Sugar. It’s Everywhere!
Looking back to the very beginning of converting into my new lifestyle, (even before Making the Switch to Organic), the very first article I read was about sugar and the detrimental effect it has on our health.
I raided the fridge, cupboards, pantry… and literally threw out anything and everything that contained “sugar” in the ingredients.
Why? you ask… for starters, it is not natural.
During the refining process, the sugarcane is destroyed of all enzymes, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
So you are left with toxic garbage that poses more of a threat to our health and well-being, all for an addictive enjoyment to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Take a look in your fridge and your cupboards, read the ingredients!!
Check out Chapter 3 of my guideline, Reading and Understanding Food Labels, where I discuss the importance of reading the Ingredient Labels, as opposed to the Nutrition Facts.
Sugar and it’s sweet disguise
Added sugar (AKA “refined sugar”) is sadly disguised with over 30+ unfamiliar names listed on ingredient labels.
Next time you are shopping, have a look at the ingredients, and see if you recognize any additional ingredients that end in the word “ose”
These are all forms of sugar, including honey and corn sweeteners, making up for the 30+ alternate words the food industry uses to disguise “sugar”, so be warned!
The Refined Sugar Process
Before we get into the health issues sugar causes, I want to give you a general idea of how sugar is processed and produced, that way you have an understanding to why it causes so many health risks.
Picture sugarcane in its entirety… grown naturally on land, tall beautiful grass chutes.
The juice is extracted from the sugar cane, which is then boiled so it becomes thick and crystallized.
It is then spun in high speeds to remove the syrup, then washed and filtered to remove any “non-sugar” materials, along with having any coloring removed (aka bleaching), lastly it is packaged and ready for distribution, which is then used in food and beverages.
So if it doesn’t add up for you, sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever, from the very beginning of when the natural state of the sugarcane has been tampered with.
Sugar = Crack
Ever wonder why you are so addicted to your favorite foods?
Because they are high in fat, saturated fat, hydrogenerated oils and calories.
Sugar stimulates the brain’s release of dopamine and serotonin, producing an addicted effect similar to the use of illicit drugs.
Check out this handy-dandy lil diagram…
What Sugar Does to Our Health
1) Acidic Digestive System – sugar leaches vitamins and minerals from our bodies, and we can’t forget calcium from our bones and teeth, and depletes potassium and magnesium, which are essential for cardiac health.
2) Suppressed Immune System – sugar causes an overproduction of digestive enzymes, causing stress in the pancreas. The pancreas helps regulate our blood sugar, which is hard to do when your blood stream is overloaded with sugar.
3) Impaired Liver Function, which can lead to high blood pressure, skin issues and acne.
4) Restrained Blood Flow – sugar affects aging which is contributed to dental issues, increased wrinkles, and dry/aged skin.
Health related issues include:[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Obesity
Hair Loss[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Hypertension
ADD / ADHD
Tooth Decay[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]Metabolic Syndrome
Type 2 Diabetes
Irritability[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]If you are a visual person, here’s a cute little short video to give you a quick breakdown on how sugar is affecting our health
Can you believe that there is such a thing as genetically modified sugar?
Most refined sugar is extracted from sugar beets (which are GM), and than there is the sugarcane option.
Sugar companies such as Lantic and Rogers are refined GM sugar beets, whereas Redpath uses sugarcane; not to say that Redpath is a better option, since they still strip the sugar of it’s nutrients as mentioned in the sugar process above.
In case you are wondering, How can you tell the difference between sugar beets and sugarcane?
Have you not been paying attention? You don’t need to. Just stop taking in refined sugar period.
Here is a sickening fact to swallow:
80% of processed foods contain added sugar
According to Stats Canada, Canadians have consumed less natural sugar then we had a few decades ago.
This is due to the food industry heavily relying on high-fructose corn syrup in foods such as juice, soft drinks, beer, yogurt, energy bars, cookies, candies, breads, frozen foods, the list goes on!
This is because high-fructose corn syrup is sweeter than sugar and cheaper to produce.
Fruit has sugar, does that make fruit bad?
It depends how it is being consumed.
The fiber in fruit counteracts the toxic effects of the sugar, which is why it’s better to eat your fruit than to drink it.
A glass of orange juice can actually contain more sugar than the same amount of Coke.
Now this doesn’t give you the OK to drink a can of Coke (are you nuts?!) … the disgusting world of soft drinks is a whole other chapter on it’s own!
You can read more information from my article on the Health Benefits of Eating Fruit for more information.
I break out my iPhone or iPad to convert anything when it comes to volume or weight.
When reading Nutrition Facts, Sugar is listed by grams – for the measurement-impaired like me, 4.2g equals 1 teaspoon.
Sticking to my Fruit Loops example from my post Reading and Understanding Food Labels, I’ll use the product as an example here…
For ¾ cup of Fruit Loops, there are 12g of sugar, that is about 3 teaspoons of sugar for less than a cup of cereal.
Enjoy slushies on a hot summer day?
1 cup of Dr. Pepper slushie contains 225g of sugar… that is 54 teaspoons of sugar!!!
That means the big 41oz Slurpees contain 268 teaspoons of sugar… WOW!!!
When a single drink can you give over a weeks worth of sugar intake, you have a serious imbalance in your diet and health.
I’m sure you’ve seen the images floating around on the sugar content in our food from school projects… it is seriously scary to think that so much sugar can be consumed by one person in one sitting.
Sugar is an “empty calorie”
What that means is when your body is digesting the food, your organs kick in to filter through the nutrients and clean out the toxins.
As we’ve already discussed the pancreas’ performance, it works with your liver, which sugar is stored in as glycogen (stored energy). When your liver is too full, the excess sugar is dispersed into your bloodstream as fatty acids, which then stick to problematic areas such as your tummy, hips, thighs, butt.
So don’t complain about your weight or your health, and eat a bunch of junk food or fast food or processed food, and not follow up with a fitness regime to back it up.
I’m hoping you’ve learnt well from this article that sugar from problematic non-nutrient foods are wasted calories with no health benefits whatsoever.
I’ve said it time and time again…
You are what you eat
Diets and why they work
If you are compelled to follow a diet plan, you will notice different diets such as, The Dolce Diet, the Paleo Diet, Atkins, or even traditional Japanese or Mediterranean diets, all consist of a low-sugar and high-fiber regime, which is why they are so successful.
You may have a “cheat day”, or lapse during your diet, which is causing you to be unsuccessful at losing weight, or achieving a healthy lifestyle, or just getting there, but very very slowly.
This is because you are probably eating non-nutrient rich foods, and cannot control your sugar-intake.
Only you and you alone can address the changes you want to be made with your body and your health.
The next time you are out for a coffee, skip the added flavor shots. If you need to sweeten your coffee (or tea), use the Natural/Raw Sugar available in most establishments as a healthier (processed) substitute, or bring your own – carry tiny little zip lock bags of pure sugar or sweetener.
Even if you are slim and don’t have to diet, just change the way you eat by getting rid of the processed foods, and eat healthy, naturally grown foods.
You will see the drastic change in your body and your health, because you are cutting out the many forms of sugar, and the affects it has taken on your body.
Healthy sugar substitutes
Here is a list of natural/organic sugar substitutes to swap out your bad sugar with the good:
Raw Cane Sugar, Raw Honey, Coconut Sugar, Date Sugar, Agave, Brown Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Stevia, Barley Malt Syrup, Molasses, and more!
- Skinny Bitch chapter 3
- The Guardian UK
- 14 Sweet Facts About Sugar (Infographic)
- Sugar Gram (Infographic)
- Sugar is Killing Us (Video)