BODY OF CHANGE:   Sugar: The Unsweet Truth
Saturday, May 4, 2013

By Walter Crockett, Jr.
 
Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease and many other aliments are griping America. The question many ask is why? Is it lack of exercises, lack of knowledge, lack of proper diet, or flat out laziness? Honestly it could be a combination of all of those things. Today I will focus on continuing your body of change with what could be public enemy number one!
 
The consumption of processed or refined sugars has increased dramatically and with it many health conditions. When foods are processed, they are usually stripped of nutrients and minerals. The human body was designed to break down complex carbohydrates like vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. When these convert to sugar in our bodies they can be naturally regulated by the liver. They also contain fiber and nutrients that slow down the absorption rate of sugar in our blood stream.
 
Today’s issue is that we are taking in processed sugar at nearly double previous amounts. The average person consumes between 10-200lbs sugar and processed carbohydrates per year. That breaks down to roughly 25-35 % of their diet. Studies show every teaspoon of sugar depresses the immune system for up to 6 hours. Yet we as a country are consuming 22 teaspoons per day on average! We are basically killing ourselves slowly with sugar.
 
Let us look at how sugar affects our body when we consume it in abundance over time. First our body attempts to store it in our liver. Once the liver stores are full, the body converts it to fatty acids. These fatty acids are sent all over the body, but generally in areas like the hips, thighs, abdominals, and breast. Once the storage in these areas fill, the fatty acids start to store in active organs like the heart and kidneys. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the big picture is much deeper than being unable to fit in your favorite pair of jeans. We are literally talking about life and death when it comes to are food choices.
 
Well some of you may think fine I will use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. I really hope not. These are even more damaging to your body! Saccharin better known as Sweet & Low is proven to cause cancer. The ingredient to Sweet & Low was band in the early century and up until the year 2000 came with a warning label. If you have this please throw it out!  Aspartame better known as Nutra Sweet, when heated above 86 degrees converts into formaldehyde. This is important to know if you’re using Nutra Sweet products since the human body is at 98.6 degrees! While I want to give you the names of a few killer products, I would also like to shed some light on some healthy alternatives to sweeteners. Some natural sweeteners that you can use are Xylitol and Stevia.
 
Let’s change our focus to becoming proactive. How much added sugar should we consume in a day? The average that the medical field recommends is 32 grams per day for women and 40 grams per day for men. One can of soda contains around 40 grams of sugar alone. How many of us stop at only one can? I wouldn’t think many. I always tell my clients the first step to weight loss and health is not to drink your calories! You can cut grams of sugar and empty calories by simply drinking water.
 
It’s time for us to get back to eating real food. Some may ask what is considered real food? If it grew out of the ground, came from an animal that ate only things that grew out of  the ground, it qualifies as real food. Technology is booming while health is declining. Science can’t take the place of good old fashion agriculture. Child obesity and diabetes is at an all time high. Today’s generation of youth may be the first with a shorter life expectancy then their parents. So search your cabinets and evaluate your choices. I hope I have helped you discover the Unsweet Truth. Remember your health is your greatest wealth!
 
Walter Crockett, Jr. is a Certified Personal Trainer at the Sparrow Michigan Athletic Club.  Walter has experience in general fitness, sports performance and rehabilitation.  He can be contacted at 517-364-8888 or emailed at wcrockett@themac.org.
 
This was printed in the May 5, 2013 - May 18, 2013 Edition
 

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