Q. Are you addicted to sugar? – Part One.
A. If you’re conscious about your health, you’ve more than likely taken up exercise and watch what you eat. If you’re like most Americans, you’ve shunned fat, carbs, and salt; but what you may not know is that sugar is the one you should be focusing on. When people think of consuming too much sugar, the first thing they think of (aside from the pleasure derived from eating it) is diabetes. The second thought that crosses people’s minds is that they cannot get diabetes because _____ (you fill in the blank).
Common examples are: “I’m too young”, “I exercise”, “no one in my family has diabetes”, and so on. None of these are logical reasons to consume excess amounts of sugar. Even moderate amounts may be too much for some people. Paula Deen’s high consumption of sweet tea contributed to her developing Type 2 diabetes; in fact, consuming sweetened beverages like sweet tea, smoothies, fruit juices, Gatorades, etc. is one of the easiest ways to increase sugar consumption (and is also one of the easiest ways to cut your risk by eliminating or minimizing them from your diet). Drinking too much sugary drinks leads to weight gain, which increases your risk for diabetes; sweetened beverages lead to a rush of sugar into the body which overworks the pancreas, leading to insulin resistance and inflammation over time.
Did you know that sugar can also lead to acne? Studies have shown that ingesting highly refined sugars (i.e. processed) causes huge spikes in blood sugar levels; this leads to inflammation, which in turn increases sebum (oil) production and voila! Acne. Foods low on the glycemic index, however, decrease a sugar spike and keep inflammation levels down.
Sugar is also noted to increase your risk for heart disease; the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that those who ingested 17.5 percent of their calories from sugar increased their triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), which became stored in fat cells. In this same study those with high triglycerides were three times as likely to also have low HDL cholesterol (the healthy kind). Both of these factors lead to arteriosclerosis—AKA hardening of the arteries. This increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
The effects of sugar are so detrimental, that the American Heart Association put limits on how much of the sweet stuff we should eat; according to the AHA, men should consume no more than nine teaspoons a day, and women, no more than six. There is so much more to be said about sugar that I am extending this article to the following edition. If you have any questions in the meantime, email me at [email protected]
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@ PinkIslandFitness.com. She can also be reached at www.PinkIslandFitness.com or www.101FIT.com and (239) 333-5771.