The idea that dietary fat is what’s making our society fat, is still prevalent today. That fallacy has been repeatedly drilled into our skulls over the course of an entire decade and the grocery stores have been flooded with fat-free and low-fat products ever since. But what we have since learned is that the various forms of sugar that has been added to replace that missing fat is the real culprit. The proof is in our expanding midsections and inability to control them, even with our best efforts. Added sugar is like the stealth bomber of the food industry; silent but deadly.
The food industry sneaks sugar into everything we eat ranging from bread to lunchmeat, and this is the kind of sugar we want to avoid like the plague. What I have learned in my many years of trial and error is that sugar is incredibly difficult to avoid, even when you are trying to avoid it at all costs. Unless you are eating a completely whole food diet with nothing at all that is prepackaged or processed in any way shape or form, you will be consuming some added sugars on a regular basis.
The most commonly known and obvious added sugars are regular table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but the food industry is very cunning, so they switch up ingredient names to keep you in the dark about what you are consuming. Even if you attempt to read labels and be educate yourself about the choices you are making for yourself and your family, chances are you have no clue what you are really getting. It’s gotten to the point that you need a doctorate just to decode food labels. If you want to lose weight and optimize your health, then you should do your best to learn the code and avoid foods that contain these toxic added sugars.
“A rose by any other name would smell taste as sweet”
There are many different names for sugar! I’m sure if I spout off all I can think of, it would still be an incomplete list. Forgive me for the lack of order and for any duplicates…but here goes my best effort to do just that:
sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dehydrated cane juice, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, cane sugar, confectioners sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, date paste, turbinato, barley malt, agave, liquid fructose, malt syrup, lactose, honey, molasses, dextrose, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup solids, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, maltose, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar, carob syrup, caramel, coconut sugar, castor sugar, dextran, diastatic malt, diatase, ethyl maltol, galactose, glucose, invert sugar, malt dextrose, malto dextrin, musocovado sugar, oat syrup, panela, panocha, rice bran syrup, sorghum, tapioca syrup, diglycerides, disaccharides, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, , sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose, sugar alcohol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, sugar alcohols….
Personally, my brain doesn’t have the ability to pull those words from the archives of my mind most days. Not without making exaggerated facial expressions that induce premature aging. My way of remembering the above list and avoiding unwanted added sugar is by:
- Avoid foods with labels that have words I can’t pronounce.
- Avoid foods that won’t perish in one week.
- Avoid anything that boasts it’s “Fat Free”, “Lite” or “Diet”.
- Avoid foods with labels that have words that end in ose, ase, ate, ol
- Avoid foods with labels that use the words sugar, malt and/or syrup.
- Avoid any packaged food contains sugar in the first 3 ingredients.
- Avoid any packaged food contains more than one type of sugar.
- Be aware that other sugars often labeled healthy like agave, honey, organic cane sugar and coconut sugar fall into the same category. Its just glorified junk.
If all that is information overload for you or you prefer to keep it simple, just avoid foods that require labels all together and you’re good as gold!
Not all Sugar is Created Equal
It’s important to note that not all sugar is created equal! There is a huge difference between added sugars and sugars that occur naturally in fresh, whole fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are very nutrient dense, fibrous foods and while they do contain natural sugars, the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals make up for any negative aspects of the sugar they contain.
The best way to cut back on sugar as a whole is to simply avoid processed foods and satisfy your sweet tooth with a simple piece of fruit. My absolute favorite fix for a sweet craving is an apple. It takes time to eat, you have to work for it, it stimulates your gums, it’s packed with fiber and by the time you finish eating it, it has had enough time to get to your belly to satisfy your hunger and the glucose has enough time to get to your brain to take the edge off your craving. For me, fruit is to refined sugar as a nicotine patch is to cigarettes. It may not give you that quick fix and dopamine rush, but it satisfies your hunger and cravings, but unlike nicotine, it nourishes the body.
The Evil Twin
Refined sugar is toxic poison to our bodies. If weight-loss and fat-loss are on your list of priorities, I highly recommend that you remove all forms of refined sugar from your grocery list! A few of the side effects of consuming refined sugars is as follows:
- Disrupts hormones and brain chemistry and promotes fat gain
- Causes insulin resistance which can progress to type II diabetes
- Promotes cancer
- Causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease when consumed in excess
- Causes massive amounts of dopamine to flood the brain when consumed which makes it highly addictive and primes you for rebound cravings
While all of these side effects are pretty horrendous, sugar tastes good and the dopamine rush keeps us coming back for more, and more, and more, and more….and more…and this is why the food industry keeps repackaging and renaming this toxic substance and infecting our food with it. This my friends, is what is making us fat.