Sugar the root of all evil, actually yes, when it comes to health anyway. In the US we have a major health crisis related to sugar causing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even linked to Alzheimer’s. Sugar is quite literally making us miserable and eventually killing us. Fatigue, brain fog, crashes, weight gain.
It is in darn near everything we eat too, so not such an easy one to get rid of. Blueberries are good for you right? My favorite smoothie has more grams of sugar then a piece of chocolate cake. I’m fond of protein bars too, a quick pick me up in the afternoon, but you have to be really careful and check the sugar content. Some brands, while high in protein, have the same amount of sugar as drinking 3 cans of soda.
One thing people need to know, white table sugar in excess is a real problem, but it’s not the main problem. On a glycemic index, white bread and potatoes can score much higher than simple table sugar. Then there are things like high fructose corn syrup. Something to ponder about that one, you can keep somebody alive on an IV of simple sugar-water, but if you put high fructose corn syrup in there, you’ll probably kill them. Our bodies really don’t care for it at all.
Artificial sweeteners are another one with potential problems. There are some studies that suggest sugar substitutes simply harm us in other ways, like suppressing our insulin which we really need in order to burn sugar in the first place.
When I speak of “sugar,” I really mean what your body does to the foods you eat. We convert them to sugar, either slowly or quickly. You want a slow burn, a steady feed to keep your metabolism optimal and absorbing nutrients. That’s another problem with sugar, it interferes with our ability to absorb nutrients, especially those micro-minerals. In the US we have people who are hungry all the time, starving really, overweight but malnourished. We’re hungry because our bodies know they need something, we’re craving those missing nutrients….so we eat more.
Fiber is really important with sugar too. If you look at where we find sugar in nature, it’s usually hidden in fiber. Sugar cane for example, is nothing but fiber. Fruit tends to be high in sugar and also fiber. What we’ve done in the world is removed the sugar from its nutrients and fiber, which is about the worse thing we can do in terms of health. So white flour is simply wheat we have stripped of its germ, of its nutrients and fiber. Potatoes have been bred and improved on to give you that starchy sugar that goes so well with butter and gravy. Then we often peel them, removing what little nutrition is even left.
Fats, some healthy and some not, also tend to slow down the absorption of sugar, so it is a real tragedy that when we diet, we tend to cut out fat, take all the butter off our baked potato, grab a half a dry bagel while running out the door. That’s even worse! Don’t get me wrong here, butter is not such a great food either, but on a chemical level, removing the fat is just like pouring jet fuel on the sugar, so it hits our metabolism even faster, sends our body into starvation mode, and actually causes us to cling to those empty calories with everything we’ve got. Now we’re just nutritionally deprived, starving, and crashing our metabolisms.
Exercise also helps us to burn sugar, so it’s kind of a tragedy that in the modern world most of us are living a more sedentary lifestyle at the precise same time in history that we have learned how to refine our foods so they contain even more sugar, less nutrients, and no fiber. It’s a recipe for disaster and that is exactly what we are reaping, a health disaster.
As if that is not bad enough, we’ve gone and poured shame on the whole mess, so now people can really get some bad psychology going on, too. False perceptions about will power, diet shame, fat shame, sugar deceptions…..exercise addictions, eating disorders, pills, surgeries. It’s a real mess.
So, knowledge is power, arm yourself and learn how to work with your own body, wonderfully and fearfully made, not designed to just accept and endure ill healthy. And if you struggle with these issues emotionally, forgive yourself, they are often simply the result of living in a broken world, of a perfect storm of bad health our society pretty much foisted upon us.
Also, sugar in all it’s forms, from high fructose corn syrup to potatoes, can have addictive edge to it, our bodies and brains can grow accustom to the blood sugar spikes, so there can be a kind of with drawl when you start cutting it out. The cravings will soon pass as your body begins to adjust.