I’m sure at one point or another in our lives we had grown to love the sweet taste of sugar and all the love it brings with it. Sugar is something we never want to give up, but I know first hand it is one of the largest steps we have to do if we want to improve our health.
At the moment, I consume absolutely no added sugar on a daily basis, but if you saw me five years ago, it was a very different story. I used to drink soda like it was water. I ate pastries, cakes, and candies like there was no tomorrow. These poor diet choices, particularly my consumption of sugar, was probably the primary reason why I ballooned all the way up to 255 pounds when I was 16 years old. If I only knew what I know now about diet and nutrition back then, specifically sugar, I would have never consumed a teaspoon of it let alone got anywhere close to that weight.
First, let me explain what “sugar” I’m talking about: sucrose. Sucrose, commonly referred to as table sugar, is a disaccharide (a two molecule compound) composed of glucose and fructose that is naturally occurring in many vegetables and all fruit. By itself in these wholesome foods, sugar is really not that much to be worried about. However, with the advances of agriculture and our fast paced society, particularly within the last hundred years or so, sugar has become more readily available than at any other point in human history causing a wide spread boom in the amount of sugar consumption.
According to a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005-2010, “children and adolescents obtain approximately 16% of their total caloric intake from added sugars” (CDC, 2013). In addition, the same study also said that adult men consume about 12.7% of their total caloric intake from added sugars with women at 13.2%. This fact is troublesome because the American Heart Association (AMA) recommends that adult women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar (100 calories) per day and men no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day (150 calories) (AMA, 2013). If you drink one 12 oz can of original Pepsi Cola (150 calories last time I checked), you are either over or at the maximum limit of added sugar intake for that day. With something so easy as drinking a soda, you can definitely see how easy it is to go overboard on sugar. Just look at the food you eat. If you get any food that comes in a box or some other fancy packaged, odds are it has sugar in it, and a lot.
If any of you have watched Robert Lustig’s video on YouTube called, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” (watch it here), then you know why sugar is such a terrible thing. Specifically, he explores how the monosaccharide fructose, that is part of sugar and what makes it sweet, is processed differently in our bodies by our liver in which excess fructose is automatically converted to fat. He makes the claim that a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to how sugar is processed and metabolized in our body, particularly because of fructose. In addition, he explores how our fat intake in recent years have gone down, but our sugar intake has dramatically increased (this includes any form sugar may take, such as HFCS, evaporated cane juice, etc.) causing a spike in various chronic illnesses and conditions that our modern, sophisticated society is plagued with.
The list below lists and describes some of chronic conditions and illnesses that sugar is linked to:
-Obesity, type II Diabetes, heart disease, hyperactivity, addiction and its symptoms, ADD and ADHD, hypertension, poor cholesterol levels, Ph imbalance, tooth decay, empty calories, and the list goes on
Knowing the difference first hand what happens when you completely eliminate added sugars in you diet is absolutely amazing. Now, more than ever, do I feel alive. I don’t suffer from brain fog, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, being overweight, depressed, and possibly on the verge of type II diabetes. I will admit I did a lot changes to lose all the weight that contributed to the elimination of all these chronic conditions I had, but I have no doubt sugar was the most significant culprit. I encourage you to eliminate sugar and stick with it for at least a couple days. Trust me, it’s definitely worth it!
Leave a comment below and share what you think about sugar.
(Caution: if you consume high amounts of sugar you may go through withdrawal, causing anxiety, depression, irritability, and other symptoms)