Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1

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Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1

 

Laurence T. Gayao, MD

 

Sugar is nutritional public enemy #1. Sugar has now displaced fatty foods which use to occupy that position. For years nutritionists had blamed fats and cholesterol as the main cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease that plagues western society. In recent years however multiple research results have scientists and nutritionists now pointing their fingers to sugar as  real villain causing these problems.

sugar poison Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1
Enjoy now die later

Lately you may have heard of cities imposing tax on sugary drinks to promote health among its citizens, just like they do on tobacco products. Many school districts have removed vending machines selling these drinks. They too don’t serve them in their cafeterias.  All these in an attempt to control childhood obesity which in recent years has been on the rise at an alarming rate.

There are 62 calories in two teaspoons of sugar. That is not really much. However if you consider the amount of sugar in a 12 ounce soda is about 13 teaspoons so on average the total calorie for just one drink would be about 403 calories. Add to that sugar in  cakes, cookies, ice cream, processed foods and other sources, it does not take rocket scientist to figure out why many of us have weight problems.

The US government has released Dietary Guidelines For Americans for 2015-2020. The title of their introduction is ‘Nutrition and Health Are Closely Related.’ It states that “About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion. In 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.”

You have heard the US president and congress talk about working on healthcare reform to curve spending. If you listen to their discourse not one of them are talking about addressing controlling preventable causes of illnesses in order to control the sky rocketing rise in health care spending through promoting  healthy diet and lifestyle. Someone has said the right diet is the best medicine.

 

Sugar intake and Obesity

In the last three decades the amount sugar consumption per capita have increased by 30% and there has been also a proportionately increase in the percentage of  overweight individuals.

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate is naturally found in vegetables and fruits. These foods however use by food manufactures in their products where they add refined sugar to enhance their taste and preservatives to extend shelf life. The end being unhealthy and dangerous for human consumption. Even bottled fruit juice in you read the amount of sugar per serving is just as high as a sugary soda pop. Fresh vegetables and fruits contains sugar that provides the energy fuel for our bodies and along with nutrients in the right proportion.

OW Added Sugar Infographic smaller 1024x791 Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1Increase per capital sugar intake past decades

 

obesity rates in the us 1 Sugar Is Nutritional Public Enemy #1

Obesity increase past decades in US

Glucose

 Glucose is a single sugar molecule. Refined sugar is a pure form of sugar, when ingested it needs no digestion,  it is absorbed as is and goes straight to your blood stream and cause an immediate spike in your blood sugar level.

 

Sucrose

Sucrose may be more familiar to you as table sugar. Sucrose is made when a glucose and a fructose molecule combine together. It is derived from the refinement of a sugar beet. When taken in its refined from it too does not need digestion and is absorbed straight to your blood stream.  Sucrose also occurs as a natural sugar in many vegetables, such as peas, sweet potatoes and carrots.
 

Starch

 Starch are Is a complex carbohydrate or polysaccharide. These long chains of glucose molecules which is the form that plants store sugar. This required digestion before they are absorbed into the blood stream, thus they don’t cause spikes in the blood sugar when ingested.

 

Fiber

Dietary fiber is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in many vegetables and fruits. In most vegetables, fiber is made of cellulose, a non-digestible complex sugar. This does not cause increase in your blood sugar. Your body’s digestive system can break down cellulose using the bacteria of the digestive system, but cellulose does not get absorbed by the small intestine. Instead, cellulose is useful to your body to promote the health of your digestive tract. Food manufactures usually remove much of the fiber so the sugar is more concentrated and their products tend to have more calories and may be constipating.

Cellulose fibers help keep your digestive system clean and running smoothly, by preventing constipation. This is known as natures laxative. If you have trouble with regularity of bowel movement and hard stools it is recommended that you increase fiber in your diet and water intake. Manufactures sells it as purified form of over the counter bulk laxative. Another benefit of fiber is it gives one the feeling of fullness preventing over eating.

 

I hope after going through this you would know about the different carbohydrates to help you choose which foods are healthy for you. Try to stay away from manufactured foods and refined sugars. You may have heard people say, ‘ I am on a low carb diet’ which In actuality is not a really a healthy diet because there are healthy carbs that are essential for body function. Stay away from empty calories like refined sugars which are high in calories with no nutrients and fiber . The best rule,  get your sugar in its natural state from fresh vegetables and fruits.

Happy healthy eating, Chow.

Your Fitness Doc.

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