First thing first – WHAT IS SUGAR?
Sugar is a natural ingredient which is present in human lives since forever. It is very simply recognised thanks to that amazing, sweet taste. The most common kinds are: SUCROSE, GLUCOSE, FRUCTOSE, LACTOSE, and MALTOSE.
When glucose is crucial to our existence the rest of its family not so much. The brain requires around 120g of glucose each day to cover basic energy needs. The body breaks down all sugars and starches to glucose so 120g is nothing. We consume an excess amount of harmful sugars without even realising it. We can blame the parents, government, or any other authority but to be honest WE – ourselves are the only ones who should take full responsibility for not educating ourselves enough. In Google Era a sentence “I didn’t know” should be erase from people’s dictionary.
I understand that the online information are not necessarily truthful. Loads of data is fabricated but when it comes to overeating in general – well, common sense should be your indicator. We don’t really need to back up our suspicions (what’s good or bad) with loads of books or surveys we just need to carefully observe our bodies. It will sooner or later tell us that something is wrong (by feeling pain, tiredness, mood swings, increased body fat etc.).
Let’s look at the issue closer. The daily amount of added sugar (ADDED- from a NOT natural source) should be 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. If you are healthy, lean, and active your body will burn that in no time without causing any harm. However, there is no need for added sugars in the diet. The less you eat, the healthier you will be. The necessary glucose will be subtracted from other sources. However, we are only human, and it is hard to resist a cake, or a chocolate so let it be. Occasionally let us indulge ourselves with that bit of heaven. Restrictions never proved successful not in a long run. Personally, I am against any ‘diets’ so it would be silly to suggest stopping people from eating sweets. It is all about MODERATION! I will probably stress that in many blogs only because that is the MOST IMPORTANT information you should base your food intake on.
Fun factor – research on rats has shown that Oreo cookies activate more neurons in the pleasure center of the rats’ brains than cocaine does (and just like humans, the rats would eat the filling first). So, when given a choice the rats would pick cookies over drugs. Is then sugar more addictive that drugs? There is a possibility. Is it more harmful than drugs? That is another question. It is much more prevalent, available, and socially acceptable than amphetamines or alcohol, and so harder to avoid. Sugar won’t kill us after one or two takes but if we keep overdosing it will lead to obesity, diabetes or fatty liver.
I am not a doctor to deeply analyse damaging consequences of sugar consumption but if so, many questions are already raised, so many books published and not even one states that artificial or refined sugar is beneficial for your health I wouldn’t suggest using it as a rewarding system to your kids, spouse or yourself.
It is an enigma how some of the harmful products (sweets and alcohol) became a symbol of celebration, happiness, or love. I believe that if introduced in recent years they will NEVER reach such hype. Marketers done an amazing job associating them with the happy factor as previously with cigarettes. I wonder how many years we need to wait until advertisement changes. Fizzy drinks, fast foods, convenience food and so on – that’s a very lucrative business. Those big companies which produce them are not going to stop at any time soon. It is not their responsibly to educate us how dangerous their products are for our health – or so they say. They will do anything to drag you to the store for more even though it is not in your best interest. They feed on your weaknesses. We hear stories about manipulation of evidence, fake statements, payments for certain reviews for e.g., that there is no evidence that sugar is associated with any disease. Remember when you read a research always check who founds the researcher – WHO IS THE PERSON/ COMPANY WHO BENEFITS FROM CERTAIN INFORMATION TO BE PUBLISHED.
We are aware that we consume sugar in cakes, chocolates, puddings, juices, candies, any desert really. However, do you know that in your basic products such ketchup, beans, tomato sauce, cornflakes, granola etc., the list is endless (all the not sweet, processed food) you can also expect an enormous amount of sugar? Only 20% of products will remain on shelves if we remove the ones with sugar. One splash of ketchup contains 1-teaspoon (how many splashes do you add to your chips?), beans in tomato sauce in 130g – 3 teaspoons, cornflakes – 200g – over a spoon. Drawbacks of all processed food is not only the added sugars. It is also salt, food additives, and (if canned) BPA contaminants from can linings. All can lead to digestive issues or worst. To balance the taste in pre -prepared meals suppliers play with many unhealthy ingredients we just never take the time to translate our food packaging. The only way to avoid hidden sugar and any other artificial products is to cook from scratch!
In 1955 scientist starts blaming fat and sugar for heart diseases. A few decades later fat was blamed for everything, so marketers were trying to reduce it as much as possible but to remove fat we need to add calories and create better taste. There is no cheaper way of doing so than adding sugar especially HFCS as it’s cheaper and easier to use than table sugar. Adding sweetness can change nearly every product into eatable. WHEN BUYING FAT-REDUCED PRODUCTS PLEASE CHECK LABELS AND COMPARE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR IN IT. Most of the times it is better to go for the full fat option. You just need to consume a little bit less of the product itself. Low fat products are not your friend.
How about the truly healthy stuff like fruits? Like everything else they are only good for you when fresh and consumed in small doses. Fructose stays in a liver and turns into fat so you can’t base your diet purely on fruits or consume too many of them. Those super healthy smoothies, squeezed juices, shakes, super food bars are nothing more than excess calories.
E.g., how many apples would you have a day? 1, 2 maybe 3 and thanks to fiber your body absorbs it quite slow. When you separate the whole fiber from the fruit you are mostly left with sugar (4 juiced apples- 16 teaspoons). Imagine how many fruits go into smoothies and how many smoothies people drink thinking they are getting all the goodies like vitamins.
Reason why moderation is so crucial. You can’t eat unlimited amount of “healthy food” because it turns into unhealthy in your body. Only someone who is trying to sell you something will tell you otherwise. Why protein shakes are so popular recently? They haven’t even been tested long enough to prove that there are beneficial to your body! Eating 300g of meat or other plant-based food would give you more protein that you ever need. If you are not an an athlete you truly don’t need an extra dose, certainly not after 30min training to recover quicker. Marketers are just trying to sell you a dream!! Meal’s replacements? God why would you even want to replace a meal?
Marketing managers or staff decide how much sugar is enough (not qualified nutritionists) for the product to taste good. Marketers spent fortune to test how much sugar brings attention, how much is just the right amount. What percentage makes you to crave more but it is still the right amount, so you are not fulfilled and come back for more. Thy call it the BLISS POINT. That what makes food addictive. When your body starts to associate products which you like with happiness it triggers dopamine. Dopamine can be triggered by the real thing, smell, or a picture reason why advertising proved so successful.
E.g., Mountain Dwe (38g of sugar and 40g caffeine) – highly consumed by kids around the world.
Sugary drinks and food can lead to diabetes, nervous system issues, kidneys failure, problems with eyes, toes amputations, dental health issues (over 34000 kids under the age of 14 have their teeth extracted, which in the future leads to orthodontic and aesthetic issues), skin conditions caused by poor liver functioning, lethargic behaviour. Still the craving for sugar is so strong than not many care where that leads them. They see symptoms and still prefer to ignore them.
To prevent diseases, we need to carefully check what we put on our plates. PREVENT RATHER THAN CURE! Magic pills don’t exist when you start taking medicine to fix one problem another one will appear straight after and soon you will start popping pills like tic-tacs. At young age you can look slim and healthy as look can be deceiving also it takes time to ruin a young body. Even a fresh apple takes time before gets rotten. If you eat takeaways, sugar, fat, you don’t exercise – you are inviting chronic diseases to your life in 15 years’ time.
Don’t let marketers manipulate you. Research, learn, check for yourself. It is easy to turn consumers attention to irrelevant topics to mask the ones which really matters. How many times you hear that something is bad for you and you should avoid it or good and you should consume it more. We hear carbs are bad, lactose, recently glucose is very unpopular. All the sudden glucose free products appear on shop shelves. Glucose is not your enemy. Only certain percentage of population should avoid it as they are glucose intolerant. Go for a blood test to check if you are intolerant to anything and you will have all the answers.
How do you feel after eating sweets? Happy? Energetic? Yes, and Yes, right? If you are one of those who overdose sugar you will know that this feeling doesn’t last long after the happy and hype-manic state you feel anxious, depressed and unstable. To feel better you need to continue eating. All that sounds so much like drug addition, isn’t it? Fluctuation of moods, adrenaline rush but if you always lived this way you have no idea how your life could like without sugar, your mind is cloudy.
In many cases is not too late to change habits – BODY can heal, and bad effects can be reversed. Don’t wait until is too late.