The Sugar Lesson
Sugar isn’t always bad. This lesson will review the advantages as well as disadvantages of the white stuff.
Topic 1: Dangers Of A Chronic High-Sugar Diet
Key points to note are, regular high sugar intake can reduce your body’s ability to handle carbohydrates, resulting in insulin sensitivity (precursor to diabetes). Insulin sensitivity increases the amount of insulin released at meals, leading to excess fat gain, this fat often stores around the love handles and upper back (back boobs).
Meanwhile, high blood sugar, caused by chronic high-sugar intake, may result in glycation (the binding of sugar molecules to blood protein), which causes decrease biological activity of proteins and has been linked to:
- Premature aging
- Altered vision, cataracts, retinopathy
- Vascular disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Kidney disease
- Joint pain and arthritis
Topic 2: The Prevalence Of Added Sugar
Adding sugar while cooking should be avoided where possible.
Be aware sugar has many names, including:
- Hydrolyzed starch
- Inverted sugar
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
- Agave nectar
- Sugar beets
- High-fructose corn sweetener
- Maple sugar
Foods containing less than 5 g of sugar per every 100g are considered “low-sugar”, although you should be looking for foods as close to 0 g where possible.
Food manufacturers add sugar to many foods that you would not expect (frozen fruits, bread, dressings, sauces, and more). Be sure to read food labels with a critical eye. Sometimes fruit concentrates and purees are also used to sweeten.
Topic 3: The Sugar Content Of Common Foods
Here are a few that may shock you!
Sugar content of common foods
|2 slices of white bread||3 tsp|
|1 bowl of cereal||4-5 tsp|
|1 bagel||4-5 tsp|
|½ cup dried fruit||4 tsp|
|½ cup fruit juice||3-4 tsp|
|1 can of soft drink||9 tsp|
|1 cup of chocolate milk||6 tsp|
|1 bowl of ice cream||23 tsp|
Now let’s look at an average day
|Sugar intake in an average day of the British Diet|
|Meal||Foods Eaten||Sugar Content (teaspoons)|
|Breakfast||1.5 cups cereal, milk , OJ||10|
|Snack||2 pastries and soft drink||15|
|Lunch||Sandwich, snack bar, fruit juice||7|
|Snack||Dried fruit, sports drink||7|
|Dinner||Pork chops, potato, salad with dressing, 2 cookies||6|
|Total for the day||45 tsp (180 g)|
Ok, now review your diet for yesterday. Where could you reduce your sugar intake? If you want to lose weight you should aim for below 10 teaspoons (40 g) per day.
Topic 4: Sugar During And After Exercise
As long as sugar in your other meals is kept to a minimum, small amounts of sugar can be beneficial. Carbohydrate tolerance is enhanced during and straight after exercise, so they are handled by the body differently to other times of day.
That said if weight loss is your goal even these sugars should be minimized.
If your goal is muscle gain or performance you can include your sugars in and around training sessions.