into fat.”
According to SugarScience.org a product of Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California San Francisco:
“Over time, consuming large quantities of added sugar can stress and damage critical organs, including the pancreas and liver. When the pancreas, which produces insulin to process sugars, becomes overworked, it can fail to regulate blood sugar properly.
Large doses of the sugar fructose also can overwhelm the liver, which metabolizes fructose. In the process, the liver will convert excess fructose to fat, which is stored in the liver and also released into the bloodstream.
This process contributes to key elements of MetS [metabolic syndrome], including high blood fats or triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and extra body fat in the form of a sugar belly.”
So sugar, sucrose, our table sugar and refined sugar itself is not evil just our use of it. With portion control and other stress reducing activities like exercise, you can curb your sugar craving and release that weight. We have limiting beliefs that tell us we need sugar for a quick stress release. When in fact, 10 jumping jacks or a walk up a flight of stairs or around the block will release way more stress. Before you reach for your favorite comfort food, take a deep breath or three. Breathing is an amazing way to recenter and focus. A cup of water will bring clarity and focus. Many times we are simply dehydrated and eating sugar keeps us that way.
How do we turn our limiting beliefs and habits around?