Saturday, November 29, 2008

How Much Sugar Do You Consume?

I am on a new kick.

It stemmed from a long conversation that I had with my dad, an accomplished scientist, researcher and skeptic. We were discussing sugar's relationship to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. I was eager to discuss the evidence that points to sugar being to blame--but that most medical doctors still don't demonize sugar like I want them to. On top of that, it seems like the bulk of the studies that have been done have not concluded that sugar is the culprit. There are variables in every study that keep sugar from being the one and only culprit.

The main problem with pointing the finger at sugar, is that there are a lot of foods/drinks out there that act just like sugar in our bodies by turning into glucose. Also, in my researching and reading and talking with people like my dad, it seems more likely that the amount of sugar in our diets is what's to blame, not the sugar itself, necessarily.

In the early 1900's people had tiny amounts of sugar in their diets. I forget the exact statistic, but it is shocking how little we consumed then in comparison to what the average American consumes now, which is between 150-175 pounds each, per year. It seems like small amounts of unhealthy consumption won't add up to very much disease, but like anything, if there is a large amount of something unhealthy going into our bodies daily, it is bound to be linked to disease.

In my conversation with my dad on Thanksgiving, I thought about what it means that the average person is consuming so much sugar. What that says to me is that we are probably consuming too much of everything. People who regularly eat a larger meal portion than their body requires (that's most of us!) are probably not just overeating sugar, but everything else, as well. And, being that there are hundreds of foods out there that act like sugar in our bodies (because they are carbohydrates), this amounts to stress on our bodies that were not meant to intake the portions we take in. The physical stress of this has to be played out somehow. I believe it is mostly played out in the form of disease, or dis-ease. Malcontent. Obesity. Addiction.

To conclude, I think sugar is horrible. Because it contains nothing our body requires (we get plenty of natural sugars in our diet--think fruits, vegetables, etc.) I think it is awful that it is sold at grocery stores as food. (The only thing food about sugar is where it originates from, sugar cane or sugar beet.) The only argument used in favor of sugar being consumed is that it provides energy. But the energy we get from sugar pales in comparison to all of the negative side effects of sugar. Also, it is a false energy being that in a short amount of time the sugar high turns into a sugar low. It ends up sapping our energy, using our bodies' reserves of nutrients just to help digest it!

Stay tuned for my story about what happened to me on Thanksgiving. It's true and it will make you furious!

(I will not be providing any references in this post tonight, as I am just sharing my own summation of what I believe about sugar at this point.)

4 comments:

~~gail~~aka: mooselovingmamabear said...

Thanks for all the information...I really need a reminder now and then...(mostly now...)

princess rose said...

Hi Nicole,

Oooh keeping me more in suspense! I think it would be great to communicate via your blog. And yes you have my permission to post some of our "conversations". =)

I wanted to share a little story... one of my coworkers has gestational diabetes and I gave her one of my chocolate cupcakes and she ate it and didn't feel sick from it. Normally she takes her blood sugar level after eating such things, but decided not to this time. I was very happy that she was able to indulge in one of my naturally sweetened desserts!

My Year Without said...

I am curious, did you give your co-worker a cupcake from the chocolate cake recipe you shared with me? I ask because I've heard that even refined flours are big no-no's, but perhaps that is for people with a different type of diabetes.

That is so wonderful that everything went great--especially her being able to enjoy a sweet dessert! How super sweet of you.

My Year Without said...

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you what I found out about "rice dextrin", an ingredient in Rice Dream ice cream. I was looking at the ingredients list on the back of a package of "Nana's" cookies, and noticed that rice dextrin was listed as an ingredient, but right after it said, "a natural and unmodified starch". I am also having a hard time finding out exactly what that means. It looks like I will have a couple phone calls to make this week!