Wed, April 01

Be Fit Fit! Addicted to the White Death?

White death comes in an array of colors. And I am not talking about an avalanche. The topic of today's blog is sugar. It hides in most of the food "products." Pretty much, the more colorful and crazy-looking the package of your "food" item is, the better the chances it contains lots of sugar.

Sugar also lurks in items which are perceived by us as healthy, such as yogurts with "fruit" on the bottom. Check their levels of sugar on the label against the same size container containing their "plain" counterpart. We'd be all better off just having plain yogurt, possibly Greek (for the amount of proteins it has versus the other yoghurts) and sweeten up this fare by adding some fruits and berries (which would also help you get some fiber). Well, the manufacturers figured it out: we are too "busy" to buy a yoghurt, then look for some fruits, then mix them up together. Conveniently, they have it ready for us. And the total product tastes great (because, well,

it is. one sugar!), makes you feel good about your food choices (because, ah, it is a yoghurt, after all, and also it says "with fruit on the bottom", so it just must be healthy) and fuels the pockets of the manufacturers like a well-oiled machine.

So, when I talk about sugar, I, actually, make a point that added sugar is really bad (such as the one you might be adding to your morning coffee). However, the sugars which are in hiding within the "food products" can be even worse, because not many of us are aware it is there. Tell me, when the last time you thought of your pasta sauce containing tons of sugar? Didn't you have your latest pasta dish under the auspice of the "healthy Mediterranean cooking", rather than seeing it as sugar in your sauce and processed carbs in form of your pasta, and so on? And it all adds up: sugars naturally occurring in fruits, sugars in cereals, bread, juices, salad dressings and marinades. In America, every day, we eat several times the WHO's recommended maximum daily amount of sugars.

Which, inevitably, sets up for further sugary consumption, as we simply become addicted to the "sugar high", just like drug users get addicted to their narcotic of choice. As the sugar bomb flows into our bloodstream and system, the pancreas is shocked and reacts outside of its normal action and reaction range. In a few words, whacking it out of its peaceful existence inevitably brings on the sugar high, followed by a sugar crash. Some of us even fall asleep after a sugary meal or snack, just to wake up tired and confused, with sort of a sugary hangover.

Exposing ourselves to lots of sugar makes us also resistant to our usual "dose" of sugar per day. We crave that sugar rush, therefore, we amp the amount of sugar we eat, so we can get there and feel it again - just like in the case of alcohol or drug addiction. There is, actually, quite a research comparing the sugar high to other types of "highs". Of course, eating more sugar results in weight gain and sugar-related diseases, such as diabetes.

So, which type of sugar is "good" for us? Well, we should be definitely looking into having it the way Mother Nature created it - not in any boxes, but in form of fruits. A fruit is a perfect bundle, containing some sugar, but also lots of other nutrients and fibers to lessen the impact sugar has on our body. Once we eat, say, a blackberry, we get some sugar, but also many other nutrients, really needed by our bodies.

E-mail me at if you want us to discuss further the methods and strategies which you might successfully implement in your daily life in order to win the war against the white death.

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