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Oh, Sugar, Oh…

Sugar

Processed foods ingredients we have in our pantries are far from being nutritious.

There are not enough Omega 3 (seeds, fish), fibers and micronutrients (vegetables, fruits) and too much trans-fat (hydrogenated oils), Omega 6 (vegetable oils), alcohol and SUGAR.

The American Heart Association states that we shouldn’t eat more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. We are consuming 22 teaspoons today!

Sugar has crept into the food supply in everything from bread to barbecue sauce, from soymilk to soft drinks. 80% of the food in grocery stores is with added sugar, under 56 different names…

On a label, ingredients are listed according to quantity, from the highest to the smallest. But a product might include various forms of sugar, as its fifth through ninth ingredients. Therefore added together, sugar can be in first place. And this is just one product in our cart…

Reading a nutrition label, we can’t distinguish anymore between a food’s inherent and added sugar. And those 56 derivatives greatly differ in how they are processed by our bodies.

The body is a smart and complex mechanism that we are disrupting everyday by eating processed foods.

Added sugar is toxic for our bodies.

Sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose.

Glucose is metabolized by every cell in the body and if it is not coming from our diet, our body makes it. However, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose.

If our liver is already full of glycogen (secondary glucose), the fructose turns into fat. Some of the fat gets shipped out in the blood while part of it remains in the liver, contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome, leading to obesity.

Simultaneously the liver becomes insulin resistant.

The insulin facilitates entry of glucose into muscles, and several tissues. It also stimulates the liver to store glucose in the form of glycogen. If there is resistance, cells are unable to use it as effectively, leading to high blood pressure and eventually heart disease.

After a while, the pancreas is unable to secrete sufficient insulin to drive blood glucose into cells. This often remains undetected and can contribute to a diagnosis of diabetes Type II.

Today it is proven that 29% of diabetes is from added sugar alone, in a study presented by Dr. Robert H. Lustig, American pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California.

Obese people are not the only people at risk, we can actually be thin and sick. It is called TOFI: Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside. And more than half of Americans may be sick today, and most of us don’t know it yet…

For each can of soda per day (150 kcal) of sugar increases the prevalence of diabetes by 1.1%. And when we know that we drink on average 2.5 cans per day…

This does not apply to fructose in whole fruits. Fruits have a low energy density, lots of water and significant chewing resistance. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating whole fruits. No overdose here!

So we have options to reverse the trend, lets get smart:

  • don’t go to the supermarket hungry;
  • shop where fresh, whole foods are in the supermarket;
  • if it comes with a logo you’ve heard of, it’s been processed;
  • avoid anything “partially hydrogenated”;
  • just because it says “whole grain” doesn’t mean it is, but if it doesn’t say whole grain it isn’t;
  • if sugar is listed among the first three ingredients, it is sweet.

And make dessert a treat, a reward, not a meal course. Once a week, it becomes a celebration and a fun moment! It will be way more fun than taking our insulin shots while we’re on dialysis.

Vote with your dollars

We have to help the food industry help us: If we don’t buy it, they won’t sell it. Simple, isn’t it?

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