Everyone is well aware that sugar is not good for us, and that in general we eat too much of it. With all of the knowledge about sugar, I still find that we as a society have a lot of stereotypes about sugar. Things like…
“Well, I know I eat too much sugar, but I am not overweight so it is okay”.
“I can’t completely take all of the junk out of my house. The kids like it, and they are active and can burn it off”
“I can’t eat sugar, but my husband is fine and can eat anything he wants without gaining a pound”
In 2014 the American Journal of Nutrition posted a meta analysis of randomized control trials that examined the effects of sugars on blood pressure and lipids (cholesterol). The results from this meta-analysis showed that high sugar diets increased triglyceride, total cholesterol, LDL and blood pressure. At this point you are probably saying…this is old news. What is interesting is that results are independent of the relation of sugar’s effect on body weight. Meaning that regardless of whether or not your high sugar diet is making you fat, it is making you sick…
I think there are a number of explanations for this. My first thought would be that these individuals probably have an increased proportion of body fat to lean muscle tissue even if their body weight is normal. We call these “skinny/fat” people. They look average weight, and measure average weight but when you analyse their body composition they have increased body fat. Body fat, especially around the middle is inflammatory and can cause imbalances that are related to increased lipid levels.
Secondly is that we know that sugar consumption changes the microbiome. This is a collection of trillions of bacteria that inhabit our intestines. The negative changes to the microbiome brought on by too much sugar can change our DNA and lead to the expression of genes that increase inflammation. Inflammation is a key player in coronary artery disease, increased blood pressure and cholesterol.
The key message is that sugar is detrimental to everyone…young, old, normal weight or overweight.
According to the Stats Canada the average Canadian consumes 22 tsp of added sugar per day, about triple the recommended amount.
Adults should be aiming for 6-9tsp/day (25-37.5g)
A great experiment to see the reality of how much added sugar you are consuming is to track your diet for a day. Myfitnesspal.com is a great online app that you can track for free. Enter everything you eat and then see how many grams of sugar you consume in a day. Don’t forget that sauces, condiments, bread and salad dressings all have added sugar so it can add up fast!!
There are no legitimate rationalizations when it comes to sugar. Consistent intake over the recommended daily amount is not good for anybody!!
If you are having trouble getting off sugar, or with sugar cravings come and talk to us. Balancing out your diet, and increasing proteins and fats can help to control these. If that is not enough, additional supports like glutamine, carnosine, 5HTP, stress management or fibre have also been shown to be effective in controlling the urge!!