Best Friend Handbook: Sugar Is Like The Devil
My friend Katherine Stuart writes a wonderful blog,”Best Friend Handbook,” everything from fashion and beauty tips to nutrition and recipes – including recipes for success. In one of her latest blogs, Katherine talks about sugar, the latest bad actor in world of health and wellness, up there for really bad juju with cigarettes and sitting too long. And if Katherine does not scare you away from sugar (and most salad dressings), in his column, To Your Health, Dr. Alan Safdi describes the correlation between sugar and Alzheimer’s Disease. (Post here.)
Sugar is like the devil — tempting me with its yummy sweetness while secretly giving me wrinkles, making me fat and hurting my heart. Yep, that’s right: sugar is bad for your health. And I don’t mean a little bad for your health. I mean, really bad for your health. Now, before you panic and swear off cupcakes forever (not happening), the key with sugar, like everything in life, is balance. According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adults who ate more than 15% of their daily calories in the form of sugar had a much higher risk of cardiovascular disease. So, to avoid a heart attack, they recommend limiting your sugar intake to about 18 teaspoons a day. Of course, most doctors and the World Health Organization put that limit at 6 teaspoons… which is hard.
Part of the problem is that sugar is everywhere — in salad dressings, packaged breads and yogurt. So, what’s a girl to do? Before you get overwhelmed and go back to bed, let’s first break down why sugar is bad for your health, and a couple of simple ways to avoid eating too much of it.
Why is Sugar Bad for Your Health?
The main reason that sugar is bad for your health (and there are many) is that the liver, which processes sugar and converts it into energy, takes any that’s left over and turns it into fat in the form of triglycerides. This then causes your good cholesterol or HDL to drop. It’s a one-two punch that’s like lighting the fuse to the bomb of heart disease. It also makes us fat, increases our risk of type 2 diabetes, and breaks down the collagen in our skin. Collagen is the foundation of our face. When it gets weak, the result is wrinkles and sagging skin. If you don’t believe me, take a picture of your face first thing in the morning after a night of booze and dessert. Then take a photo after a night of delicious veggies, lean protein and lots of water. You’ll be astounded by the difference.
Sugar is Addictive
My brother is a recovering addict and he will be the first one to tell you that sugar is addictive. Turns out, he’s right. Eating sugar releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. This makes us happy. Which makes us want more. However, as the dopamine receptor neurons become overstimulated, the number of receptors that they bind to decreases and BOOM — it suddenly takes way more dopamine to get the same high. So, we eat more and more sugar, but feel less and less satisfied. Which sucks. At the same time, all that sugar spikes the glucose level on our bloodstream giving us a blast of energy. Which can be great for getting stuff done, but then we crash. And feel worse so… you guessed it, we want more sugar. And the cycle continues.
How to Avoid Excess Sugar?…
More about Katherine Stuart:
Katherine is a former movie executive and screenwriter who now runs her own content company, Content by Katherine. Her blog, the Best Friend Handbook, was born out of a desire to help other women feel better about themselves. As a lifelong best friend, fashion aficionado, former Pilates instructor, and amateur cook as well as the person that everyone comes to for advice, Katherine decided to take her opinions global, and create a virtual best friend. You know, someone who loves you no matter what. Who never judges you for eating, say, a quart of ice cream, always knows the best recipe for an impromptu dinner party and who can tell you exactly which eye cream will make you look like less of a hag the morning after one glass too many.
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