Friends, I am back! Sorry again for my long break. Don’t hate me though! I come bearing gifts. This is a blog topic that I have been wanting to write about for a while now but just couldn’t find a way to organize my thoughts because there is soooo much information here! But what better time for a post on sugar than right before we stuff ourselves with cookies? Let’s jump into it!
Is Sugar Killing You?
Is sugar bad for you? Simple answer, yes.
That is a bold statement I know. Although I’m sure most of you don’t find it surprising at all with how much sugar has been under fire in the media recently. There have been countless studies released over the past decade talking about the seemingly endless health problems sugar can cause. That being said, I want to make something clear before we get into this post. The TYPE of sugar matters, as well as the amount of sugar consumed! Now, let’s get into the details about what sugars really are, and how your body uses them.
Sugars, in general, get a bad name. I feel like every health blog and media outlet has put out a story blasting everything sugar and protesting it in every way. The truth of the matter is, your body is built on sugars. You see, there are so many different types of sugars I can’t even begin to name them all. Many of them are synthesized by your own body and are used in crucial cellular functions as well as building the structural components of your DNA! Carbohydrates are simply more complex sugars that your body has to break down into products it can use to create energy (more on this in a post to come). Also, sugar is very important for making food not taste like crap.
Now, equipped with this new knowledge on sugars you may be thinking, “Ok Matt, you said sugars are bad for me?”
Yeah, there are. REFINED sugars are what I (and everyone else) is talking about. Refined sugars are the ones that are used as sweeteners, in baking, and pretty much everything else. These sugars, are not natural in any way. Because they are not natural, your body doesn’t know what to do with them. Giving your body a packet of Splenda would be like me handing you a screwdriver and asking you to hammer in a nail. Not only does your body not know how to metabolize these sugars well, it just simply doesn’t need that much sugar.
I have a great story on this that I have to tell:
So a few months ago in a biochemistry class, we were studying metabolism and the biological pathways that certain foods take in the body. Super interesting stuff actually! So anyway, our professor, although brilliant, is very unhealthy, and cannot even stand for half of the class without being exhausted. Now I am the last person to judge someone for their health issues. We all have them! BUT this man proceeds to tell us that he had spent the last few years of his life trying to prove that fructose (a sugar) has no more effect on body fat than other sugars. I was blown away by that statement. He thought he was sticking it to the “organic folk” by boasting his conclusion: Fructose does not deposit fat any differently than other sugars.
Things like this make me go crazy. OF COURSE fructose isn’t stored as fat any more than other sugars! The problem is that fructose is a cheap ingredient, and because of that it is in EVERYTHING! So it isn’t the sugar itself that is evil, it is the amount of sugar consumed that is the problem. And you can’t test that in a Petri dish. I mean… at what point did science throw common sense out the window?
I couldn’t hold my tongue any longer though… I spoke up and gave my 2 cents. He was very prepared and immediately snapped back with “well you must not be aware that fructose is the same sugar that’s in fruit. Is fruit bad for you?” I laughed because two could play that game… “Well sir… are you aware that fruit is seasonal? Meaning before modern day, people weren’t consuming their weight in fructose every year?”
He got silent, thought for a minute… then didn’t say a word and continued his lecture.
Now that was a long story but I hope you get the point of it. Natural sugars are a necessity of life and you would be hard-pressed to go a day without consuming a sugar in some way. It is the type, and more importantly the amount that leads to the major issues we see today like fatty liver, coronary heart disease, and don’t even get me started on what it does to your brain! Sugar can be a key factor in hindering your mood and energy levels which I talk about more here: Drastically Improve Your Energy, Mood, And Life
So what’s next? How do you begin to take hold of your sugar consumption in your life?
I’m not going to give you “10 shocking steps to kicking sugar” or ” 5 sugary foods that will kill you on the spot”
You can find those complicated articles elsewhere.
I just want to give you the most practical advice I can on watching your sugar intake:
If it seems natural, then it’s probably ok.
Go eat a nice helping of organic raspberries, make some almond flour blueberry pancakes, have a few french fries (ok only a few french fries though… sugar ain’t the only issue there!)
My point being, enjoy what you eat. And more importantly, use common sense. When you’re looking at a food and it seems processed, or if you’re at Starbucks and think you’re going healthy by opting for a Yerba Matte… read the label and you will notice an extremely unhealthy dose of refined sugars.
One last piece of advice for the ones among us that love baking: Branch out, try new recipes with better sugar alternatives. There is a delicious substitute for any of your grandmother’s recipes and you will feel much better after eating them!
Sweeteners I would recommend as replacements would be Stevia, Erythritol, and my personal favorite, Monkfruit (look it up… its pretty cool)
Now that was a lot of information, so I have put together a short summary. Tell me in the comments below if you like me adding a little recap at the end of each post!
1) It’s not all sugars, but the type, as well as the amount that matters!
2) If it doesn’t seem natural, it ain’t the sugar you’re looking for!
3) Use common sense
4) Enjoy every damn bite of food you put in your mouth!