Just think how our eating habits have evolved with our busy lifestyle. We shovel in a fast bite at our desk, or standing over the kitchen counter so we can quickly move on with work or run errands. We eat late at night in front of the TV, or we skip meals altogether. Then, think about our food choices. Packaged, processed convenience foods loaded with hidden salt, fat and sugar. These foods not only do a number on our waistline, they wreak havoc on our hormones!
Energy Highs and Lows
When we consume foods high in sugar (glucose), the glucose enters the bloodstream, quickly causing blood sugars to rise. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin which then causes a surge of sugars to enter the cells to either be used as energy or stored as fat for later use. Blood sugars then fall to normal or possibly just below normal levels. While this is happening, we experience a “sugar rush” of hyperactivity (all too commonly seen in kids) only to be followed by the “crash” – fatigue, drowsiness and poor concentration. Naturally, as blood sugars fall, the body works to maintain balance by causing a craving – most likely for more sugar – and the whole process starts all over again.
Sugar’s Long-Term Effects Aren’t Sweet
Most foods containing sugar, especially refined white sugar, have very little nutritional value and are often referred to as “empty” calories. Beyond this, insulin is also secreted in proportion to the amount of sugar consumed. Since insulin is the hormone that instructs the body to store energy as fat, it’s a nemesis if it becomes too high. Repeatedly eating sugar throughout the day eventually leads to chronically high insulin and ultimately to insulin resistance. When this happens weight loss becomes very difficult and there is often an increase in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, abdominal fat, breast and prostate cancer risk and more
Your Best Sweetener Options
For optimal health (and insulin levels) I recommend that you cut out or reduce your sugar intake. Sugar comes in a variety of forms and faces, including: table sugar (sucrose), rice syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, foods/drinks containing high fructose corn syrup, packaged foods, candies, soda, juice, etc., as well as sucralose, aspartame, saccharin and all other forms of artificial sweeteners. Instead reach for natural alternatives such as date paste, raisins, honey, apple sauce, coconut sap, erythritol, and stevia. Spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, or cocoa can also add flavor and sweetness to recipes.