Want a date?
If so, have just one, following a nutritious meal. The context of a healthy meal and the date's fibrous nature will reduce the impact it has on your body sugar levels.
Apart from the larger context of your meal, metabolism of sugar depends on your fitness and nutritional habits, stress levels, ripeness of the fruits you eat, and the processing and cooking methods (ex.: overcooking or undercooking).
Dates, unfortunately, do have a high Glycemic Index (GI, which tells us how fast the body breaks down sugars and starches, following their consumption). However, thankfully, they are not a source of refined sugar, which we should avoid. Refined sugars lead to yeast, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. They are nutrient-free and represent empty calories.
There exists even the so-called "date sugar" (100 percent dehydrated dates in tiny chunks). Together with honey, some consider it a reasonable sugar substitute.
Even if sourced organically or from a healthy-sounding source, sugar is sugar, and it should be eaten in moderation.
Think of your body as a strong, solid house, which you have been building for years. You only want the nurturing bricks, providing you with health and strength.
Sugar occurs naturally in most food sources we consume. Someone who eats a nutritionally sound, whole-food-based fare, does not need any added sugar. In the U.S., we eat about 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
We need sugar to survive, and the fact that it provides us with instant energy is appreciated in a race or hike situation.
In daily life, however, we are better off with the low GI fare (think: beans, seeds, a combination of healthy whole grains, most veggies, kiwis, Granny Smith apples, grapefruits, tart berries). These foods contain more fiber and release the sugar (energy) at a slower and safer pace than any high GI food. It results in us feeling satiated for a longer time and eating less overall.
Sugar comes under the guise of multiple names: agave nectar (high in fructose!), table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, raw sugar (which is, actually, processed and not that "healthy"!), maltose, etc.
Excessive sugar consumption leads to diabetes type 2, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, increased appetite, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.
It is a "Catch-22": You eat sugar, get "sugar high," which spikes the insulin levels. Then, the blood sugar levels drop atypically low, resulting in craving even more sugars and overeating at the next meal.
We can, actually, get "addicted" to the high GI foods. They trigger a response in the brain region, related to addictions. Therefore, avoid these highly-processed "foods", which are digested very quickly (cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, white bread or potatoes, fruit juices, soft drinks, etc.). Also, control your intake of high sugar fruits, such as most apples, tropical fruits, grapes, ripe bananas or pears (the non-ripe bananas or pears have much less sugar!).
With our addiction to high GI foods and both "natural" and artificial sweeteners (which are, actually, toxic, get us used to the excessively sweet taste and indirectly lead to weight gain!), we have hard time appreciating the sweetness of a simple fruit.
Even Stevia, the zero calorie sweetener, should be avoided. It does not increase the blood sugar levels, but it really plays a trick on our taste buds. We simply cannot help and react to its sweetness. This leads the pancreas to release insulin and the blood gets ready for some glucose.
However, it does not get released, which makes us feel hungry soon thereafter! If you consider baking some goods, perhaps try the non-sweetened apple sauce, pureed peaches, berries or pears. They are sweet enough!
What happens, sugar-wise, when you skip a meal or exercise without eating beforehand? Your blood sugar levels drop and your system starts burning muscle, holding to whatever fat it has in the "fear" of an impending starvation. Your energy is close to none and you get even more food cravings! A vicious cycle.
And if you simply eat too much of carbs? Your blood sugar raises up and it results in excessive storage of fat and the dreaded muffin top or two!
Apart from watching the GI of the foods you eat, it is worth to check their Glycemic Load. GL takes into account the carbs contained in an average serving. Example: Given how much of watermelon we typically eat, it has a high GI, but a low GL. Fructose, unfortunately, works the other way, having a lower GI, but high GL - to be avoided!
Stable glycemic values result in releasing any excessive fat and making you feel energized, satiated and never hungry.
So, aim at maintaining stable sugar levels, which results in preserving the lean muscle mass we need to build a healthy, metabolically-efficient body.
Magdalena is the owner of the "Be Fit Fit" Personal Training and Wellness Studio (www.befitfit.biz). Her "Be Fit Fit" Blog can be read on www.verdenews.com