As the years go by we are beginning to live in a fatter and fatter world with now over 70% of Americans being overweight and the UK following not far behind. Obesity has been around for thousands of years but only to the selected few. Now most people are becoming overweight and obese and this is increasing dramatically as the years go by. These days if you take a walk through the streets you are guaranteed to bump into several overweight people as now over a 60% of people in England are classed as obese. Obesity has even hit children with 1 in 3 children now classed as obese; these children that have been stricken with obesity are now as young as 6 months old. So we have many people now suffering from obesity and on top of this cancer and other lethal diseases are also on the rise with obese people. It is not actually obesity that kills but more so the diseases that obesity causes, we call these combination of diseases the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic diseases include; heart disease, lipid problems, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome (affecting over 10% of women), dementia and cancer.
The reason this is happening is because of sugar, specifically fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup that is being added to the majority of pre-packaged foods mainly fizzy and fruit drinks. This overconsumption of sugar has a massive impact on your body’s hormones; leptin and insulin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain when you are full from your meal and insulin converts excess blood sugar to fat because if your blood sugar is too high you will run into problems. It was once thought that if you consume more calories than you burn off then you put on weight, however, this is no longer the case otherwise diets would work and we all know they don’t! Recent research now tells us that sugar is 50 times more potent than total calories so when you put sugar into your body it enters the bloodstream which triggers the pancreas to release insulin (insulin is a fat producing hormone). The insulin takes the sugar and basically converts it straight into fat. Insulin blocks your leptin response directly from the brain and makes you hungry so the more sugar you ingest the more insulin will be released and the hungrier you will feel. The hungrier you feel the more you eat and if you are eating the wrong foods which are still high in sugar then the more insulin will be released making you hungrier and so the cycle continues.
We trust in our instincts that food that tastes good is safe to consume so something that tastes sweet is trustworthy, such as fruit. We are being constantly deceived on a daily basis to consume food that is not what our bodies are designed to consume. Sugar is just as poisonous to the body as alcohol just without the buzz as it is metabolised slightly differently. Sugar places the entire body under severe stress especially on the liver and just like alcohol can give you liver disease and liver failure. This is a product that we are giving our children on a daily basis without even thinking twice about it, but you would certainly think twice about giving your child a can of beer! The earlier your children are exposed to sugar the more and more they will crave it and develop their sweet tooth for the deadly toxin. If an obese woman gets pregnant then the child’s insulin levels will be affected whilst it’s in the womb developing, therefore forcing the child to create more fat cells as it grows. This is why children can become obese as young as 6 months old.
Sugar is also a ‘drug’ food that is highly addictive and because it is not regulated we don’t even realise it. So many people are now addicted to sweet treats such as chocolate and ice cream that they use to comfort themselves with on a daily basis. Take these sweet foods away and the addict experiences mood swings and agitation as the body and brain enter withdrawal. This is a false hunger signal that just isn’t real, you are not genuinely hungry, and you are just craving more of the drug food. It works with your brain chemistry in the same way as drugs, such as; heroin, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol etc… It is the same thing as an alcohol addict drinking beer or wine in the evening to unwind and relax, but what they don’t realise is that they would be far more relaxed if they didn’t drink it in the first place because their body and mind would have no stress to unwind. You think you are getting a genuine pleasure when you consume sugar, but really this is an illusion. Your eyes see sugar/junk food and instantly the rewarding part of the brain fires off signals of pleasure assuring you that if you consume it then your dopamine levels will become stimulated. This is true for the first part, but just like all drugs you will build up a tolerance and what you end up with is bluntness. This eventually blocks your dopamine receptors as it becomes less and less of a pleasure, causing a constant craving that you can’t get rid of and therefore have to live with.
Table sugar is made up of the two monomers glucose and fructose, glucose is completely different to fructose. Glucose is what the body needs to create energy, if the body does not have glucose in its system then it will create it, it is essential for living. Glucose does not taste particularly sweet at all and it is not very interesting for the tongue. Glucose is metabolised by all the organs in your body whereas fructose is metabolised 100% by the liver causing severe stress. Basically your body will need carbohydrate intake; the best form of carbohydrate on the planet is that found in vegetables. Vegetables have the lowest GI (glycemic index) possible, so plenty of vegetables and whole foods are important for healthy energy.
This is a subject that everyone has to take to heart! The NHS has gone into overdrive with the sudden sickness of the population which is causing tax increases across the country. People are even being turned away by the military because they are too fat! By 2002 the country had spent around 3.7 billion due to obesity and today this figure has risen dramatically.
Seriously limiting your sugar intake to what it is meant to be (15-30g) a day which is only from fruits and vegetables will dramatically increase your health. Your body will be free from a serious amount of stress, your body fat percentage will plummet, your brain power will be through the roof and your energy levels will skyrocket. Who doesn’t want these amazing health benefits?
If you found this interesting then why not check out my next blog post on how to give up a sugar addiction, coming soon on the Alexandra Sports blog!