SUGAR: Too Much of a Good Thing!

Coke and Sugar Cube ImageOkay, let’s get this out-of-the-way… We all love sugar. We love how it makes everything taste yummy. We love the feeling we get when we eat it (i.e. chocolate). But, like the old adage says “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”  Sugar is a good thing if consumed in moderation. However, the problem is that sugar is a key component of just about every food you can think of.  We are bombarded with products that are full of sugar. The major sources of added sugars are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks; dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); salad dressings; catsup and steak sauces; canned soups; bread and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

So, how much sugar is considered “moderation?”  The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume daily to the following:

  • For most American women:   6 teaspoons (30 grams) of sugar – PER DAY
  • For most American men:        9 teaspoons (45 grams) of sugar – PER DAY

How does this relate to you? Let’s assume you are a woman:

If you drank one 12oz can of Coke or Pepsi today; you just consumed 7.8 teaspoons (39g) of sugar and exceeded your recommended daily allowance of sugar by 30%.

Coke and Sugar ImageIf you drank one 20oz can of Coke or Pepsi today; you just consumed 16 teaspoons (80g) of sugar and exceeded your recommended daily allowance of sugar by 160%.

Coke and Sugar Cube Image 2Think about it. This doesn’t include the sugar you put in your coffee or tea at breakfast; the sugar that was in that breakfast bar, yogurt, and apple juice; etc., etc. You get the point.  You are consuming sugar all day long. Sugar, regardless of the source or whether it is naturally occurring or not, is processed as sugar in the body.

What does that mean, you ask. According to Dr. John Salerno, in his new book, The Salerno Solution: An Ounce of Prevention, a Lifetime of Health, “Eating carbohydrates quickly raises blood sugar (glucose), prompting the release of insulin to transport the glucose not immediately needed for energy, to the cells. If there is more glucose than you need, the remainder is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, and converted to fat.” Got that… if there is more glucose (blood sugar) than you need, its converted to FAT, FAT, FAT.

Obviously, excess sugar consumption is going to make you fat; but do you know that refined sugar has absolutely NO nutritional value: NO vitamins, NO minerals, NO enzymes, NO fiber; and even worse, refined sugar is linked to these health issues: Obesity, Diabetes, High cholesterol, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Headaches, Fatigue, Nervous Tension, Acne, Skin Irritation, Stiffening of Arteries, Violent Behavior, and more.

Common sense tells us that we shouldn’t be consuming mass quantities of sugar. Yet, if you look around you every day, you will see people drinking soft drinks, Big Gulps, lattes, and fruit juices and munching on cookies, cakes, and candy all day long.  Even worse, these same people are allowing their children to do the same. It’s no wonder we have an obesity problem in this country; not to mention the broad range of health issues we have. The food industry knows we have a sweet tooth, so they use sugar (in whatever form or name) to accommodate that need and encourage consumption of their product, regardless of the impact on your health.

The purpose of this blog is to share some critical information about sugar and to make you aware of the impact that sugar has on your daily life and your long-term health. I am not a doctor or a scientist, but I do have intellectual curiosity and common sense. So, my recommendation is to become more aware of how much sugar you consume on a daily basis, which is hard because the food industry hides this information in many ways. But you can pay attention and control the amount of sugar you add yourself.

So, the next time you (or your child) are thirsty and you reach for a Coke/Pepsi — stop, remember this blog — and drink water instead! Making this one change may change you or your children’s health for a lifetime.

Note: Sugar has many other names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates.

[Sources used for this blog are readily available in the public domain]

Get Off Your Butt and Save Your Life

The Truth about Sitting DownOkay, people, this is your wake up call. Sitting on your butt is killing you!

While the advent of PC’s, internet, awesome TV’s, and video games has been great, it also gives us more reasons to sit on our butt more (as if we needed more reasons).  By the time we count the work-related hours spent sitting at a desk and/or in front of a computer and our recreational-related hours spent sitting playing video games, watching television, or surfing the internet, it gets alarming.

According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Adults who log over 4 hours per day in sitting in front of a computer or television have:

  •  A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
  • About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack

How Sitting Wrecks Your Body-large

Yes, we have moved to a more sedentary lifestyle over the past 50-100 years. I am a prime example of being a victim of this lifestyle:

  • I drive 1 hour+ each morning to get to work
  • I work 9-10 hours each day, sitting at a computer, in meetings, etc.
  • I drive 1 hour+ each evening to get home
  • I sit down to eat, watch TV, blog, surf the internet, etc
  • I go to bed

So, during the work week, I am literally sitting, in some form or fashion, for 16+ hours per day, 5 days a week (80+ hours). Hmmm. Not a very active lifestyle. However, I am health conscious and make a point of getting off my butt throughout the day to keep the blood flowing by walking laps in the hallway around the inside of our building several times a day, walking with my wife after I get home, etc.  Even, worse, this has been my routine for the last 20 years…

I am a poster child for sitting too much. True to the Mayo Clinic opinion above, I became overweight (not obese); flirted with high blood pressure; had excess body fat around the waist; and fought high cholesterol levels for years. And yes, I’ve had cancer.

Was all this caused by sitting too much? I don’t know, but I’m sure it contributed to it. Fortunately, I did become health conscious and started eating right, exercising more, and taking better care of myself.

Jabba the Hut

So, if you want to live longer; and not look like this guy…

GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND SAVE YOUR LIFE!

Sources: Mayo Clinic, MedicalBillingandCoding.org (images)