When you hear the word “sugar”, what picture comes to mind?
Looks pretty innocent, doesn’t it?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how sugar can affect you, let us first define what it is.
Sugar is a generalized name for many sweet carbohydrates. They come as a simple sugar (monosaccharide) like Glucose and Fructose (found in plants) and Complex sugar (disaccharide) like Sucrose, Maltose and Lactose. Table sugar (Sucrose) is sourced from two main sources: Sugar cane and sugar beets and is made up of glucose and fructose.
If you had to look at any box, packet or can on a shop shelf, would you know how much sugar is in there? Did you know that there are at least 61 names for added sugar on food labels? They include:
Agave nectar, Barley malt, Barley malt syrup, Barbados sugar, Beet sugar, Brown sugar, Buttered syrup, Cane juice, Cane juice crystals, Cane sugar, Caramel, Coconut sugar, Coconut palm sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Corn sweetener, Confectioner’s sugar, Carob syrup, Castor sugar, Date sugar, Dehydrated cane juice, Demerara sugar, Dextrin, Dextrose, Evaporated cane juice, Freeflowing, brown sugars, Fructose, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Glucose, Glucose solids, Golden sugar, Golden syrup, Grape sugar, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), Honey, Icing sugar, Invert sugar, Maltodextrin, Maltol, Maltose, Malt syrup, Mannose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Palm sugar, Panocha, Powdered sugar, Raw sugar, Refiner’s syrup, Rice syrup, Saccharose, Sorghum, Sorghum syrup, Sucrose, Sugar (granulated), Syrup, Treacle, Turbinado sugar, Yellow sugar.
What does this mean?
It’s found in nearly all processed foods: Sweet treats, savory foods and fizzy drinks. The average person may be consuming over 8kg of added sugar per year, without even realizing it!
Even 3 cups of tea/coffee per day with 2tsp of sugar (2.184kg/year) + a “healthy” fruit bar twice a week with 1tsp of sugar (416g/year) + a few biscuits after dinner every night with 2.5tsp of sugar (3.64kg/year) will add up to over 6kg (13lbs) of sugar per year. And this doesn’t count all the office and children’s parties you will attend!
Drinking just one soda every day (7 sodas per week) can increase your risk of dying from heart disease by almost 33%. Do you know that there are over 10tsp of sugar in 1 can? That would equate to over 14.5kg per year (32lbs).
Glucose is found in all plant matter and is what is used by the body for energy. The body turns everything you consume into Glucose which it can use without any problems.
However, with Fructose, the liver has to get involved with metabolizing this and too much will then cause many health issues. It starts converting the excess fructose into fat and the liver becomes “fatty”. This is one of the components to metabolic syndrome. It is now becoming more common to see liver failure from overconsumption of fructose than hepatitis!
It is believed that the over consumption of processed goods (with the high fat, sugar and salt content) is what leads to obesity which then leads to health problems - but you don't have to be "overweight" to have many health issues brewing on the inside!
When you consume processed or cooked foods, it is devoid of fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. When you “drink” your calories via fizzy drinks and fruit juice - these sugars are going to be absorbed too quickly into your bloodstream, not giving your body enough time to respond correctly. Your brain doesn’t register that you’re full. Your body was hoping for nutrients. When it doesn’t receive the expected nutrients that you can get from whole plant-based foods, your body will continually look for food and you will eat some more and this is how you can quickly gain weight. With the weight gain will come the diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease and Liver disease.
With the high level of this sugar and bacteria in your mouth, increasing cases of periodontal diseases are being seen - especially in younger children.
All of these health problems are avoidable and in some cases reversible!
How you can cut out added sugar:
Alternatives to sugar?
Artificial sweeteners are processed and although deemed “safe” by the FDA, are still processed and should not be considered. There are less-refined options, but at the end of the day, they are still empty calories that your body cannot process correctly.
Are you battling with fizzy drinks? Here’s a great idea and you can drastically cut out the added sugar:
If you are needing help with your health and meal planning, email me now to find out how I can help you. Click the banana below.