Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Downlow on Sugar

   Who doesn't have a sweet tooth or at least get a craving once in a while? Usually it's for chocolate, which has a high sugar content but some people just enjoy candy in general. Sugar can become addictive, and you have to make a conscious effort to break the habit and the addiction. Here is the problem with sugar; it releases chemicals into your brain that make you feel happy (dopamine) and your brain reacts to sugar quite the same as it does to drugs. A little visual aid to help you understand how sugar works on the body:

   Sugar is not supposed to account for a large chunk of your diet and you would be surprised how much sugar is in what you're eating or even drinking. Sugar content of soda, juices, and even sports drinks is extremely high. Sugar is also found in fruits and vegetables, as glucose or sucrose. We will come back to that topic though. Sugar, as in the table variety, can add up quick in a day if you aren't monitoring it. Are you putting it in your tea or coffee? Did you know that any kind of carbohydrate will have a sugar content. Just because a food doesn't taste sweet, doesn't mean it doesn't have sugar... read your nutrition labels and be aware! If you are keeping a food journal, start keeping a closer eye on your sugar content. Many people see this, and see how much sugar is in fruits and vegetables, and say well no more for me. WRONG!
Sugar content in fruits and veggies

Sugar content in common junk foods

The Sugar found in fruits and veggies is NOT nearly as high as the sugar in junk food... not to mention that fruits and vegetables have a ton of other benefits for your body; they are packed full of vitamins and minerals, have anti-oxidant and cancer fighting properties, and a high water content. Do I recommend you eat 3 bananas in one day? No. But do I suggest eating a handful of grapes instead of a candy bar... absolutely. This comes back to the "Everything in Moderation" theory I've told you about before. Stick to reasonable and realistic serving sizes of the good stuff and you can't go wrong. What's going to be more satisfying, 4 oreos or a peach? Ok so maybe the oreos but are you really going to stop at 4? Probably not. But are you going to eat double the sugar content by eating 2 whole peaches? Probably not. Another thing to keep in mind, the sugar in nature grown foods is NATURAL. It's not made by chemicals in a processing plant. The body is excellent at breaking it down, using it, and not getting addicted to it. The fake stuff on the other hand is harder on the body and does create for an addictive environment.
   Think that one little can of soda isn't hurting you that badly or making that much of an impact? Think again. Drinking diet or 0 calorie... you're still wrong. The reason those drinks are 0 calorie and diet is because they are made with chemicals the body can't even digest, let alone absorb, so they are going right through your body. I would much rather you drink a glass of chocolate milk or juice and get the vitamins and minerals and a sweet fix over a soda. Need the caffeine, start trying a stronger coffee or have black tea with a little bit of honey. Again, honey is a nature made form of sugar and is considered a staple in the paleo diet!

   Nutritionists know for a fact that sugar consumption has led a helping hand to the nations obesity epidemic; be mindful and educated on what you are putting in your body and make smart decisions. Junk food is something you should be avoiding, not fruits and vegetables. Last time I checked, you aren't going to get anything of value from a snickers bar or mcdonalds sweet tea. Don't believe me still, research it... but in case you are too lazy I have included more visual aids for you!

Take home message here: EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES! They'll never do you wrong or do you harm. Always be willing to try new ones too, don't just stick to the same arsenal of healthy foods when the more variety you include, the more vitamins, minerals, and benefits you consume. 

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