Shall we talk sugar, sugar?
What’s the scoop on Sugar?
Added sugar, refined sugar, natural sugar, sugar called by other names, sugar in disguise, sugar that tastes sweet, sugar that doesn’t, sugar that you’d really like to believe is not sugar because you really love eating it every day and want so badly for it not to be sugar.
There should be a half year science class in every high school that teaches the biochemistry of sugar. Why? So that when we grow up, we aren’t in denial about what we are putting into our bodies every time we eat. Not because a sweet now and then is terrible, but because sugar consumed unknowingly all day runs rampant in the body. The trouble is more serious than a few pounds of extra fat. From cardiovascular disease to diabetes, the body tells us when it isn’t pleased.
Sugar is, after all, not so very sweet or kind to us.
And that’s the thing. Food does not have to taste sweet to be sugar. Nor is it only a problem if it is added, refined, or processed. While these sugars are certainly the most potent and quick to race into the bloodstream, most people consciously avoid these sweet sugars. For many of the people you and I know, these foods are not the real concern.
It’s all the natural, whole carbohydrates – the ones that look and taste “healthy” and “not sweet” that you want to learn about – starches, whole grains, beans, and yes, even quinoa. All of these are fabulous forms of abundant and fast fuel – that you have very little use for while sitting at a desk, with no physical demand for so much fuel. All the natural good-for-you food is still made up of sugar.
No amount of resistance or disbelief will change the science.
This is where that high school science class come in. Starches are made of long, long chains of glucose molecules. “Sugar” as we think of it – is made up of glucose molecules, only less of them. Think about that a second. If sugar is a problem because it is made up of the most simple sugar – glucose – and starch contains even more glucose, then….
Let’s be clear for a moment. Starches are not “BAD” for you. Sugar is not “BAD” for you. A small amount at a time is delightful to the mouth and stimulating to the brain. The problem is when you are not using the amount you are eating, because you don’t need it. Because that’s all glucose is good for. When too much of it is racing around the bloodstream, un-used, it vandalizes and destroys. And fattens you up.
Perhaps we should remind ourselves that while we might believe we work hard, we don’t spend our entire days enduring hard physical, arduous work, in need of ongoing carbohydrate fuel. And even if we did, then fat would still be the more preferable energy source.