Sugar ~ the New Fat | Nutrition and Personal Training in Kirkland

As obesity in the U.S. continues to climb with each passing year, a new villain has emerged.  And that bad boy is sugar!  For years fat was the bad guy. As a nation we were told to eliminate it from our diets. Of course, the food industry followed suit with low fat or no fat products across the board.  Then the startling evidence rolled in:  somehow, even eating a low fat or fat free diet, our nation was STILL becoming the fattest one on the planet!!  Evidence now clearly points to the fact that fat is not the culprit in obesity and diabetes.  Sugar is the real problem, causing inflammation which is the pre-cursor to all disease.

The stats are in, and Americans eat a whopping 60# of sugar annually, per person, with the UK right behind, at 61# per year.  Per person, we consume more than 22 t. a day ~ that’s approximately 355 calories a day of unneeded sugar added to our diets. 

Sugar coming into our bodies as a complete food (fruits/vegetables) is not the problem, as these foods come accompanied by vitamins and minerals that assist in absorption.  Sugar that is added to processed food, baking in your home, or sprinkled on foods at the dining room table is the culprit.  Eating sugar in this form strips nutrients from the body, disrupts hormone balance, and raises cortisol levels, causing deficiencies and disease.   

Sugar provides fuel (ie: calories) but provides NO other nutritional value, hence the new term ‘anti-nutrient’.  

An apt quote regarding the consumption of processed food containing sugar comes from Jo Rustin, an Energy Coach: “When you’re tired, fat, and depressed, how convenient is your convenience food then?!”  Jo is a firm believer in having people look at exactly where they are, at that moment in time ☺

Eating too much sugar is linked to:

High triglycerides and low HDL (the good cholesterol)



Heart disease

Depression, as sugar draws heavily on the B-vitamins

Tooth decay

Most sugar in our diet comes from soft drinks, other beverages, candy, baked goods and ice cream.  They also lurk in places you’d never suspect, such as dairy products (your yogurt??), canned fruits, fruit drinks and cereals.  

New recommendations for sugar, on a daily basis:  No more than 100 calories a day for women, and 150 calories for men.

The food industry is very sneaky, ‘hiding’ sugar under many different names, in order to get it into processed foods to make it more saleable. Why?  Because sugar tastes good, making any given food, especially something highly processed, much more palatable.  Once you’ve identified the foods with hidden sugars look for substitutes that are more healthful.  Many of the sugars listed below place an undue burden on the liver. 

Here’s what to look for when reading labels:

Cane juice or syrup

High fructose corn syrup

Dextrose, fructose, or glucose

Lactose or maltose


Fruit juice concentrate

Agave nectar 

Alternatives to added processed sugars:

Whole fruits of all kinds

Baking with pumpkin, sweet potatoes or bananas

Small amounts of dry fruit, matched with good quality fat (nuts/coconut, etc), to slow blood sugar** This is only for people whose blood sugar can tolerate it, as some are very sensitive to the extremely condensed sugar that occurs in the drying process.

Stevia or xylitol (only non GMO!)

Possibly small amounts of maple syrup or unpasteurized honey, if tolerated by the individual 

Remember:  Sugar is sugar is sugar.  Buy sugar free beverages; eat sugars of ALL sorts sparingly, knowing that your health lies in the balance!

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