We are all hearing more and more about the health problems associated with our increased consumption of sugar. Everyone now has a family member or someone close to them that is Insulin Resistant or Type II Diabetic.
But are we?
Are we doing our best? And more importantly are we well informed?
Recently we hosted a seminar on sugar at Okanagan Peak Performance Inc. And to start it all off we had a little quiz. Nothing too crazy but 5 True or False questions related to the content. Here they are.
Question #1 – All LDLs are bad for you and all HDLs are good for you. False
The answer to this is not all LDLs are bad for you. We now know that that LDLs can be further classified as either Pattern A or Pattern B.
Pattern A LDLs are large, buoyant moieties that aren’t necessarily bad for you health. Increased fat consumption results in an increase of Pattern A LDLs which aren’t necessarily bad health-wise.
Pattern B LDLs are the smaller, dense version which are harmful to you health. Because they are smaller and dense these particles can sink and form plaques. Eating sugar increases the proportion of Pattern B LDLs.
Question #2 – Eating natural sugars, such as sugar cane, is a healthier option than artificial or refined sugars. False
This is a common mistake of many people. We assume that because we are eating something natural it must be healthier.
But natural isn’t always healthy.If it was we would take a couple of spoonfuls of arsenic every morning and tabacco would be one of the main food groups.
Obviously this wouldn’t make any sense. These aren’t healthy for us and one is even a poison.
In the same way we need to recognize that sugar cane is no different from table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or honey. They all have damaging effects on our health and their consumption needs to be monitored closely.
Question #3 – The worst part about eating sugar is the empty calories you consume as well as the potential weight gain. False
Growing up I remember my parents telling us kids to avoid sugar and candy because they contain empty calories. And I can almost remember hearing dieticians speaking at the schools preaching the same message.
And I’m not saying they were wrong. There really is no nutritional benefit to eating table sugar.
But it’s not as simple as that. And here’s why.
Saying sugar has empty calories and leaving it at that ignores the fact that there are negative consequences to sugar consumption. It’s as though we ascribe sugar to be the Switzerland of nutrition. Since it isn’t bad it must be neutral.
However there is an another option. And that is that sugar is bad for us. It leads to hormone disruption, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, liver problems and obesity. Plus there is more and more evidence that is correlated to cancer.
So we can’t simply say that sugar offers no nutritional benefit and will make us fat. It actually harms our health and is a negative rather than a neutral substance.
Question #4 – The average US person consumes almost 200 grams of sugar per day. True
Working backwards from approximately 160 lbs per year this works out to around 200 gram per day . This is insane! There is absolutely no reason our sugar intake needs to be this high.’
And if we are eating 200 grams of sucrose per day that means we are getting 100 grams of fructose per day. When you consider our ancestors at approximately 15 grams of fructose per day this almost 700% times what we used to eat.
So if the goal is to reduce our daily sugar we need to have an idea of where the sugar we eat comes from. Simply writing down the amount of sugar in a packaged food item is an easy way to do this.
Question #5 – Fructose, such as the sugar from fruits, is the healthiest choice if one is to eat sugar. False
First of all it’s important to state that fruit is not the problem. Instead it is the fructose that we get from sucrose or table sugar as well as high fructose corn syrup that causes many of our health problem.
Why is fructose a poor choice?
Well when we eat glucose this can be metabolized by any of the cells of the body. However fructose can only be metabolized by the liver.
And when we consume excess fructose the liver can metabolize a certain amount and then will store the remainder as fat. How much get stored?
Well if we ate 120 calories of glucose or fructose there is a huge difference in the amount that gets stored as fat. And by big difference I mean 40 times more energy is stored as fat when we eat fructose.
So when you think that drinking beer, or consuming ethanol, leads to a beer belly I guess than means that eating sugar, fructose specifically leads to a sugar belly.
In the comments section let me know what you’d like to learn about at the next seminar. There has been a request for a session on diaphragmatic breathing as well as one on reading nutritional labels.
Let me know and we’ll make it happen.