Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The sugar low down

Sugar is tasty. It just is. It's sweetness can be soooo enticing, and so confusing. Isn't it in fruit too? How much should I have? Is it really "bad" for you? Hopefully we can clear up some of the confusion.
In 2005 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended we eat no more than 8 tsp (32 grams) of sugar, per day. This recommendation was based on a 2,000 calorie diet. So if we take that down to a restricted calorie diet of 1,300 calories we're looking at about 26 grams of sugar. That may sound like a lot, but believe me it is not. Sugar seems to sneak in to a LOT of things you eat that you might not be realizing.

Before you start to worry about the sugar in every food you are eating you should first realize that not all sugars are created equal. There is the good and the bad.

These are the sugars that occur naturally in food. They are found in foods that are nutritious and you don't need to worry about them. Lactose, fructose, sucrose, are sugars found in milk, fruits and veggies.

These sugars are added sugars, usually refined sugars. They were not initially found in the food, but were added in by the manufacturer. We are looking at processed foods here. To give you a little sample...

1 cup apple juice 28 grams
1 12 oz can of coke 39 grams
1 twinkie 19 grams
1 6 oz Yoplait light yogurt 14 grams
1 Snickers Bar 30 grams
1 small bag Skittles 47 grams
2 TBS honey bbq sauce 13 grams
1/2 cup Prego Marinara 7 grams
1 pop tart 17 grams
1 Cinnabon 55 grams (Now we see why one roll = 813 cals!)
1 Nutrigrain bar 13 grams
16 oz Butterfinger Blizzard 86 grams
McD's Med Chocolate shake 111 grams

I think you get the point.

So, why does this matter?
- Refined sugar can raise the insulin level in your blood. Elevated blood insulin levels can cause weight gain due to the fact that insulin promotes the storage of fat. So by increasing your insulin levels, you're increasing fat storage, which leads to weight gain.
- High insulin levels can also suppress the immune system, weakening your ability to fight disease.
- Refined sugar contains no vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the body to metabolize the sugar, so because it doesn't contain it's own, refined sugar draws upon the body's storage of vitamins and minerals. When the bodies vitamin and mineral stores are depleted the metabolism of fatty acids and cholesterol is impeded causing them to be stored around the organs, promoting obesity. (Are you with me still??? hope so!)

oh yeah a few more things...
Sugar can suppress the immune system. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance. Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children. Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs). Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs). Sugar can cause hypoglycemia. Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection. o Sugar can cause kidney damage. Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency. Sugar can cause copper deficiency. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium. Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose. Sugar can promote tooth decay. Sugar can produce an acidic stomach. Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease. Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair. Sugar can increase total cholesterol. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Sugar can contribute to diabetes. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity. Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease. Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure. Sugar causes food allergies. Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries. Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver. Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney. Sugar can cause depression. Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance. Sugar can cause hypertension. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines. Sugar can cause an increase in delat, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly. Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes. Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets. Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon....to name a few. http://www.nancyappleton.com


Benita said...

i feel like this post was written just to ME! I am horrible. I never want to eat a piece of sugar again. man oh man. i'm glad now i at least have some boundaries of how much to have...26?? Seems impossible. we'll see how this goes :) SUCH good information here. thanks for this post!

The Monahan's said...

How do artificial sweeteners fit in with all this? I love my diet soda!

Janae and Bil Bil said...

WOW!!!! I had no idea there were so many crazy effects of sugar!! Maybe I will keep up this whole no sugar (refined) thing up even after our marathon!! Guess what I get to see you tonight!! I look forward to your posts and get so excited every time there is a new one!