Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Our Addiction to Sugar

Sugar is everywhere! 

An interesting thing happened when fat became a taboo macronutrient back in the 70s.  Large processed food companies (which were fairly new at the time) were terrified at the thought that people may stop buying their products.  By removing fat, their products tasted terrible!  However, soon they found out that replacing the fat with sugar brought the flavor back to the foods (bonus, it's addictive).  

The only problem?  You need a LOT more sugar than fat to make food taste good.  As a result, we add nearly 22 teaspoons a day of sugar to our diet or 152 lbs a year.  Some of that is intentional (like in your coffee) but some of it is hiding!

Do you know the difference between Free Sugar and Natural Sugar? 

Since every carbohydrate can be broken down into glucose, sugar is a natural component of any diet. Healthy or unhealthy.  Sugar is found in every food to some degree but, the sugars that are best for us are the ones that are found naturally in the food we eat.  We can call this Natural Sugar.

According to the World Health Organization, "Free Sugar" is:

All monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices (because these sugars are extracted from the whole foods).

It is used to distinguish between the sugars that are naturally present in fully unrefined carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, fruit, etc. and those sugars (or carbohydrates) that have been, to some extent, refined (normally by humans but sometimes by animals, such as the free sugars present in honey). They are referred to as "sugars" since they cover multiple chemical forms, including sucroseglucosefructosedextrose, etc.

This type of sugar is toxic when added to impairs metabolic processes, causes you to store body fat and can create hormone imbalances that can even lead to Diabetes.  Your body DOESN'T KNOW how to handle this extra sugar!  Because this sugar hits your blood stream immediately creating a shock to your brain, the result is an exaggerated response of dopamine (your pleasure hormone) and insulin (to counteract the rush of blood sugar in your body).  Over time, this roller coaster of overload and deprivation can lead to adaptations in your body that could lead to heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes, depression and many other potential effects.

Americans overall have an ADDICTION to sugar!

How addictive is sugar?  Well, you may be surprised to know that sugar can have the EXACT same effect on your body as cocaine!  That's intense addiction!  And it's ok if you struggle with getting rid of it.  Many of us have an addiction we can't kick but, it takes constant and consistent behavior modification and redirection to break the cycle that gets you there.

In fact, one recent study concluded that sugar is 4 TIMES AS ADDICTIVE as cocaine!  If you have a sugar addiction, please don't make light of it.  Find help to change your eating habits and support from others to counteract your cravings!  Don't wait for one of those health issues to force you to make changes, do it now!

Your ultimate goal for added sugar consumption should be no more than 10 teaspoons per day.

If you have intense sugar cravings talk to your coach about strategies to control them.  We are here to help and you don't have to try to deal with this issue on your own.  Look at it like any other addiction, seeking support is VITAL to your management of any addiction!

Stay fit!

Coach Joe

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