Believe me, although you may have a sweet tooth and eat lots of candy, and no matter how many times your mama called you ‘hunny’, you just aren’t that sweet. No matter how much sugar you eat, your body has to find a way to keep your blood sugar somewhat around the same level if it wants to survive. Your blood sugar level may spike up for a short bit, but if your body can’t get the level back down and keep it regulated somehow, you get will get toxic overload.
Our body finds many ways to cope and deal with sugar abuse for quite some time. It will store and hide the sugar as energy stores in our adipose tissue (fat), in our liver, and in our muscles; with damage being done that can’t yet be seen at the outward level. Our bodies continue to release high doses of insulin to deal with this glucose overload, until one day our insulin producing machine wears out, or our cells no longer respond to the constant demands to process the sudden sugar influxes. It is then that we have the irreversible disease of diabetes.
So although you may not be sweet from eating sugar, you are healthier if you only eat your refined sugar for desserts and treats (soda, pie, cake, ice cream, cookies), as opposed to eating them as diet staples. Our problem is not that we have a sweet tooth, our problem is that we are also eating these unnatural, processed sugars for our main meal. Without realizing it, we are punishing and taxing our bodies on a regular basis. Eating white spaghetti is somewhat akin to eating several chocolate bars for dinner, although the spaghetti is slightly more nutritious as it has been fortified with a couple necessary vitamins and/or minerals.
When I set out to eat spaghetti, rice pilaf, or toast, I think I’m eating pretty well to fuel my body, ready to get on that tennis court the next day, but the problem is that most of the pasta and bread we eat is made from refined white or ‘wheat’ flour. This means the flour has been processed by man, the fibrous and nutritious part of the grain has been removed; and the same goes for white rice. Because the fiber has been removed, these refined complex carbohydrates now act like simple carbohydrates by being quickly absorbed into our blood, spiking our blood sugar level, working our body harder and sending us through mood swings and low energy levels. And, since the germ has been removed, the USDA mandates that these grains have to be re-fortified with a few of the nutrients taken out, in order for our large population to survive our modern culture of affordable, mass-produced food.
Most think diabetes and obesity happen from eating too much fat, but this isn’t usually the case. Fat has a high satiety to it, satisfying our cravings and leaving us full for longer, while refined carbs have us hungry an hour later. Meat has gotten a bad rap in our society, even though I’ve never seen a fat cheetah on Animal Planet. When eating a hamburger the worst part for us is the white bun, so next time you’re at In N’ Out Burger, order your burger protein style and forego the soda for a water with a couple lemon slices squeezed in it. Eggs have also gotten a bad rap in our society, and my 102 year-old, lean Grandpa has eaten a couple eggs just about every day of his life, along with his bacon. Eating fat isn’t what generally makes us fat. When we eat fat, we can use it for energy over a longer period of time; but when we eat refined carbs, the sugar can’t be used soon enough, and is thus stored as fat.
So do your body a favor and feed it unrefined complex carbs like oats, whole grain wheat, brown rice, and vegetables, or unrefined simple carbs in their fibrous and nutritious state, like fruits. In doing this, the sugar will be absorbed much slower by your body over time, and used effectively for bodily functions and energy expenditure. Would you rather feel good or would you rather feel crappy, it’s up to you.
Stay tuned next week, when I will talk about not only the benefits of mono and polyunsaturated fats in our diet, but also of saturated fats – no way you say, but it’s true!