Welcome to 2017! Before you make the mistake of starting your New Year off with a sugar free or carb free diet take a minute to hear what registered dietitian Abbey Sharp has to say about the dangers of incorrectly dieting. Don’t end up like Extreme Diet Debbie, make intelligent dieting decisions.
A common misconception among dieters is that sugar is the root of all evil. There is so much confusion surrounding sugar it’s almost mind boggling. A lot of people think that sugar is a major contributor to cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, brain fog, tooth decay, and a whole host of other illnesses. Sugar is in bread, pasta, apples, milk, bananas, berries, pears, rice, and just about everything else you eat. Sugar is actually really important to the way your body, especially your brain, functions on a daily basis. Have you had a friend or relative go on a carb free diet and seen their overall ability to process things slow to a crawl? That’s a lack of sugar in their body.
Sugar is basically just another form of carbs along with starches and fibers. There are a few types of carbohydrates dependant on how many sugar molecules there are in the compound. One or two sugar molecules are considered sugars, and more than two sugar molecules held together are considered starches and fibers. Aside from fibers (which we lack the proper enzymes to break down), all carbohydrates eventually break down into the most usable form for us, which are super simple sugars like glucose.
You can find sugars added to cupcakes and cocktails, but you can also find them naturally occurring in dairy and fruit. You don’t actually need to be worried about naturally occurring sugars as much as you need to be concerned with what are known as “free” sugars. These are basically sugars that have been taken away from their natural source without any fibers or proteins around them to help our bodies slow their absorption. These are the sugars that will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and send you crashing back down to the land of no energy in very little time at all. The World Health Organization recommends limiting your free sugar to no more than 10% of your daily energy intake, which means keeping tabs on added white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup and even fruit juice.
Let me guess, you thought fruit juice was great for cleansing right? Think again. I’m afraid not, and if you’re looking to cut back on sugars fruit juice should be the first to go. Fruit juice is considered a free sugar because the sugars contained in it are completely isolated. They lack any of the beneficial fibers that help our bodies slow down absorption. Whole fruit on the other hand is perfectly acceptable because it’s got that built-in fiber that will help you avoid blood sugar spikes.
Natural sources of sugar like fruit contain fiber which is key to promoting regularity, weight management, and controlling your blood sugar levels as well as your cholesterol. Women need to aim for 25 grams a day and men 38 grams a day from foods that contains carbs. Your brain needs about 130 grams of glucose or sugar per day to function at full capacity actually. Ask some of the fittest athletes in the world if they’ve cut out sugar or carbs and they’ll all just laugh in your face. Even simple sugars can be imperative for certain pre and post workouts especially when you’re active. In addition to that there are a lot of carbohydrate and natural sugar containing foods that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Cutting out this massive food group and adopting a super low carb diet can be not only dangerous but quite unpleasant as well.
New research suggests that heavily restricting certain food groups can lead to a variety of eating disorders including the newly popularized disorder, orthorexia. Cutting out carbs and eating clean may actually be the unhealthiest thing you can do for your body. When you adopt such a strict diet dining out with loved ones can become next to impossible. Obviously there’s sugar and carbs in wine, cocktails and dessert, but sugar is often lingering in seemingly savory foods too. Tons of sauces, dips, salad dressings and marinades are all packed with sugar. This isn’t a scare tactic, just a straight-up, no holds barred reality check for 2017.
Make smart dieting decisions that will carry you through the New Year feeling better than ever. Take some advice from a registered dietitian who know exactly what she’s talking about and don’t even think about adopting a low carb or low sugar diet.
As always thank you for watching and stay tuned for more stellar content soon.
For more tips on staying healthy, recipes, dieting, and information fit for consumption by foodies everywhere stop by Abbeys blog.