The Okay: Sugar in the form of glucose is a necessity as it fuels brain function and is stored in the muscles as glycogen which provides energy for high intensity exercise.
Good forms of sugar:
- Complex carbohydrates: starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, squash
- Fruit in moderation
The Bad: Too much sugar, even from healthy foods like potatoes, rice, and fruit is TOO MUCH! EVERYTHING in moderation. Fruit is full of antioxidants to help fight free radicals and provides vitamins and minerals, but it’s primarily fructose- a form of sugar that is stored in the liver as a “last reserve.” Only small amounts are needed to stock the liver’s glycogen stores. Anything extra winds up as body fat. Enjoy 1-3 servings of fruit per day, preferably low glycemic like berries, apples, grapefruits, and plums.
The Ugly: Beware of added sugars. Sadly, it’s many items, primarily PROCESSED FOOD- barbecue sauce, ketchup, cereals, yogurts, granola bars, cereals, and “low-fat” items. Simply, companies just replaced the fat with sugar, which is even worse than the natural fat that existed in the first place!
Too much sugar, primarily in the form of fructose and man made high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) raises insulin levels. Insulin is released from the pancreas to help shuttle the sugar into your cells for energy. When there’s an excess of sugar in the body, more insulin is released. The cells, muscle, and liver stores are full so they say ‘NO MORE!” Over time, the cells become insulin resistant and don’t respond to insulin’s effects. Insulin resistance is the cause of metabolic syndrome, linked to heart disease and diabetes. Insulin resistance goes hand and hand with leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite and tells you when you’re full. When insulin is constantly spiked leptin is unable to get the message across that you can stop eating, hence you eat more and more!
Some Sad Sugar Stats:
According to the American Diabetes Association:
29.1 million Americans had diabetes (2012).
208,000 Americans under age 20 have diabetes
Annual costs of diabetes in the US in 2012: $245 billion!
WHAT ABOUT FAKE SUGAR?
Zero calorie sweeteners such as aspartame (Splenda, Nutrasweet, Equal), saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame are hazardous to your health. They are linked to cancer and many neurological diseases. Common side effects include headaches, dizziness, increased hunger, and gastrointestinal issues. Artificial sweeteners trick your brain into thinking you’re getting sugar. Dopamine is released as your brain and body gets excited. You begin to release insulin, which leads to cravings and you end up eating more!
2. REFINED GRAINS:
The USDA has placed grains at the base of the food pyramid, but modern science is proving that they’ve got it all wrong. Grains, especially refined grains like white flour, pastries, and processed snack foods like cookies and crackers are nutritionally void. Grains are inflammatory and are linked to a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome,” which breaks down the intestinal wall and allows food particles to travel into the bloodstream to stir up trouble like autoimmune diseases and allergies. Even so-called “healthy whole grains,” are not all they are cracked up to be.
Grains are SUGAR. An excess of sugar in your system= decreased fat burning potential. Get necessary carbs from vegetable sources.
I recommend avoiding or at least limiting ALL grains for at least the next 2 weeks to see how you feel.
For more info about the ill effects of grains check out this blog post from Dr. Amy Myers http://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/03/24/the-problem-with-grains-and-legumes/
For additional reading check out:
Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter
Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
REFINED OILS: TOXIC
Many oils such as canola, soy, vegetable, corn oil, margarine, and hydrogenated oils are contaminated and genetically modified. They are downright TOXIC!
The process of heating the oils at such high temperatures causes them to turn into trans fats, which leads to oxidation. Oxidation creates free radicals that damage our cells, cause inflammation, and are linked to cancer. Bottom line, most people are getting too many Omega-6 fatty acids (inflammatory) and not enough Omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory). Lack of balance = DIS-EASE in the body. See chart for approved oils.
OILS TO AVOID:
Soybean, vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, margarine
HEALTHY OILS TO EAT:
Unrefined olive and coconut oil, grass-fed butter
Another one to BEWARE of:
To keep this simple, milk is the nutritious formula for babies, but not necessarily good for grown adults.
Let's think of this another way- does a grown cow drink the milk of another cow after the weening stage? Cow's milk is to nourish a growing calf; not a human.
Not all milk is created equal.
1. Milks may contain growth hormones
2. Pasteurization kills enzymes and denatures proteins making milk nutritionally void and difficult to digest.
If you choose to do dairy your best bet is low pasteurized dairy products and raw milk, which you can SOMETIMES find at the farmer's market.