Our worst enemy is sugar. For years we have been told to cut back, but as hard as we try, it’s still a major part of our daily diet, it’s addictive. The average American consumes 46 teaspoons of sugar a day.
What’s the problem of eating too much sugar?
Studies have shown that excess sugar consumption:
- increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, and obesity,
- depresses the immune system,
- depletes your body of essential vitamins and minerals,
- leads to diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome,
- raises your lipids, especially triglycerides.
What’s a carbohydrate got to do with sugar?
Our body needs carbohydrates to live. This macronutrient provides energy for our brain, muscles, nervous system and all cells. During the process of digestion, carbohydrates from food break down to form glucose or blood sugar. When the body senses an over-abundance of blood sugar, it automatically produces insulin to balance the sugar. But this over-production of insulin stresses the body’s organs and leads to disease. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between good carbs and bad.
The good and the bad…
SIMPLE carbs are bad because they break down quickly into the blood stream causing blood sugar to spike. This stresses the liver, pancreas, kidneys, circulatory system and heart, all of which can lead to the health risks listed over the long term. Simple carbs include table sugar, jams, candy, jellies, processed foods, cakes, pies, and soft drinks. For the most part, simple carbs contain no valuable nutrients, just empty calories, so after you eat these foods, you feel lethargic, get hungry quicker, and gain weight.
COMPLEX carbs are good because they break down slower in the body, so there is not a quick spike in the blood sugar. Most complex carbs provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are found in vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, lentils) and seeds. Legumes are not included in my recipes because of their inflammatory response. Complex carbs provide a general stream of energy throughout the day, and are not converted to fat as easily as simple carbs.
The bottom line…all carbohydrates break down to blood sugar or glucose, whether it’s a piece of candy or a slice of whole grain bread. The slower this process happens in the body, the better.
Make New Choices
I know it is difficult to give up sugar because it has a tendency to be addictive, so take small steps to eliminate sugar where you can.