Sugar, why are you so delicious?

Probably the worst news of anyone’s life is hearing that sugar is terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad. It saddens me daily. Sugar is the definition of, “empty calories.” Sugar provides 0 (yes 0!) nutritional value. We eat sugar (I’m not talking about the sugar in fruit here), and our body immediately sends it to our livers and turns it into fat. That fat can build up in the liver, and can cause fatty liver disease. Let’s not forget that with increased sugar intake comes insulin resistance, which can cause obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.

Here’s the really crazy thing: Our bodies were created to gorge on sugar (fructose) when we can get it. Back in the caveman days, sugar was very hard to come by. So, when it was found we would consume as much as possible, to store those calories for later, to be used when under Raptor attack. When you consume fructose, your brain does not get the message that you are full and satisfied. This is why you can drink a whole bottle of soda, or several glasses of juice and still feel hungry. Imagine eating 16 ounces of yogurt or peanut butter. Probably not going to happen.

So, should you quit sugar? I’m not going to! I can’t face living without candy corn and Cadbury Creme Eggs. But, here’s what I do….99% of the time I say, “no,” to white sugar. That’s the sugar found in processed foods, commercial baked goods, and almost everything you buy that’s prepared outside of your home. The 1% of the time is when someone has been kind enough to make me a gluten free dessert, or I’m in NYC at Risotteria and EVERYTHING is g-free, and I want that black and white cookie! I use coconut palm sugar. Yes, it is still sugar and should be used sparingly, but coconut palm sugar is low on the glycemic index and contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Other alternatives that I like are: pure Stevia, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, unsulfured blackstrap molasses, honey, and Golden syrup. If I want something sweet, I make it myself. I know that this can be hard…sometimes it’s necessary to eat a whole bag of candy, get a terrible stomach ache, and then remember why this behavior is not smart. Or maybe I’m the only one who does that…

I have decided that October will be “no white sugar month” for me. I urge you to join me. If you do nothing else, stop drinking your sugar! Juice is just awful…I don’t understand it, and please stop giving it to your children. A glass of apple juice contains 9.8 teaspoons of sugar. Soda? Really? Still? One can of Coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar (yup, just about as much as fruit juice). If you want soda, buy Zevia. I have to order it from Amazon, but you lucky America-dwellers can buy it everywhere. Zevia is sweetened with Stevia, it’s organic, and it uses no artificial colors. Zevia comes in all of your favorite flavors, too.

Enjoy what you’re hard-wired for, but be smarter about it.

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