SUGAR. Oh how we love it! Whether it’s in a cupcake or disguised as pasta, we have grown to crave the temporary lift it gives us.
When I talk with people, they usually tell me they don’t eat very much sugar, not realizing that sugar is the breakdown of all carbohydrates. It’s the cereal and milk, bagel and jam, non-fat yogurt, fruit and granola which you start your day. The “whole grain” bread in the sandwich and tortilla in the burrito for lunch, the pasta and rice at dinner along with non-fat ice-cream with fruit (because you have been so good) for dessert. Maybe in-between, a few pretzels and crackers, but no problem they are non- fat, organic and “natural”. That’s a day full of sugar! No cupcakes, cookies, pop or candy, but once in the mouth- it begins a complex chemical transition into sugar.
When we eat carbohydrates, which include all grains (wheat, corn, oats, quinoa, rice etc.) fruit, vegetables and even non-fat dairy, the body breaks them down into sugars. Our bodies simply were not made to consume that much sugar. In fact, according to metabolism and bariatric expert, Mary Vernon, MD (www.missinghumanmanual.com), our bodies only need 2 tablespoons of glucose (blood sugar) per day for cellular function. And those 2 tablespoons can be supplied by protein-to-glucose conversion, called gluconeogenesis. Since we cannot physically use massive doses of sugar (unless running a marathon every day), the body will store it as fat.
I get a lot of questions (mostly females) on how to lose weight. So many people have tried so many diets that lead to temporarily losing some pounds, only to regain what they lost, plus often adding on a few more.
My husband and I recently went to Cancun for some sunshine. In the mornings we would go to the buffet breakfast and load our plates with eggs, guacamole, bacon, meats, and butter. While eating, being the nutritionist I am, I would watch the plates go by – first looking at the food then the person holding it. Often, it was non-fat yogurts, fruit and bran cereals, maybe an egg-white omelet. The person holding it, I could tell, was someone familiar with the “diet roller coaster”. They had physical signs of chronic dieting, including dry lifeless hair, dry saggy skin, cellulite, under-eye circles and were typically overweight. They were trying their best to do what conventional health wisdom tells them: eat a low-fat, high fiber diet, no cholesterol and lots of carbohydrates. As such, they were on the treadmill each morning, sweating and starving, yet still overweight and feeling fatigued. If they don’t cave-in and grab a muffin (more sugar), they will be famished by lunchtime and inhale the French Fries so fast that the taste will be lost. This is all so common and so flawed. Our bodies need quality fats, are made of fats and will thrive eating them.
So, when I work with a client, one of the first things I do is to re-educate what comprises the physical makeup of our bodies and how it functions. I tell them not to listen to T.V commercials and the latest low-fat diet in the magazine. I show them how to read labels, how many different ways sugar can appear and just how it affects the body and mind.
My husband recently gave up his beloved grains and starting eating more fats. He would ask me, “are you sure I should eat this much fat, I’m not going to gain weight?” I would assure him by saying “yes, just no grains”. He is down two sizes and looking great, he has lost the dry patches on his elbows and his energy level and adrenals have improved.
I am not saying that everyone needs to lose weight to be healthy, although being overweight is a simple sign that inflammation is prevalent in the body and that brings along other very serious health issues (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune issues, etc.). What I am saying is that we do not need as many carbohydrates (sugar) that many of us are currently eating on a daily basis. I have seen so many health improvements just by reducing that thing alone.
As Oprah says, “When we know better, we do better”. Now you know.