Monday, May 2, 2011

Weight Loss Tip #5 - Reduce Sugar to 25 Grams

Sugar is toxic.  Sugar causes so many problems with your health, it should be labeled as a toxic poison.  According to Robert Lustig, M.D., a leading expert on childhood obesity, sugar is the main reason for obesity in this country.  Sugar not only contributes to weight gain, it is a contributing factor to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, heart disease, and many other chronic ailments.  Sugar is also addicting.  See my prior post "Sugar Addiction" for more information. The average American consumes 150 grams of sugar per day.  This has increases significantly over the past 100 years.  The main reason for the increase is due to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and processed foods.  HFCS is very expensive to produce because it is made from corn.  Corn is subsidized in the U.S. so many farmers have switched from growing many crops to just corn.  With so much excess corn, manufacturers came up with a sweetener made from corn, HFCS.  HFCS is added not only to foods typically sweetened but also to foods you wouldn't expect to find a sweetener.  You need to read labels carefully.  In addition, HFCS is actually worse than pure cane sugar because the chances are very high that it is also genetically modified. 

Why is HFCS and sugar so bad and why do you gain weight when consuming them?  The body is not made to handle simple sugars effectively.  Simple sugars enter your blood stream much quicker than complex sugars.  Immediately after ingesting simple sugars, insulin, produced by the pancreas, is released to regulate the sugar in your your blood.  The more simple sugars you eat, the harder your pancreas has to work to keep your blood sugar level balanced.  Eventually, the pancreas has problems producing insulin quick enough, and you become insulin resistant or pre-diabetic.  If your sugar intake isn't decreased at this point, you are at very high risk of becoming diabetic.  Being diabetic means your pancreas stops producing insulin altogether.  Since sugar enters the blood stream quickly, it is usually impossible for your body to use it all for energy.  Where does the excess go?  Fat.  The numerous amounts of processed foods that are labeled "Fat-Free" are helping make obesity rates even higher.  Why?  Usually when a manufacturer takes out the fat, they add more sugar for taste.  My suggestion is to stop eating highly processed foods altogether.  They are usually full of HFCS, salt, and hydrogenated fats.  Sugar, fructose, dextrose, and sucrose are all simple sugars.

Weight Loss Tip #5: Do not have more than 25 grams of sugar per day.  And when you do, try to have real maple syrup, honey, agave, or pure stevia (an herb) instead because they have more nutrients.  These are still simple sugars so they should be included in the maximum of 25 grams per day.  To give you a guideline, one teaspoon of sugar has 4 grams and 15 calories.   

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