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Our (not so) Sweet Addiction

     

     We’re all sugar addicts! There, I said it. The average individual consumes about 55g of sugar a day (up from a miniscule 15g pre-World War 2 era). We are eating more processed foods and drinking sodas, (liquid sugar), which are rapidly absorbed by our bodies.

But fruit has sugar, and sugar is natural…so how can it be bad?!? Let’s look at sugar and its many forms with an apple vs a fruit rollup. When you eat a fruit rollup, (and honestly, if you are going to have excess empty calories, there are far better options my friends), your insulin and sugar levels spike as the sugar is rapidly absorbed into your system. Ironically, due to the large amount of insulin you released to compensate for the sugar load, your sugar levels then plummet leaving you ravenous, possibly down right hangry.

Had your reached for the apple, the rise and fall of insulin and glucose would not have been as extreme. Apples have fiber, which slow down the absorption of the sugar. The rise and fall is gradual and you are not left wanting to literally steal candy from babies. (also, don’t give candy to babies.). To follow that thought, fruit juices should be viewed as just as bad as soda. They are all sugar, no fiber. You’ll get the same effect as the aforementioned fruit rollup.

Our liver tries to compensate for our poor choices, but, like an overworked desk clerk with a continual influx of paperwork, it gets overwhelmed. We start off with our liver nicely packaging up our excess intake into usable fuel. Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t deplete our reserves and we wind up with increased stored fat. This leads to a condition called “metabolic syndrome”, which consists of hypertension, high triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, low “good” cholesterol (HDL) and increased “bad” cholesterol (LDL).

     Our addiction to sugar is leading to an excess of fat. While we do need a certain amount of body fat for our cellular functions, we, as Americans, are tipping the scales. For perspective, the Pima tribes can be found on both sides of the Mexican border. On the Mexican side, 12% of this population has been diagnosed with diabetes. This is in comparison to the North American side where 60% (!) have been diagnosed with diabetes. It’s all about the diet.

It is important to remember that sugar isn’t just the sweet stuff in cookies and sodas, sugar is what carbohydrates are converted to in the body with the idea that it will be used as fuel. That’s correct, the bread, the pasta, the rice; all of that will be converted into sugar.

I know that September 23rd is the first official day of fall as we all start sliding into the holiday season. For a lot of us, myself included, this means baked goods and comfort foods. While I don’t expect you to count every carbohydrate and gram of sugar, I hope that you will be more cognizant of what you are putting in your mouth. If you are looking for recipes that still have the taste of fall but without all the extra sugar, stay tuned for Dr. Tremblay’s low carb/keto friendly recommendations.

 

Dr. Mike

NP Brooke

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