When we were kids it was common to have a bowl of sugar at the breakfast table. The problem is; hidden sugar has made its way into everything we eat and a spoonful of sugar not only makes the medicine go down, but it makes it necessary as well.
Let me clarify that I’m not the type of person to go off the deep end and scare people about food. I’m a foodie who loves to eat just about everything except junk. That includes dessert. I try to go either no sugar or very little sugar with my recipes on this site. But that’s because we have “over 50 middles.”
With that said, I wanted to give you some important facts about the “sugarizing” of America and why it’s expanding the bellies of people over 50 as well as making us ill. Have you ever wondered why you’ve been putting on weight or what’s making your metabolism come to a screeching stop? It may be due to what has been called the Darth Vadar of food. We’re talking about HIDDEN SUGAR.
What? How can sugar be so evil, you say? After all, our moms baked us Betty Crocker cakes and we never had any issues. People have been eating sugar forever. Who doesn’t love a sweet treat once in a while?
Why SUGAR went to the dark side
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was first introduced by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi in 1957. They were unsuccessful in producing it as a food source because it was highly toxic for human consumption. A more palatable version was formulated by Dr. Kei Yamanaka, at Kagawa University, Japan, in 1961 and further developed by Dr. Yoshiyuki Takasaki at the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology of Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan between 1965–1970. HFCS was brought to the US in 1975 and was quickly added to many of our processed foods and soft drinks.
It may have been revenge for what we did to Japan during WWII.
In the last 30 years, people in the US, and many other parts of the world have become obese and chronically ill due to eating enormous amounts of hidden sugar, particularly HFCS.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that obesity has little to do with “calories in and calories out” as most dieticians, doctors and fitness gurus tell us. They say you have to burn the same amount of calories that you eat. In reality, you would have to run 20 minutes to burn off a chocolate chip cookie and we’d all have to be marathon runners to stay fit. The truth is; not all calories are alike.
What’s startling, is that there are an alarming number of obese 6-month-olds, both in the US and around the world. A baby can’t be blamed for being a lazy little glutton or be expected to burn off calories working out on a treadmill. However, these babies aren’t just cute and chubby, they’re enormous! Modern baby formula often contains HFCS, but obesity is also affecting breastfed infants. Babies are being born looking like Pillsbury Dough Boys in the womb because their mommies have been binging on sweets.
What Dr. Lustig found, was that continuous exposure to HFCS (over many years) is almost as toxic as the effects of alcoholism. Like ethanol poisoning (from alcohol), HFCS and other sugars consumed over time, cause hypertension, inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and problems with metabolism. Metabolic disorders have led to polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancer, and dementia. It’s pretty scary.
The sugar and food industries don’t want you to know that hidden sugar in food products makes them taste better and increases sales.
Some call Dr. Lustig an alarmist or even a nut, but one of the reasons I feel he’s worth a listen is because, unlike some doctors, he’s not trying to sell anything. He’s a working endocrinologist who, for years, has seen the results of metabolic disorders in his patients.
The best and safest way to get your sugar fix is to eat whole fruits. Fruits are a natural source of fructose and are good for you. Glucose is “the energy of life.” It’s something we need to survive because it regulates blood sugar.
HFCS is sweeter than fructose and that’s why people prefer it. Other sources include vegetables and whole grains. Dr. Lustig recommends that you eat some carbohydrates because they have fiber. Extracted juices have the fiber taken out. It’s always better to eat an orange rather than drink orange juice.
The FDA has not taken HFCS off the market because, according to its guidelines, a food must be proven to actually harm you. The FDA has classified HFCS as GRAS, (Generally regarded as safe) It isn’t. It may not kill or debilitate you right away, but after eating it for years it definitely can. The Corn Refiner’s Association will try to convince you HFCS is just as safe and natural as other sugars.
“Of course, many things are “natural.” Cocaine is natural but you wouldn’t want to use 142 pounds of it a year,” says Dr. Mercola, another physician who promotes healthy eating. The foods that are most notorious for containing HFCS are soft drinks and sweetened fruit drinks.
A 1915 bottle of Coke was only 6.5 oz and contained cocaine. In 1992, the bottle grew to 20 oz and now contains HFCS. It also contains caffeine, which is a mild stimulant and diuretic. There is 55 ml of salt per can. Salt has been added because it makes you thirsty to drink more. The added sugar hides the salt.
Other abominations in the food industry are“low-fat” and “diet foods.” This image says it all.
So what if you’ve already banned “bad” sugar from your diet, are eating smart, exercising and still can’t lose weight to save your life?
It’s probably a combination of everything you’ve eaten in the last half century that’s caused insulin resistance as well as a good amount of stress that is whacking out your hormones. You may actually need to spend more time working on relaxation than you do on exercise. The idea of having a weekly massage and frequent pampering sessions sounds good to me. Next time you go out for your walk, relax and enjoy it more. Walk to improve your health rather than as a way to lose weight.
When you stress out it causes your adrenaline to rush. This accelerates your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, creates sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
It’s a primal response to danger Will Robinson and produces belly fat to protect you against attack. As Baby Boomers, we’ve had our share of stress over the years. The onslaught of it builds up in our gut and it’s a bitch to get rid of.
Be aware of why you eat and practice “mindful eating.” Extreme stress can cause you to eat like Pac-Man.
What can you do if you’re a sugar junkie?
- Substitute sugar with stevia, organic cane sugar or honey in moderation
- Eat dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao instead of milk chocolate
- Banish all artificial sweeteners, including gooey coffee creamer that’s loaded with HFCS or other artificial sweeteners.
Energy and sports drink should also be avoided. When Gatorade was patented in 1967, at the University of Florida, athletes thought it tasted AWFUL! Pepsi started selling Gatorade in 1992 and added HFCS and flavorings to make it more palatable for consumption. Now, elite athletes are avoiding it. Instead, it’s consumed by fat kids because that’s who it’s being marketed to.
Power bars, frozen and packaged foods, cereals, ketchup, mustard, flavored yogurt and other products may also have HFCS added. Always read labels carefully.
The point of all this is not to scare you but to encourage you to be more careful about the products that you consume. Hopefully, you’ve already begun to take action.
Please take the time to watch Dr. Lustig’s video “Sugar, the Bitter Truth.” It runs 90 mins.
Are you still eating foods with hidden sugar? Please leave a comment below.