Monday, May 4, 2009

Sugar Addiction

We all know the devastating usage of sugar. I kicked my white sugar habit a while back. Oh, You do know that I was referring to the table sugar I wantonly added to my food. Ah hah, you are forgetting the hidden-in-everything-you-eat-sugar...aren't you? Well my dear friends, just pick any box, can, package, bottle and read the back of said container and you will be shocked to see what you have been ingesting and quite possible without your knowledge and or permission.

If you want to read up on someones detox from sugar, then go and read any and all her posts about sugar. Permission to Mother has been through her own trials and tribulations over sugar, but she is stronger, leaner, and healthier due to her sugar elimination Am I that far along? No, but we are so far removed from where we were 1 year ago it is not funny. Do we still eat sweets? You bet, but we are waaaay more careful as to what we add to our food.

You know you are a healthnut when you take your raw sugar to the restaurant to add to your hot beverage, and you taker your grated ginger to add to a cup of hot water. AM I moving over to the freak category? Oh well.

On to the hazards of sugar consumption.

1) Today's Consumption: Today, an average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar EACH WEEK. Yes, that is not a typo, I kid you not. While at the end of the 19th century (1887-1890), the average American consumed only 5 pounds PER YEAR. Is someone seeing a correlation between many diseases, and obesity as our sugar consumption has risen. But wait there is more bad news, so keep on reading.

2) A Continual Rise: Over the last 20 years, sugar consumption in the U.S> has increased 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar PER PERSON PER YEAR. Are you part of that trend?

3) Hidden Culprits: This is my most favorite and yet disturbing of all entries. Sugar consumption includes highly refined sugars that are incorporated into many of the foods we eat (bread, peanut butter, condiments, sauces, etc.) Some of these are better known as sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. When I started to let go of sugars, I did it in steps. First was thee obvious, boxed cereals. I can now proudly say that I no longer buy or consume these baddies (I made that word up). We either have our own homemade granola or just grape nuts style cereal. End of discussion. So let it be written, so let it be done. (Sorry, that was my Charlton Heston moment)

4) 4 Classes: 4 classes of simple sugars ( Sucrose, fructose, honey and malts) are deemed 'harmful' to optimal health when long term consumption is over 15% (and we all know how much we consume, whether we wantonly admit it or not) of carbohydrate calories ingested. Here's a hint: Complex carbohydrates (veggies, beans, legumes, whole grains) are the way keep this number below 15%. It still amazes me when I hear people freak about how they need to stay away from 'Carbs'. Yeah ya do, if you are consuming the carbs off the shelves. Not my carbs. We live on them and thrive on them. But then again we make our own bread from scratch. Now that's the kind of carbs I am talking about. Carbs Schmarbs!

5) Health Issues: Simple sugars have been documented to contribute to and/or aggravate health problems, including asthma, mood disorder (no more saying it is PMS ladies) mental illness, nervous disorders, diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, hypertension, and arthritis. Some how obesity seems to have snuck under the radar. But do the math folks. I am not laying total blame of obesity on sugar, some of it , OK, a lot of it is what you eat, but I will give credit where credit is due.

6) Insulin Impacts: Sugar raises insulin levels, inhibiting the release of growth hormones which depress thee immune system. Further, too much insulin, promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat foods that are high in sugar, you are enabling rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which lead to cardiovascular disease.

7) Degenerative Disease: Sugar has no real nutritional value (minerals, vitamins, and fiber) and as a result, has a deteriorating effect on the endocrine system, causing sugar consumption to be one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease.

8) Cancer Culprits: Turns out that cancer's preferred fuel is none other than glucose. Controlling one's blood-glucose levels through diet, exercise supplements (which I do not take), meditation and prescription drugs-when necessary (But most medical illnesses could definitely be turned around primarily through diet)- can be extremely important to a cancer treatment program.

So there you have it folks, the unnecessary evil of sugar. the in your face kind and those you may not be aware of. Knowledge is power. Know what is in your food. Is it easy to make changes? Yes and no. I have finally given up bottled dressings and my dressing cruets are so much prettier than those put out by Wishbone and Kraft.

So next time you think of having a lump of sugar in your coffee, remember, a long time ago, people found a way to drink their coffee without the sweet taste of sugar.

Do you avoid sugar? And how much do you consume in a day....week...month...year?

1 comment:

pixiepine said...

I have been reading My Year Without Sugar blog and it's really interesting. I have started paying attention more to what I'm eating. I would really like to be free of refined sugar. I am nervous to start reading labels though...the foods I eat have made the vegan cut, but I think a lot more will be out the window due to sugar. It is nice to think about making stuff like pizza sauce from scratch though!