Chances are you’re getting much more sugar than your body needs.
A lot has been said lately on the evils of sugar overconsumption. It seems to have replaced saturated fat as public enemy #1 for our health. There is actually plenty of good reason for this concern. Excess glucose and the resultant elevated insulin is one of the primary contributing factors for everything from dementia to skin aging. (Did you know that that big hunk of bread is putting wrinkles on your face?) Too many carbs can completely shut down any plans you have for losing weight, it can also contribute to fatigue and arthritis pain, and of course can indirectly cause type 11 diabetes and a host of other problems. Not a good payoff for that meal in our plate. But we need to see sugar in its true light to design our diets correctly.
Sugar is not a poison. It is a miraculous substance, providing such a quick burst of energy production when we need it. Our early ancestors relied heavily on that quick piece of fruit hanging, or that stolen bit of honey that they found. In those natural forms it came with lots of fiber and other nutrients that counteracted any tendencies for overstimulation of insulin and other drawbacks. Of course, they required the extra glucose for the strenuous activity which was a part of everyday life back then. We live in an entirely different world.
Getting a high dose of sugar when we are basically just sitting around is like throwing jet fuel into your car’s gas tank. It’s an explosive mix. High sugar along with excessive cooking is the primary cause of glycation, a powerful premature ager in our diets. We need to look at the total glucose load as well as the rapidity of absorbtion to control this.
High glucose also stimulates more rapid shortening of telomeres – hastening the end of our capacity to replace our cells. It also promotes increased free radical activity, and also an inevitable increase in the production of cortisol, another hormone with risky potentials.
These drastic pitfalls occur again because of our modern food production methods and our sedentary lifestyles. Because of the fact that natural forms of sugar exists in so many healthy foods we don’t want to stigmatize it, just control the way that we consume it. So what is the obvious answer? Eat natural. Avoid starchy foods – go easy on bread, rice, pasta even if it’s whole grain. They present some benefit, but the total carbohydrate load is a major concern. On the other hand, don’t worry about the minimal sugar contained in highly nutritious foods like carrots, beets, tomatoes and other fruit. Fruit juices should be limited of course, but they are highly processed. That’s the key phrase to watch.
Here is one of my biggest pet peeves. Adding condiments and spices is one of the quickest ways to add nutrition to an otherwise lame meal. I’ve written about it here, and here. I’ve known people who would take two slices of bread, throw in a thin slice of meat and cheese and call it a healthy lunch. ??? Heres another version of this:
From a glucose control (and overall health) perspective, you’d be better off choosing this option:
Catsup contains Vitamin C, potassium, and phytonutrients like lycopene. Mustard contain curcumen and other nutrients. Though there is some sugar in them, they are a much better choice!
So try to add lots of color, vegetables and spices to your meal. Avoid those white starchy foods as much as possible. You will be helping your body in so many ways!