20 Dec Sneaking the Sugar
We live in a trusting society. Some may disagree, with all the effort we take to protect our homes and families, our information and our secrets. Security systems, alarms, and passwords all seem to show that we don’t have much faith in each other. BUT in regard to what enters not our homes, but our own bodies, we seem to be very trusting indeed. While we lock up our material valuables, we invite in an even more dangerous enemy every single day by following the wiles of advertising companies and participating in possibly the most common addiction today—sugar.
Heard this before? “But some sugar is good! Fructose, that’s found in fruit, right?” Right! It is! Kind of. Our bodies do need sugar to function, but each body is different, and sometimes it can have undesirable effects. Sugar is a carbohydrate needed by our cells for energy so that they can do their jobs. Everyone knows that too much sugar is bad, so then we hear the response, “That’s fine, I won’t eat the bad stuff anymore! I’ll just eat fruit!” Hold on there, cowboy. Unfortunately, fruit contains a lot of sugar in and of itself! While it is fructose, (natural sugar), it can still be too much and…make you fat. How? Fructose suppresses leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. This means you might be feeling even hungrier after that apple. If not immediately burned as a fuel, the fructose is processed by your liver into stored fat, causing fatty liver disease. The daily recommended sugar intake is 13 teaspoons. One serving of grapes (“healthy!”) has 4 teaspoons itself!
There are other ways that sugar stealthily enters our diets too. Advertising companies have learned that if they can get people hooked while they’re young, they’ve got them hooked for life. This why advertising aimed at children for cereal increased 34% between 2008 and 2011. Cereal, a staple food in the lives of many youngsters, is absolutely loaded with sugar and disguised in visually appealing boxes and fun shapes. Kids and adults alike unknowingly consume 9.3 grams of sugar in their bowl of Cocoa Puffs (over 75% of the recommended daily intake) in the first few hours of the day. With a start like that, before you know it, you’re over the limit and on your way to obesity. And this isn’t being dramatic. Obesity and diabetes are at an all-time high, and foods such as these are clearly the culprits.
So, what’s the solution? Proactivity. If we want to end the deception, we need to take responsibility . We need to check labels, find out what the words “high-fructose corn syrup” mean, and avoid them. We’ll have to put a little more effort into our eating—opting for lean proteins and vegetables instead of the cheap, harmful carbs that are so easy to come by. Will it take time? Will it take knowledge? Yes and yes. But when the alternative is succumbing to the world of total sugar-dependency awaiting our society…it’s worth it.