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Hiding the Sweet Spot

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Jeanne Roberts There have been 0 comments

We know now how bad sugar is for us, thanks to the efforts of scientists, researchers and dieticians.

What we often don’t know is where this elusive but deadly little taste sensation hides in our food. Because manufacturers have a zillion different names for it. Well, maybe not a zillion, but you get the point.

Food makers hide it, and up to now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has let them. But if you are a dedicated sleuth – dedicated to insuring that your family eats a healthy diet on a limited dollar budget, that is – you will find it.

Where Sugar Lurks

You wouldn’t expect to find it in coleslaw. After all, coleslaw is just salad with an attitude. Nor do you think of sugar when upending the barbecue sauce bottle over your grilled chicken, but both contain inordinate amounts of sugar. In the first instance, the body burden is 3.5 teaspoons of sugar in every cup, for a total “blimpy” effect of 40 calories. In the second, it’s a surprising 2 teaspoons, or 32 calories.

Fruit-flavored yogurt has an astonishing 5 teaspoons of sugar in 6 ounces. Six ounces is even less than a cup. Eat an average container of yogurt, and you’ve packed on more than 153 calories! You’re going to have to run, at close to top speed, for two and a half hours to get rid of that burden! Easier, perhaps, not to eat it. Who wants to go racing around the neighborhood at dawn or after a long day at work?

Other surprising sources of sugar include fruit drinks, spaghetti sauce, catsup, granola, your favorite Vienna latte (or any coffee with whipping cream), instant oatmeal, protein bars, and some varieties of dried fruits – all seemingly healthy foods, until you start adding up the cost to your health.

What Sugar Does To your Body

Sugar is like a drug. It bypasses the body’s warning systems because it can get cozy with certain receptors that also “friend” similar substances like cocaine and heroin.

Sugar also has an addiction threshold, one that manufacturers aim for when developing their food recipes. Once the body has reached what one writer calls this “bliss point”, the body will keep coming back for more even when the negative effects of sugar consumption are felt, in numerous, unfortunate, and often painful ways. Got IBD? Check out your sugar intake.

In other words, not even diabetes, rotting teeth, weight gain, bowel disorders, heart disease, and cancer can stop us from wanting more and more. At the turn of the 19th century, most Americans consumed about 9.5 ounces of sugar a month, because it was both expensive and hard to come by. It certainly didn’t grow on the prairie!

Two hundred years later, we are eating 234 ounces a month, and it shows in rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease – all of which are beginning to crop up in younger and younger people.

The Worst of the Worst

…is cancer. For years, even scientists pooh-poohed the notion of sugar’s link to cancer. More recently, however, Lorenzo Cohen of the University Of Texas (Anderson Cancer Center) and his team isolated a metabolic pathway called 12-LOX, which helps a cell reach aptosis – a fancy word for that stage when a cell matures, divides and dies. Aptosis of “bad” cells is the origin of cancer.

Cancer patients who don’t die from the original tumor, Cohen notes, will die when those cells metastasis of cells from that tumor. For example, a close friend of mine went through more than two years of chemotherapy, only have another, faster-growing, tumor in her gut discovered. This one killed her within 30 days.

The takeaway: if you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, and are anticipating chemotherapy or radiation, give up sugar or prepare for the worst outcome.

Sugar, By Any Other Name, Remains As Deadly

The problem with identifying sugar’s complete role in disease is that it has so many names. Just like a fugitive from justice, it can slink around under names like fruit juice concentrate, rice syrup, lactose, sorghum, barley malt, treacle, Turbinado, dextrin, even castor (yes, as in castor oil).

How You Can Beat the Addiction

Knowing all the names for sugar, and reading labels carefully, is the first step toward getting yourself clean and sober (yes, sugar also affects your brain ……..).

Then …

  • Cut it out! Don’t eat processed white sugar. Eat whole foods, not prepared foods. Learn to cook all over again, buying fresh, wholesome ingredients: Nature provides all the sugar a human body needs, and in much safer forms than food manufacturers can.
  • Cut carbs. Of course you will want to avoid obvious instances of refined, white sugar – under any of its names – but you also want to avoid white bread, baked goods, even tortillas. Corn is only a step up from wheat in its potential to raise your blood sugar, or glycemic index. They don’t call it high-fructose corn syrup for nothing.
  • Cut those cravings off at the pass by upping your consumption of healthy fats. This will make you feel fuller and silence the voice within demanding something sweet!
  • Add fermented foods to your diet. Studies show that sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, Kvass, miso, tempeh,  and other “pickled” foods adjust the acidity of your body, making it easier to say no to sweets. Better yet, make your own and store them in compostable, biodegradable food storage containers. Fermented foods keep for months, if not years.
  • Exercise. The endorphins released by a bout of hard, prolonged exercise will help you forget that what you really wanted was a donut.

Sugar may be a sly little drug dealer, but you can arm yourself to prevent its taking over your corner of the world.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Eating Well, Health and Safety and was tagged with addiction, brain fog, calories, cancer, COMPOSTABLE, corn syrup, diabetes, exercise, fermented foods, heart disease, ORGANIC, Sugar, SUSTAINABLE


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