Monday, September 21, 2009

Unmasking Sugar For Weight Loss Success

Sugar of course is the simplist carbohydrate and it has lots of nasty effects on the body. Besides being pretty much empty calories which doesn't help our desire to be svelte, sugar raises our blood sugar levels which can lead to diabetes.

Not only that but there are many other health issues associated with eating too much sugar. But food manufacturers are smart--they know a lot of people will look for "sugar" on the label. There are lots of different types of sugars that can be put into our foods. Some don't even sound like sugar--so even if you read labels you might not realize how much you are consuming.

The best way to defend yourself against these sugars is to read the labels--and know what to look for! Awareness is the first step to successfully beating the sugar blues, the sugar highs, and the not-so-sweet expanding waistline!

So here is a list of some of the common, and not so common "sugars" that can be found in foods.

The usual suspects:
sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses and maple syrup.

Other sugars:
evaporated cane juice, malted corn syrup, malted barley syrup, any thing "syrup"

The less well known:
dextrose, fructose, lactose and maltose

Are they sugars or not?:
xylitol, sorbitol, annitol, malitol

This last category is not required by the FDA to be labeled as a sugar--and in fact can be in things that are labeled as being sugar free. One of the most common places they are found is in chewing gum. But they are made of sugar molecules with an attached alcohol molecule. They still are carbohydrates, but with this extra molecule they aren't absorbed by the body as easily. Because they aren't absorbed easily they may cause some, um, let's just say discomfort.

Yes they are fattening

Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup is frequently used in place of table sugar--it can be found in most store bought candies, soft drinks and baked goods. Not only is corn syrup sweet and loaded with calories, the body processes it differently from table sugar and it actually is more likely to converted into body fat!

Affects cholesterol

To top it off, corn syrup has been shown to raise LDL cholesterol (that is the number you want to be low.)

Actually create cravings!

Many of these sugars have an addictive type quality...they actually affect our taste buds and make our tongues (and brains) want more sweet stuff. This is why our challenge is not about will power! There really are foods that create the desire and cravings in us.

Make us MORE hungry!

I remember Dr. Oz discussing ghrelin on the Oprah show...this is a hormone that stimulates hunger. The opposite hormone, the one that suppresses hunger is called leptin. Well, fructose causes a drop in leptin AND an increase in ghrelin. No wonder we feel more hungry when we eat sweets!

Tastes great, less filling

Sugars don't fill us up, so even if they didn't have the other downsides, you will naturally eat more food if you eat a lot of sugary foods.

Best health and weight loss success tip

Eat as many whole foods as you can...things that actually grow, rather than have to be packaged. As you increase your intake of complex carbohydrates and reduce the simple carbs you will be amazed at how your tastes will begin to change.

It doesn't mean you will have to give up all sugar forever. The best news is that once you get off the sugar-go-round you will be able to have some treats without setting off the cravings. So you will be able to have your cake and eat it too!

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