“In countless studies, refined sugar has been blamed for hyperactivity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, severe mood swings, decreased brain function, serious digestive problems, yeast infections, obesity, and tooth decay. It depletes your body of all the B vitamins. It leaches calcium from your hair, bones, blood, and teeth, interferes with absorption of calcium, protein, and other important minerals in the body, and retards the growth of valuable intestinal bacteria. And that not all! Sugar ha a fermenting effect in your stomach. It stops the secretion of gastric juices and inhibits the mouth’s ability to digest.”
Marilu Henner, Healthy Holidays
“Americans consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 136 pounds of sugar per person, per year.” Marilu Henner, The Total Health Makeover
It IS possible to get off the sugar treadmill. You can feel more energy, cut down on gassy bloated feelings, help your complexion, your waistline and your breath, all with one simple step.
This on-line support community is here to help. Post on the message boards and let us know how we can help you eliminate refined sugar and improve your health.
(This topic is covered in depth in today’s class thread in the member’s area: http://www.marilu.com/becomemember.php)
A report from the USDA places our consumption of added sugars (ranging from table sugar to high fructose corn syrup) up 43% since the 1950′s. A large amount of that sugar is in processed, savory foods rather than desserts. It’s being added to tomato sauces, salad dressings, processed meats and many other items where you wouldn’t think to look for sugar.
The obvious detriment is to our waistlines, our energy levels, complexion etc. but sugar consumption may be affecting other areas of our lives as well. Research from Massachusetts General Hospital shows that a large dose of sugar in the bloodstream immediately lowers levels of testosterone. They gave 74 men a solution with 75 grams of glucose. After drinking that solution the men experienced up to a 25 % drop in testosterone levels. The level remained low for a full two hours.
That suggests that our diet has a measurable affect on our hormone levels. Just one more reason to be aware of how much sugar you’re consuming. You might be skipping desserts and sweets only to have the sugar sneaking in through other foods.
The labels on the food you buy can make for some interesting reading. Be a smart consumer and know what’s in your food.
At this time of year people are usually regretting the sugar they ate over the holidays beginning with the Halloween candy and continuing through the pumpkin pie and the cookies and fruitcake. (Okay maybe not fruitcake, but admit to a few extra cookies.)
Cutting back to the pre-holiday levels is a start but be aware of just how much sugar you’re consuming. If you’re reading labels you may be surprised at the places where sugar is lurking. You’ll find it in breads, tomato sauces, and many other products that don’t need to be sweet.
Retrain your palate by eliminating white sugar and replacing it with natural, whole food, sweeteners such as molasses, agave, rice syrup and Sucanat, a form of sugar cane that has NOT been processed and bleached beyond recognition the way your table sugar has been.
Artificial sweeteners carry their own health risks and are also to be avoided. And brown sugar…that’s just white sugar with a dye job.
Being aware of how much sugar is lurking in your meals is a great start towards decreasing your daily intake.
There’s a lot of sugar coming at you these days. It’s often hidden in the products you buy, places where you least expect it. At this time of year it’s also putting in a bolder appearance in cookies and cakes and that candy bowl at work.
There are a lot of good reasons for avoiding the sugar overload and your weight is only one of them. Check out this article for a reminder on why we count sugar as one of the health robbers.
Sugar is everywhere…even in places where you don’t want, or NEED, it. When you’re reaching for a snack or meal remember that you might be getting something you didn’t bargain for. A can of fruit may seem like a smart, healthy snack. After all it’s only 100 calories and isn’t that what manufacturer’s keep flashing as the magic number? (“Only 100 Calories” practically screams at you from half the packages in the snack aisle.)
And it’s FRUIT for Pete’s sake.
But if it’s packed in syrup it can contain up to 23 grams of sugar. The same holds true for some whole grain muffins. They can contain up to 29 grams of sugar. Granola can pack a wallop when it come sto sugar content so be sure to read the labels. They aren’t all unhealthy but there are plenty of granola and cereal products out there that are basically junk food masquerading as a healthy choice.
It’s not just sugar that lurks where you least expect it. Watch for things such as dairy, additives, food dyes. There are a lot of good reasons to be more aware of what you’re spending your money on.
Read your labels. You may not be as crunchy as you think you are !
And we’re not even including quitting smoking or using sunscreen daily. Check out nine more ways you can fight aging.
- Not enough sleep * If you’re up watching late night television, you’re probably not getting the 7-8 hours of sleep you need each night to help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and looking and feeling old.
- Too many sweets * Sugar not only adds pounds, it also makes your skin dull and wrinkled. Here’s the biology: There’s a natural process known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop; these damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that (British Journal of Dermatology), so limit your sugar intake.
- Stress! * Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, stress that doesn’t go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood. Try deep breathing or meditation to relax consciously.
- Sporadic exercise * It’s not just for losing weight. Research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time. Get moving for at least 20-25 minutes a day.
- Big sound * Hearing loss usually develops gradually, but the more you play that iPod at full volume, the more quickly you’ll need a hearing aid. Keep the volume as low as possible, and use noise-cancelling headphones so you’re not using the volume to fight ambient noise. Use earplugs when you’re around other loud noises, like the lawn mower.
- Setting friendships aside * Satisfying friendships predict longevity better than even close family ties, and they can protect against obesity, depression, and heart disease, among other health problems. Your friends keep you young—simple as that. Make time for friendships.
- Skipping fruits and veggies * You’ve likely heard that antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies can help you stay young. These powerful compounds fight free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your body and skin, damaging cells that can lead to cancer and make you look older. Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished, so it’s a daily deal – even better at every meal.
- Cutting the fat * Don’t cut out the fat; choose the smart fats. Stopping the artery-clogging saturated and trans fats is a heart-healthy move, and keeping the unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, is wise. Omega-3 fatty acids are the ultimate anti-aging fat, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Monounsaturated fats can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis.
- Not enough sex * It’s not just fun, sex is great for your health. People with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress. The best news: It can even make you look younger—up to 12 years, a study shows. So rekindle the romance between you and your partner.
Adapted from Prevention magazine on MSN Health
- Summer smoothie-shake * Blend your favorite fruit with Soy Delicious ice cream or Coconut Bliss ice cream or Rice Dream ice cream. Add fresh fruit garnish.
- Fresh juice * Freshly squeezed oranges or grapefruits make a great beverage, or make your own lemonade by adding agave nectar and water to freshly squeezed lemons.
- Sizzle-buster spritzers * Mix those freshly squeezed juices or pomegranate juice with sparkling mineral water for a natural spritzer bursting with flavor. Crush some ice and add fresh fruit for a slushy thirst-quenching summer taste.
- Floating dreams * Make your own natural floats using sarsaparilla or fruit-juice sweetened root beer with vanilla Soy Delicious or Rice Dream ice cream.
- Apple cider crush * Mix apple juice, apple cider, and crushed ice to make a mock (and rum-free) colonial beverage. Add some grated nutmeg and a fresh cinnamon stick for extra flavor.
- Knudsen natural spritzers * Garnish with real fruit.
- Spring water, natural or carbonated * Garnish with fresh fruits, especially raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries for a patriotic flair.
- Patriotic soy shake * Mix raspberries, blueberries, and vanilla soy ice cream (or use rice or coconut ice cream) with crushed ice in a blender and whip it up. Add some fresh fruit – and maybe a little flag on the Fourth of July or Bastille Day – to garnish.
Sugar has been blamed for conditions such as hyperactivity, diabetes, hypoglycemia, bad moods, yeast infections, obesity, and tooth decay. Sugar depletes your body of all the B vitamins. It leaches calcium from your hair, blood, bones, and teeth. It interferes with the absorption of calcium, protein, and other minerals in your body and retards the growth of valuable intestinal bacteria.
~ Marilu Henner, Healthy Life Kitchen