Oct 12, 2010

BEWARE: Hidden Sugar Everywhere

There are sugars hidden in plain sight in a majority of prepackaged foods.  Even those you wouldn't suspect, like whole wheat bread, or chips or pasta sauces.  You may be getting a lot more refined sugar in your diet than you would have ever imagined.  You don't have to eat a candy bar to get a large helping of sugar. Our bodies were not made to use the massive amounts of refined carbohydrate that this generation consumes.  This is largely the reason for the unusual type 2 diabetes (adult onset) in children and young adults.  
I watch in horror as other parents give their kids a "homemade" and "nutritious" lunch that is mostly sugar.  They think they are being such responsible parents when in reality they are just ignorant to what is really in that food.  It's not their fault entirely, they have been mislead by food companies. 
Big fast food restaurants claim to have better choices, but I see hidden sugar and fat, like in the huge packages of salad dressing, or the caramel dip for apple slices.  Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health and preventing disease.  Be aware of what you eat and what you are feeding your children and family.  Read labels and know what you are looking for.  Here are some of the basics in sugar-ology.

There are about 4.2 grams per teaspoon of sugar
There is one gram of carbohydrate in one gram of sugar
To maintain healthy blood glucose levels for the average person, you should not eat more than 30-45 grams of carbohydrates in a meal.

A popular fast food restaurant serves apples and milk on the side of a hamburger as a more healthy alternative to fries and soda.  The apples come with a caramel dip and the milk is chocolate.  The entire meal consists of 43 grams of sugar...  that is over 10 teaspoons of sugar and over 80 grams of carbohydrates.

Lets compare this to the diligent mom who sent a lunch to school-

Peanut butter and Jelly sandwich, juice box, chips and fruit roll up.  55 Grams of sugar.  That is over 12.6 teaspoons of sugar. That is over 2.6 times the amount of carbohydrate an adult should eat in one meal, 118 grams!

When we are children all of our organs work very well.  Our bodies have no problems tackling the high amounts of sugar we feed our kids. But as we age, we wear out our organs and our cells don't repair quite as fast.  The super high amounts of sugar we eat can break down our pancreas, which handles blood sugar levels. The body needs sugar but not huge surges of refined sugars.  We are creating a diabetic atmosphere in a person that does not have diabetes.  People with diabetes cannot create enough insulin for their body to handle all of the sugar they eat, their blood sugar can get very high and stay very high.  Having constantly high blood sugar causes heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, kidney damage and more.

The best way to avoid a lot of sugar is to make your own meals, and stay away from prepackaged foods.  They are always loaded up with excess sugar.  Stay away from refined flours as well.  Refined flours may not taste like sugar but they might as well be since they are quickly converted to sugar in our bodies.  Also stay away from white rice, and other high carbohydrate foods, that are not also full of protein or fiber.   When carbohydrates and sugars are bound in natural form to the fiber in fruits and vegetables they take our body much longer to convert them to sugars.  This slow process keeps our bodies from receiving a huge surge of sugar in the blood.  Read labels and be aware of what you are feeding your children and putting in your own mouth!

Oh, and please DONT replace sugar with chemical sweeteners!  Replace them with fruit!

 Just for fun: Frightening ad by sugar companies, when artificial sugars first came on the market.  


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