The Good and the Bad About Sugar

Good & Bad Sugar

THE GOOD AND THE BAD ABOUT SUGAR

While current research has shown that people I general have reduced their consumption of fat, there are more alarming findings about sugar consumption. Obesity has now been declared a worldwide epidemic and statistical evidence suggests that obesity has more to do with sugar consumption than fat consumption. We need a reasonable understanding of different sugars in order to make the right choices.

Sugars of one type occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. Processed sugars which have a different constitution are added to foods, fruit juices and other drinks as sweeteners in order to make the products more palatable. Herein lies the difference between wat is good and what is bad.

We need to differentiate between sugars classified as monosaccharides and disaccharides and then we need to get familiar with the terms fructose, sucrose, glucose, lactose and galactose. Then, there’s the role glucose vs. glycogen in our bodies. It gets complicated, so let’s keep to the essentials.

MONOSACCHARIDES

Monosaccharides are the simplest form of sugar and include fructose, glucose and galactose. Fructose occurs naturally in fruits, honey, berries and most root vegetables. Your consumption of the foods in which it occurs naturally is healthy. Other monosaccharides include glucose and galactose.

A U.S. survey reveals that about 9% of average caloric intake comes from fructose. Only one-third of this fructose comes from fruit, while the other two-thirds come from added refined sugars, this is where you will find a correlation between unhealthy sugar consumption and obesity.

DISACCHARIDES

Disaccharides are carbohydrates that are created when two monosaccharides are joined. The best known disaccharide is sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, I which a fructose molecule is joined with a glucose molecule. Another common disaccharide is lactose, found only in milk, in which a glucose and a galactose molecule are combined.

GLUCOSE

Glucose is a sugar that our metabolism converts into energy. Our brain and other tissues require a constant supply of blood glucose to survive. Glucose, transported via the bloodstream, is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells. It is the prime metabolic fuel source for most organisms, from bacteria to humans.

Our body produces glucose when we digest the sugar and star that are contained in carbohydrates. Such foods include: rice, grains, pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Enzymes break down the starch and sugar into glucose which is absorbed into our bloodstream. The glucose combines with insulin and together they provide the energy for our muscles and brain.

It is vital to our health to keep glucose levels within a normal range. Because the energy originates from the foods we eat, our body has a mechanism for maintaining a normal range. This mechanism is seated in our liver which sores excess glucose as glycogen

GLUCOSE AND GLYCOGEN

Our body absorbs glucose from the foods we eat and this may obviously occur irregularly. The glucose that the bod does not use immediately is converted into glycogen.

Glycogen is a chain of glucose sub-units store primarily in the liver and in our muscles. This glycogen is used to buffer our blood glucose level. For example, our muscles use the glycogen stored in the liver for energy during strenuous exercise.

What is important in our pursuit of fat loss is the fact that any glucose in excess of the needs for energy and storage as glycogen is converted to fat. This is the underlying cause for the common argument that claims as follows:

  •                 Fruit contains fructose
  •                 Fructose turns to fat
  •                 If you want to lose fat, do not eat fruit

This argument is essentially false because it ignores the way in which our body metabolizes fructose.

FRUCTOSE AND GLYCOGEN

Fructose can stimulate lipogenesis which means the accumulation and storage of fat. However, fructose is primarily stored in our liver as glycogen. The liver can comfortably handle a daily intake of 50 grams of fructose without storing any extra fat and it can store 100 grams of glycogen.

This is an important observation. A normal piece of fresh fruit contains approximately 6-7 grams of fructose so you would need to eat more than 5-7 pieces of fruit in a day to absorb 50 grams. In contrast, you can very easily absorb more than 50 grams of fructose by drinking a lot of carbonated soft drinks, or drinks sweetened with fructose corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption has increased dramatically and is now a main contributor to obesity. You need to understand the following misconceptions:

People confuse HFCS with fructose that occurs naturally in fresh fruit.

The entire weight of a piece of fruit is not made up of fructose; most of the weight includes water and fiber.

CONCLUSION

You will suffer no ill effects from eating several pieces of fresh fruit on a daily basis. What you need to steer away from is HFCS consumption and processed sugars added as sweeteners to food products and drinks.

 

Living a Healthy Life

Living a Healthy Life 

12 Day Fresh Start

We’re so busy racing through our day to day lives that we don’t take the time to look after ourselves. It’s really no wonder that so many of us are tired and run down. What are some simple things that we can do to improve our quality of life?

In the fast paced world that we live in it can be easy to neglect our health and wellness. We’re so busy racing through our day to day lives – family, friends, work, social engagements – that we don’t take the time to look after ourselves. It’s really no wonder that so many of us are tired and run down. What are some simple things that we can do to improve our quality of life?

Drink Drink Drink… drinking water

You’ve heard it a million times and you’ll probably hear it a million more – drink more water!

Think about it: The human body is 72% water. A 5% drop in fluids creates a 25-30% loss in energy. A 15% drop in fluids causes death! At this point in time 66% of us aren’t drinking enough water, so over half the population isn’t running on all six cylinders to begin with – before things like bad air, bad food and stress take their toll.

It’s not really a difficult thing to remedy. Just drink one glass of water every half hour or so – or 10-12 glasses of water per day – and you’ll notice a huge jump in your energy levels.

Living Food – Loving Life!

A little known fact is that heating food above 116°F destroys much of the nutrient content. Considering that we already aren’t eating enough veggies, that’s a fairly substantial problem. Nutritionists recommend five serves of fresh vegetables per day. How many of us are actually taking that advice?

A great way to get the nutrients found in fresh veggies without spending all day at stove or eating raw celery sticks is to juice your veggies. Make sure that you own a good juicer (some juicers expose vegetables to heat created by friction during juicing, which breaks down important enzymes), grab some fresh vegetables and drink your way to good health. It takes a fraction of the time (there’s no cooking involved, for one thing) and it’s convenient. You can take your juice to work and even give some to the littlies for school lunches!

Wheatgrass in particular is an excellent source of nutrition. It’s high in chlorophyll (sometimes described as ‘plant blood’ because it closely resembles human red blood cell molecules) and has over 100 elements that the body needs. Fresh grains are another excellent source for vitamins and minerals.

Energy In – Energy Out

Exercise is another dirty word for most of us. The thing is, exercise doesn’t have to be horribly time consuming or mind-numbingly boring. There are plenty of options.

Years ago gyms usually offered weight rooms, aerobics classes and maybe a circuit. Now you can add water aerobics, yoga, Pilates, dance-ercise, step classes and a whole range of new workout options.

If you don’t really have the time or money for the gym, or prefer to spend your mornings/nights at home, then try an exercise bike or walker. I’d be lost without my exercise bike – I set it up in front of the television and peddle away merrily during my favorite shows.

If, like me, you suffer from illness or injury or your level of fitness is quite low, you might like to consider some invaluable advice that I got from my doctor:

Once you’re physically unfit, and particularly if you’re also unwell, it can be a mammoth battle to just do the most minimal amount of exercise in a day. The danger is that inactivity leads to further loss of energy, which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle until you can barely get off the couch.

An excellent way to get back into a physical routine is to start slowly. Ridiculously slowly, it may seem. For the first couple of weeks, walk/ride for 5 minutes per day – exactly 5 minutes, no more, even if you think you could continue. When the 2 weeks are up, increase to 7 minutes, then 10 minutes, 12 minutes… continue to gradually increase your activity until you’re at a level that you’re comfortable with.

It may sound a little silly, but it works. In effect, you trick your body into producing more energy. You’re building your exercise time up so slowly that your body doesn’t really realize what’s happening. Follow this method and, before you know it, you’ll be comfortably exercising within your limits every day.

So, folks, that’s the basics. If you can rearrange your life a little to allow for better eating habits and a little exercise, and if you remember to just drink a glass of water every half hour or so, you’ll be well on the way to living a healthy life. On a final note, don’t forget to take some quiet time for yourself. Meditating is an excellent way to minimize stress. You don’t have to sit around for hours, just give yourself 5 minutes of quiet time every day – even in the shower, if that’s the only place where you can get time out – and have a little catch up with yourself.

And, last but by no means least, laugh! In fact, laugh like a loon – the louder the better! You’ll be amazed at how much such a simple thing can lift your spirits!