Thursday, October 31, 2013

That Sugary Treat is a Trick

Sugar is bad for me, you, your kids, your neighbors' kids, everybody. You don't need me to tell you this. But I am reminding you of this, especially today on Halloween, because I want you to make informed choices. Keep reading to find out why it's bad for us and to learn how to reduce sugar in your diet.
When you eat sugary things like candy and snacks or savory things made with refined or simple carbs (white potatoes, white pasta, white rice, white bread), your body breaks it down into something it can understand and use- glucose, a source for energy.

Your pancreas responds to glucose by creating insulin. Insulin moves the glucose into cells to be used as fuel. Good job, insulin!

The downside is if you've popped a ton of candy corn into your face, you've got way more glucose than your cells need. The insulin then just turns the extra glucose into fat so you can use it later.

Fat is your body's way of carrying around a doggie bag. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, you'll probably never have an emergency where you need those leftovers.

If you're like most people in America, you get more than enough to eat, including lots of glucosey goodness. I can't blame you. Most of what is available for us to eat is high in sugar but low in nutrients, so of course you are hungry and eating a lot.

When you eat lots of sugar, your body must continually produce enough insulin to deal with the glucose you assault it with. Over time, this can exhaust your poor pancreas. Even worse, your body may become insulin resistant which means the sugar isn't getting out of your blood stream. Insulin resistance can make it hard to burn fat. It can also lead to obesity, diabetes, and many more dangerous health problems.

Here are some tips for limiting your sugar intake on Halloween and the candy-filled days that follow:
  • Don't go trick-or-treating. (Duh!)
  • Hand out crayons, stickers, or other inedible fun things to kids. Good for them and good for you because you won't have leftover candy.
  • Increase the sweet (orange) vegetables in your diet. Carrots, squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are great treats that can be included in every meal. I even like adding shredded carrots and roasted or steamed squash to my warm breakfast cereal.
  • Enjoy low glycemic (low sugar) seasonal fruits like crisp apples and pears. Bring some to work as a snack that way co-workers can't temp you with the leftover candy they're trying to get rid of.
  • Cinnamon is my secret weapon for soothing my sweet tooth. It makes everything taste sweeter without additional sugar. Other spices that are helpful are coriander, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg.

References and suggested reading: Kris Carr's Guide to Sugars and 20 Tips to Curb Sugar Cravings

What's one strategy you'd like to use to reduce the amount of sugar you eat this week?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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  1. hi olivia...this is perfect for today. my stepson is so bummed tonight, and i think this post will shed some light on not needing that sugar anymore in his growing body!

  2. Oh great! Yeah, I think I heard a million times that sugar wasn't good for me, but I didn't really get it and take action until I learned how it actually affected my body in detail. And really, it's something I need to remind myself of a few times a day because I LOVE SUGAR!!! I only wish it loved me back!



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