I wanted to spend some time today discussing the harm that sugar does in our society. If you are unaware, there is a direct link between the rise in metabolic disease and the influx of sugar into common foods in our diet. Unfortunately, there is also a direct link between sugar and big business. Let’s explore these connections and then I will provide some key methods to avoid entering the vicious cycle of a high-sugar diet.
There are two primary reasons that sugar is added to a product. One is in the eyes of the consumer and the other is in the interest of the manufacturer. As most people already know, sugar makes things more palatable. It can turn a piece of bread into a cookie or water into drinks. Simply put, it makes bland foods tastier. This has been done for a while, as sugar is the natural sweetener. However, more recently sugar has been added for another reason. Sugar is being pumped into products as a preservative; it helps to keep food from breaking down. This is done so that a package of macaroni and cheese (6 grams of sugar) can stay on the shelf for months at a time.
The real problem here is that we aren’t dealing with “sugar” per se; however, an imposter referred to as high fructose corn syrup. You have probably heard of this ingredient, it’s almost everywhere. Unlike cane sugar or even brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup isn’t naturally occurring; it must be manufactured. This causes a serious problem in that your body doesn’t break it down the way it would sugar. When you consume high fructose corn syrup, it won’t elicit a response from your leptin hormones, which signal to your body that you are full. In short, after eating high fructose corn syrup, you are more likely to crave more and ultimately consume more. This creates a problem for both your body and your wallet.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid sugar except for natural sources like fruits, vegetables, and all natural juices,. As a means to promote this, stay on the border of the supermarket. All the natural foods are on the outskirts (think meats, fruits, and dairy). It is the middle aisles that have processed foods, teeming with sugars. The less of these foods that you put in the pantry, the less you will eat them.
As you start to eat fresh and healthy foods, you replace calorically heavy and nutritionally weak foods with natural foods that are nutritionally dense. As you being to cycle sugar foods out of your diet, you crave them less. This will have immediate results, such as weight loss and more energy. It will also decrease your risk of major diseases that are related to a poor diet.
Keep these tips in mind next time you are at the supermarket and be sure to keep high sugar foods from infiltrating your pantry.