[Don’t] Pour Some Sugar on Me!

Generally speaking when discussing food and nutrition you will hear that the more simple you can make things the better. This makes total sense when referring to things like picking the ingredients for a banana bread recipe or looking at the ingredients on the back of a box. But sometimes simple is not always best.

What is a Carbohydrate?

Simply put, a carbohydrate is an energy source from your food that comes from starch, cellulose and sugar. Carbs are a necessary part of your diet as they assist in providing fuel for both your body and your brain. Without carbs your body will begin to look for energy sources elsewhere (fat and protein reserves) This process is called Ketosis and is the basis for diets such as the Atkins diet or a Ketogenic diet. The basis of these diets (or fasts) is to deprive your body of carbohydrates which will force you into pulling from fat reserves and voila, you’re thin!

However there’s a reason why these diets have proven to be problematic over the years. First and most importantly is that they do not set you up to have a long and healthy life. They are not teaching lifestyle changes, they are quick fixes to problems that will eventually come back up again. As an example, starving yourself from carbs will inevitably cause cravings. A craving is just a guilt word that we use when your body is in need of some form of nutrition. Do you have sugar cravings? Changes are you don’t need sugar, you need a healthy source of fuel (aka complex carbhydrates).

Secondly, when you deprive yourself of necessary nutrition your bodies natural reaction will be to slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down because your body thinks you are starving and instinctively holds onto food because it doesn’t know when the next nutrient rich meal will be. If you lower your metabolism on a Ketonic diet and then return to life as normal chances are you will gain a lot of weight, and fast! Other health problems of these types of diets include high cholesterol as they encourage higher fat intake for fuel. The problem with that is that most people do not get their fat from healthy sources.

Lastly and most simply you are malnourishing your body. Fat, protein, carbs, sugars, starches, trans fats, cholesterol, etc, etc. Your body needs it all. The goal is not to deprive but to find healthy substitutes, get them from the best sources possible, and listen to your body. Your body knows better than anyone!

What is a Complex Carbohydrate?

Simply put 🤓, a complex carbohydrate is a natural food source that is comprised of a long chain of simple carbs (three or more) linked together. Complex carbs contain things like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber. Because there is lots for your body to breakdown your will not experience a sudden spike in blood sugar rather a more sustained or continuous energy level through the day. Additionally, you are feeding your body essential vitamins and minerals which aid your body to perform optimally! You could eat all the kale in the world but if you are not absorbing the nutrients effectively then you will not be as healthy as you could be, also you’ll have a pretty dull diet!

Some good sources of complex carbohydrate foods are:

  • Eggs
  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • All vegetables
  • Whole grains (whole grain rice, oats, barley, quinoa)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Guacamole
  • Vegetable tapenades
  • Pickles (unsweetened)
  • Olives

What is a Simple Carbohydrate?

A simple carbohydrate is a food with only a few sugar molecules linked together.  Simple sugars are present in both natural and processed foods. Natural foods that contain simple sugars are fruits, vegetables and milk. However, these foods still contain vitamins and minerals which still makes them much better for you. Because these foods are simple carbohydrates they will give you a quick spike in energy.

Some good sources of simple sugars are:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Graefruit
  • Lemons
  • Honey
  • Unsweetened Yogurt

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The issue with simple carbohydrates is when they are used in processed foods. Specifically when the sugars are chemically extracted from their original food source and used as sweeteners or masking agents in food. Because these foods do not contain much if any nutritional value they are often referred to as ’empty calories’ as they provide your body with nothing more than calories. The source of sugar for these foods comes from high fructose corn syrup which has been showing to be very bad for you

High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a compound called High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. High Fructose Corn Syrup also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form.

Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in the U.S is a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of high fructose corn syrup lead to many health issues, some of which are very serious and irreversible.

Some sources of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Sweetened Yogurt
  • Salad Dressing
  • Frozen Junk Foods
  • Breads
  • Canned Fruit
  • Juice
  • Granola Bars
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Sauces and Condiments
  • Jam and Jellies
  • Ice Cream

With Purpose

T & C

 

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8 Comments on “[Don’t] Pour Some Sugar on Me!

  1. Such confusion around food. So many with a carb craving diet…it is a balance when we eat. I love this:
    “when you deprive yourself of necessary nutrition your bodies natural reaction will be to slow down your metabolism. Your metabolism slows down because your body thinks you are starving and instinctively holds onto food because it doesn’t know when the next nutrient-rich meal will be.”
    Having a fitness business so many people starve to diet, deplete to diet and then they die-ing-t while doing all of this!
    Protein, Veggies, Fruit and yes great grains….too much sugar addiction going on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find eating low GI works really well for me so I tend to try to avoid white, processed carbs. I’m also now eating a high carb low, fat vegan diet as well so I’ll see how I get on with that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. this is a great post for learning something about food. something i do need to do is eat healthier but i love my carbs and sugar! i think it might be because of my job description..

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are carbs in all goods, more carbs in a carrot than people realize. But yes, you are a baker. And many a baked good can be made without refined sugars, but I imagine it’s so much easier to use them. Everything in moderation, but the point is refined sugar is in everything, so we’re just here to educate.

      Like

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