To break it down to basics, our bodies break food down into the various micronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Food provides our bodies with the necessary fuel to function from day to day. Sugar is present in shapes and forms depending on the chemical combinations but each has a negative and even destructive effect on our bodies.
Glucose- a monosaccharide meaning ‘one sugar’. Our bodies manufacture it when blood levels are too low and insulin manages glucose digestion in the body when levels are sufficient or too high.
Fructose-a simple monosaccharide commonly found in plants (e.g all fruits).
Sucrose– a disaccharide (‘two sugars’) comprised of fructose and glucose in a 1:1 ratio.
Common Sweeteners: Glucose Syrup/Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, fruit sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, palm sugar, coconut sugar.
Now to the eye openers:
Did you know that the average American gets up to 25% of their daily intake from sugar alone!? Or that
Some of these people have never even eaten a chocolate bar and yet have somehow managed to give themselves diabetes….How the heck is that possible?
Well the fact is that carbohydrates and especially complex carbohydrates are essentially just sugar. Yes you read that right. Rice, potatoes, corn, dessert, sweets, fizzy drinks, cereal and flour are all examples of polysaccharides or ‘many sugars’ – pause to reflect here – does it really make sense that ‘many sugars’ might be good for you??? All the above aforementioned foods will go into the system as either glucose or fructose.
That’s all good and well but the fact is that excess levels of glucose are actually bad for the body. It essentially creates overproduction of insulin, insulin resistance within our cells, reduces their efficiency and eventually excess glucose gets into our fat cells where it is stored as fat. Yup it’s sugar that gets stored in our fat cells, not fat. (Source: The Paleo Solution-Robb Wolf).
The evidence is overwhelming that carbohydrate intake of refined, processed food stressed the body. This article and this article from Mark’s Daily Apple points out some shocking side effects of sugar:
Luckily Mark also talks about ways to prevent and reverse these terrifying side effects: exercise to burn stored glycogen as fuel and cutting back on carbohydrates, especially sugars and refined, processed foods.
It doesn’t take a lot of digging to see that suggesting we get up to 300g of carbohydrates a day is crazy. Our genetic structure is not built to handle such colossal amounts-just look around you, observe the obesity epidemic.
Societal supply and demand has fuelled the creation of guidelines which are doing more damage to our systems than good. Don’t take my word for it though. Check out the links below for some more information. This stuff is important and worth taking a few minutes to read through.
1. http://freetheanimal.com/2009/05/poison-sugar.html- some picture comparisons of sugar content in food
2. Fructose vs glucose http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.ie/2009/04/fructose-vs-glucose-showdown.html
3. Leptin resistance and sugar http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.ie/2008/12/leptin-resistance-and-sugar.html
4. Video-long (1.29hrs) but really worth a watch if interested in this topic.http://freetheanimal.com/2009/12/dr-robert-lustig-on-fructose-alcohol-without-the-buzz.html
6. A recent study found that seniors over the age of 70 who ate high-carb diets had four times the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as seniors who ate more fat and protein- http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2012-rst/7128.html