“What’s in a name? Sugar by any other name will taste just as sweet…
yet be just as dangerous!”
Unfortunately, referencing Shakespeare does not carry the same endearing message when talking about sugar.
Most people know that overall, sugar is not the best thing to have in our diets. Even when we are trying to do our best to reduce or monitor our sugar intake, we’ve been ‘duped’ by labels. There are over 56 different names for sugar. A label can read “Sugar 0g” on the label and still contain various forms of sugar. For example:
Common Names For Sugar
Barley malt Dextran Treacle
Beet sugar Dextrose High Fructose Corn Syrup
Brown sugar Diastatic malt Agave Nectar
Buttered syrup Ethyl maltol Maltodextrin
Cane juice crystals Demerara Muscovado
Corn syrup Panocha
The list goes on….
So let’s briefly look at the what, why, where, and how? about sugar.
What? What is sugar, specifically added sugar? “Sugar is the generic term for any disaccharides (e.g. sucrose) and monosaccharides (e.g. fructose, glucose). Sugars’ sweet, crystalline solids are used as sweeteners or preservatives, and are essential structural components of living cells and source of energy in many organisms.” Basically its what makes food taste so good and as a result makes us so addicted!
Why? Why is sugar so dangerous to our bodies and health? Sugar stimulates the pleasure center in our brain and releases the hormone dopamine…. the feel good hormone. Studies have shown that the brain reacts to this reward system the same way it reacts to cocaine. Which means sugar is addictive and the brain wants more of that “feel good” sensation. This leads to more consumption.
“The more sugar you eat…the more sugar you eat!”
Excess sugar can lead to diabetes, obesity, metabolic disease, can make blood acidic, robs body of minerals, suppress immune system, contributes to cancer and much more.
Where? Where and when are we consuming the most hidden sugars? In the United States, people consume over 60 pounds of sugar per year!! It’s commonly found in cakes, cookies, sodas, candy and more. However, often we don’t think about other hidden sugar sources like: canned foods, ketchup, sauces, fruit juice, frozen dinners, salad dressings and the list goes on.
How? How can we avoid being “duped” and take in less sugar? Later we will go into more tips and tricks to make it easier to reduce sugar, but for today it’s simply AWARENESS. Always look at the labels; be aware of what is in your food and the many different names for sugar. Always know what you are putting into your body. I tell clients often:
“If you don’t know what’s in it, then don’t put it in you!”
With that being said, if you can’t spell it, pronounce it, or it sounds like something from your kids’ science class…leave it on the shelf.
This is just part one on this subject; there are many other facets on sugar and how it impacts our health in the days to come!
Until then, continue to live by the Empower mantra and
“Think Fun, Get Fit & EAT WELL!”