In my business I meet all types of people at varying degrees of wellness and varying level of health knowledge. Some people do not know the way they are eating and living is actually abusing their bodies, this is not common however. Most people do know, I just think they don’t respect their bodies enough or love a damaging diet and lifestyle more than their concern to be healthy.
There are several foods and food ingredients that merit the label “Public Enemy” as far as their impact on our health. There are two (2) that sit at the top and cause serious health issues. Today I am going to discuss what I think is the #1 food hazard to our health. The reason it rates as number one is because it is is related to well over 100 adverse health conditions, is widely available in many foods and it is disguised under many names and food manufactures love to use it in its most unhealthy forms. Why? Because of money! It is cheap and will make you crave the foods these unhealthy ingredient are in. Simply put, it makes food manufactures a lot of money. I can’t totally fault them, they are responding to the demands of consumers. We must change.
Do you have any idea what public enemy #1 is? On average Americans eat 2 to 4 pounds of this stuff every week. In 1900 Americans only consumed 5 pounds per year. It is known by many names. It is a cheap favorite of food manufacturers. It causes havoc in your body and is responsible many adverse health conditions and diseases. This stuff is terrible for you and your children. Please visit our web page on Children and Adolescent Health to learn how to build healthy children.
(I am not advocating a low carbohydrate diet)
There has been a lot of in the news recently about the negative health effects of sugar. Lets explore it! Sugar really does act like a poison when it is in the wrong form or we consume too much of it. Sugar is linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and vascular disease and others.
Sugar is a form of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate family is broken into 2 groups; fiber and starch. Each of these groups have other sub groups. Starches are divided into simple and complex and for fiber into soluble and insoluble fibers. Let me be clear. I am talking about added sugars, refined and processed (a food man has altered and or removed part of ) sugars also known as simple sugars, not naturally occurring sugar in foods ( complex carbohydrates) from nature you eat such as beets, carrots or apples. The best sugars come from complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are foods with fiber and offer many health benefits.
Your body needs some sugar to be healthy. Your brain and central nervous system only use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. Your cells favorite source of energy is glucose (blood sugar). In fact 40% to 55% of your calories should be from carbohydrates. Blood sugar energy received from complex carbohydrates is the cleanest form of fuel to burn. Your carbohydrates should come from vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils and whole grains; complex carbohydrates.
Not all starches and sugars are the same. Avoid foods with a high glycemic load. It’s the glycemic load of food that is important. Look for foods with a Glycemic Load value of 10 or less. There are some of mother natures foods that you still need to be aware of the sugar content. Some starchy vegetables that have little fiber can raise blood sugar quickly causing the same kind of problems that added sugars cause. For example; the glycemic load for dates is 22 which is high and the glycemic load for strawberries is 1 which is very low. The glycemic load for a baked russet potato is 33 which is very high compared with a sweet potato which has a glycemic value of 11 to 16. The lower glycemic foods have a lot of healthy fiber which slow down the conversion of the starch to blood sugar. The rise in blood sugar is also influenced by the type of starch compounds present in the food such as amylose and amylopectin. Starches with a higher percentage of amylose had lower blood sugar and insulin responses.
I would not use artificial sweeteners as a replacement. Unpasteurized honey and black strap molasses are the best natural sweeteners, however use them sparingly because they are sugar. I do not recommend agave nectar or agave syrup. They are processed/cooked and have a higher ratio of fructose to glucose than does high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The best sweeteners to use on a daily basis are Stevia and Xylitol. They have little blood sugar impact. Sugar alcohols like Xylitol can cause gastric distress in some people if they consume too much. Try mixing the Stevia and Xylitol together for the best results. I recommend you get used to foods being less sweet. Try using less sweetener to break the addiction to sugars. By breaking the addiction to sugar you can avoid temptation by the sugary devil.
Sugar has made its way into almost every food stuff man is processing and refining. Sugar is added to bacon. luncheon meats, mayonnaise, peanut butter, dried fruit, fruit juices, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, prepared foods, cereal, granola, cookies, flavored milk, soft drinks, coffee drinks and hundreds if not thousands of other foods. Milk has about 3 teaspoons of sugar per 8 ounce glass.
The purpose of the added sugar is to make you eat more of the food it is in. It’s all about money. If you keep buying it, the food manufacturers will keep selling it. Stop buying it and they will begin to make healthier foods.
Your best defense is learning to read food labels and being able to find all the different names of sugar. When reading the food label pay special attention to the serving size and the grams of sugar per serving. Try to limit the amount of sugar you consume to 5 grams or less per serving. Look for foods that have 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.
Sugars Many Names
When reading the food ingredient list on the food label look out for these names
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Cane juice crystals
- Cane sugar
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Carob syrup
- Castor sugar
- Date sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Diastatic malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Fruit juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Glucose solids
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup
- Grape sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Icing sugar
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Muscovado sugar
- Raw sugar
- Refiner’s syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Turbinado sugar
- Yellow sugar
Flour Based Products
Most breads, cereals, cookies, crackers and pastries have a high glycemic value. They raise blood sugar rapidly. Not all flour based products have higher glycemic load values however. Whole Grains when eaten in their natural form release sugars slowly. Steel cut oats have a lower glycemic load value that rolled oats. Enriched and refined flours have little fiber allowing the starch to turn to blood sugar rapidly. Even whole grain breads can cause a quick release of blood sugar because part of the bodies digestive process has already been performed. To my knowledge the lowest glycemic bread is Ezekiel Bread.
In summary, to reduce your risk of developing a sugar related disease or adverse health condition avoid or limit simple carbohydrates by eating more vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains. Use natural sweeteners, however, learn to enjoy foods that are less sweet. Break that sugar addiction, kick it to the curb and enjoy life.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.
- Understanding Glycemic Load (brighthub.com)
- Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load (fitsugar.com)
- If Sugar is Bad for You, are Sugar Substitutes Better Instead? (xblivingnaturally.wordpress.com)