Almost everyone enjoys something sweet like chocolate, cookies or dessert, but eating the wrong sweets at the wrong time or too often can be harmful for your body. Ms. Bianca Chalfoun and Ms. Chirine Atwi, Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches and ACS parents, visited ACS to talk about the truth of sugar, its effects on the body and how it is hidden in the foods we eat.
The morning started with some sugar facts. For example, sugar suppresses the immune system for a minimum of 30 minutes to 5 hours after you consume it. Sugar can create dark circles under your eyes, abdominal fat and mood swings. It is 8 times more addictive than cocaine and much harder to stop eating than you think. Too much sugar over a long period of time can lead to insulin resistance. Making it harder for your pancreas to work producing insulin to convert sugar into energy. It can also cause other metabolic problems.
The ladies said to look for hidden sugars in food. Noting that each tablespoon of ketchup has 1 gram of sugar and boxed orange juice has 20 grams of sugar in a single serving. They encouraged audience members to try to keep the ratio of sugar in a product that you consume to less than 10%. Warning that most breakfast cereals contain over 45% of sugar. Instead, consume products that use honey, raw sugar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, stevia or lucuma instead of high fructose corn syrup, glucose or saccharin.
What to do? Try to eat naturally. Start the day with a breakfast of salty foods, protein, fat and fiber. Eat ‘slow’ carbohydrates, those that are high in fiber and take time to digest. Snack on sweet vegetables like carrots to curb cravings for sweet foods. Drink plenty of water and eat every 3-4 hours. Consuming fruit with fat (like apples with almond butter) slows down the release of sugar from the fruit. Most importantly, keep your lifestyle in balance. The next time you reach for sugar, pause to think about why you are craving it and what you can choose that is healthy. The cookie isn’t as sweet at you think it is.