Show Me…The Sugar

| December 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

We face an oncoming avalanche of sugar ingestion these next weeks which contributes to belly bloat, oh my gosh, what happened to the scale, my pants don’t fit so good and I feel like sleeping a lot. “I guess I need to resolve in 2015 to lose weight, but…oh, I said that last year.”

The complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, and fruits are good for you; the simple sugars found in sodas, candies, icings, packaged treats, moms almost famous pecan pie and those so yummy thumb print cookies and assorted holiday treats can do harm, at least when eaten in excess. It’s as simple as that, and if you are not mindful of a pending sugar overdose you might just have one.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day is: Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons). Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). It has been suggested that Americans consume 355 calories, or 22 teaspoons, of added sugar a day—much of that comes from soda and packaged foods. You can see the dilemma.

Excess sugar depresses immunity, period! Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses.

Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty- percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In contrast, ingesting a complex carbohydrate solution (starch) did not lower the ability of these white blood cells to engulf bacteria.

Sugar neutralizes the action of essential fatty acids, thus making cells more permeable to invasion by allergens and microorganism. It reduces the production of antibodies; proteins that combine with and inactivate foreign invaders in the body. It interferes with the transport of vitamin C, one of the most important nutrients for all facets of immune function. It causes mineral imbalances and sometimes allergic reactions, both of which weaken the immune system. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system. Do you ever wonder why you get sick as each New Year rolls around? Could it be…the sugar overdose (OD)?

Stress Eating
When we are stressed the first thing we usually think of is “fast fix” which does not usually equate to preparing a healthful snack or meal. It usually means we hop on the sugar train roller coaster which becomes a series of highs and lows with resultant cravings for more sugar. Since you will always have stress, plan ahead. Have some “go to” stash pre made, ready for the stress onslaught, so when it comes, you make a mindful choice, not a “what can I grab and jam in” reaction.

Brain Fog
This is your brain on sugar. Dopamine—the so-called reward chemical—spikes and reinforces the desire to have more. Taste sugar, the brain lights up in the same regions as it would in an alcoholic drinking a bottle of bourbon. Sugar promotes cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want. Welcome, you are now on the sugar train roller coaster.

Aging Skin
Too much sugar jams the skin repair mechanism and, over time, leaves you with prematurely old-looking skin. Just like excess sun impacts the skin, so does sugar. Want to look young? Wear sun screen and read your nutrition labels paying attention to sugars. How we look is largely a function of what we ingest and how we move.

Eventually you have to face the sugar crash. What comes up must come down. A high sugar meal raises the blood glucose level, which triggers the outpouring of insulin. This excess insulin lingers in the system, triggering a craving for more sugar. Sugar, promotes sugar highs…and sugar lows. It’s in these lows that we have to recognize what we are ingesting is the culprit of this low and get off the train. At some point if we stay on the train too long our body can not deal with the insulin rush. Got diabetes?

Why am I Acting this Way?
Sugar sours behavior, attention, and learning. “I feel good”…“I feel bad.” Studies of the effects of sugar on behavior conclude a general consensus that some children and some adults are sugar-sensitive, meaning their behavior, attention span, and learning ability deteriorate in proportion to the amount of junk sugar they consume.

Knowledge and mindfulness are key ingredients to looking young, feeling great and having a long healthy life. Your fitness, physical and mental healths are a product of you recognizing and prioritizing where you will cheat nutritionally, with what, and why, you are willing to cheat. Life is not about abstinence, especially during the holidays when we get to indulge a bit…not a lot…a bit.

Sample the fares of the season, enjoy the times, and just be mindful of your tradeoffs and more than likely, you’ll be fine. or, if not, you need to be gearing up now for a bigger weight loss fitness hill to climb as we roll into 2015. You are the owner of your very own health care franchise; as the boss, you get to decide how to invest.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp and San Diego City Search.

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