Beautiful cupcakes, muffins, and candy. Sweet, sweet frostings and gorgeous layer cakes. Bountiful baskets of bread, crackers, and cookies. What do all of these things have in common. Yes, of course...they are all delicious. But, they are also completely responsible for the fact that never before in the history of our nation has there been an emergency need to lower blood sugar.
Americans consume, on average, 196 pounds of sugar every year. And that’s not only from the intake of sugary sweets alone. No! We are also inundating our bodies with sugar every time we drink a soda, every time we choose low-fat or non-fat rather than full fat foods and every time we reach for processed food of any kind...we are reaching for another big helping of sugar.
But sugar is sweet, unassuming, and makes you feel so great when you are eating it...how can it be so bad?. Yes...perhaps...but in reality it is the wolf in sheep’s clothing or should I say the cupcake in sheep’s clothing. A diet high in refined carbs leads to chronic elevated glucose or blood sugar levels which overtime will begin to overburden the pancreas, liver, and the adrenal glands, the three most important organs involved in blood sugar regulation. This overburdening will begin to cause these organs to stop working effectively, in turn producing inefficient hormones to take care of all of the sugar in your system, and eventually to stop functioning effectively altogether giving rise to diabetes. All because of the food choices you are making.
Besides messing with your blood sugar and the organs responsible for maintaining your blood glucose levels, as if that wasn’t enough, the over consumption of sugar has many other devastating side effects:
It inhibits your immune response and suppresses immune function.
It activates the pleasure seeking hormones in the brain setting you up for a sugar addiction.
It depletes the nutrients necessary for good collagen production thus exacerbating the formation of wrinkles.
It has detrimental effects on your vital gut flora.
It is a major contributor to vitamin and mineral deficiency. The body must use its vitamin and mineral reserves to help deal with the onslaught of sugar thus depleting the body of these necessary substances leaving them unavailable for use in other critical functions.
So, how do I start to get real about sugar?
Get real about hidden sugar.
Become a label reader and start to educate yourself about what you are putting in your
body every day. If sugar or a sugary ingredient is listed as one of the first three ingredients on the label, then it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re about to buy a high sugar product. Get to know your sugars...the labels aren’t always clear and can be tricky. Look for these often hidden names for sugar: HFCS, corn syrup, disaccharides, molasses, succanat, polysaccharides, sucrose, fructose, invert sugar, dextrose, glucose, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, honey, malt, malt extract, maltose, rice extract, xylitol, and golden syrup.
Get real about fake sugar.
Contrary to popular belief, sugar substitutes are not your knight in shining armor when it comes to getting rid of the sugar blues. Not only are man-made, non-calorie sweeteners a sea of chemicals with side effects ranging from migraines to cancer, but they are also as false in their promise for health as they are in their delivery of side-effect-free sweet, sweet goodness. Because digestion begins in the brain, simply the smell of something sweet begins to prepare your body for an onslaught of sugary goodness. When your mouth tastes something sweet—whether it is real sugar or fake sugar— your body begins to produce insulin to help deal with that influx of sugar into the cells. So, not only does the intake of artificial sweeteners set you up for a cascade of chemically-related health issues, it does double duty by pushing your body into the same sugar roller-coaster syndrome that real sugar consumption offers. The
lesson here? Step away from the sugar...real and artificial.
Get real about your food.
Start swapping out your processed foods with foods that are as close to the way nature intended them to be a possible. Eat real, naturally sweetened fruits and vegetables combined with healthy, organic proteins and properly prepared grains. Drop soda and fruit juices in favor of water. You may experience a period of sugar cravings at the beginning, but they will begin to diminish as your body begins to become more and more nutritionally satisfied with your new food choices.
Get real about low/non-fat.
Changing your diet to improve your health and lessen your sugar intake may have you considering buying into the low-fat craze. If so...stop right there. While prepackaged and processed foods are notorious for their sugar overload...low-fat and non-fat foods are often the worst culprits. When fat is removed from food, most of the flavor goes right along with it. To compensate, food giants add sugar...and lots of it. So relying on a switch to non-fat or low-fat processed foods is not your answer. What is? Real food. The way nature intended it. Cooked from scratch without added chemicals or preservatives. It’s as simple as that!
Need help getting real?
A nutritional therapist might be the answer for you. Nutritional therapists use a series of simple assessments to identify imbalances in the body. These imbalances are corrected through diet, lifestyle changes, and supplement recommendations to help your body begin to heal itself. Nutritional therapists do not diagnose or treat disease, but work to correct imbalances with the goal of gently guiding individuals back on the path to health.