Oh sugar, sugar.You are my candy girl….
The. Age. Old. Debate.
I first wrote about sugar a few years ago. Find the post here and since that time I have been following Sarah Wilson and the I Quit Sugar (IQS) gang… Now, the IQS name is not exactly as it seems, Sarah and the gang are not getting us to quit sugar all together. It is about the forms and quantity of sugar we are eating.
In our instant gratification world, we want everything and we want it yesterday! Including energy. The quickest way to get it… yep, you guessed it: S.U.G.A.R!
So let’s break it down and keep it simple (you can also watch ‘That Sugar Film’ which gives you detailed information and a case study):
- The main forms of sugar are sucrose, glucose and fructose.
- Sucrose: (ordinary table sugar) is 50 per cent glucose and 50 per cent fructose.
- Glucose: The most preferred fuel source for almost all the cells in our bodies, in particular the brain. We need glucose to function. In the liver, we either use it straight away for energy or store the excess for when we are running low. When this happens the body first uses what’s in the bloodstream, then uses our glycogen stores.
- Fructose: Fructose is an addictive sugar that makes up 50% of sucrose. The liver is the only organ that processes fructose. With fructose, the liver works extremely differently. Whether it requires energy or not, the liver constantly gets fructose from the blood and stores it. If you already have a ‘full energy tank’, the fructose immediately turns into fat, increasing the workload of the liver, leads to insulin resistance (not good for the hormones ladies, and men!) and potentially leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is making us sick and is linked to metabolic disorders, including immune disorders, cancers, diabetes etc.
- The recommended daily intake in the USA is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men per day. There are 4g of sugar to one teaspoon (divide your sugar content by 4, to get the total teaspoon amount in your product). Due to our highly processed, junk food, fast food diets, the average male is consuming up to 40 teaspoons a day!
So then the debate is… naturally occurring sugars versus low-fructose sugars… AHHH!
- Bio-Individuality! Listen to YOUR body. What are your goals!? What expense are you willing to pay!? If you want a little bit of honey in your tea, have it! Just be mindful of how much sugar (particularly fructose you are consuming). Adding sugar (just like salt and oil) at the table, is much better than all of the hidden and processed sugar in our processed foods.
- JERF (JUST. EAT. REAL. FOOD!). Choose naturally occurring sugars in fruit and vegetables. WHOLE fruit and vegetables. The fibre in the flesh helps slow the absorption of sugar and helps improve blood sugar levels.
- Choose low fructose sweeteners. Such as rice malt syrup and Stevia. Yes these may be processed, but the sugar is not going to store in your liver and make it ‘fatty’.
- Start being aware. Read labels. Look at the sugar type (see the IQS list here). If the sugar is in the top 4 ingredients listed, it is advised that you reduce your intake of those products.
I hope this has given you some guidance when it comes to sugar. If you would like more information, or a time to chat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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