In these years characterized by an indiscriminate and excessive war on proteins, most of the “experts” have forgotten about one of the greatest enemies of our health: sugar. I am direct, but there are very few in Italy who have moved on this topic. In addition, over time I realized that it is difficult to convince a mother to limit the use of sugars in her child’s diet if not confronting her with the harsh reality.
We grew up being told that sugar is good for us, but is it really so?
In today’s video you will discover:
– what are the risks of an excessive amount of sugar
– what solution to adopt to avoid being addicted to it
– how to do it of exceptions a conscious choice.
Again, it is not the occasional action that affects your health and your life in general, but it is always the small and constant habits that you repeat over time that write your future.
( In-depth video transcript)
What sugars are and what they are for
We often hear people say “Sugar needs the brain” or even “Sugar needs the muscles” … but will it be true?
From a strictly biochemical point of view it is certainly true: the brain uses sugars most of the time and the muscles use them as fuel for their activities, when the intensity of the same is quite high.
The information itself is scientifically true, but it has been mistranslated in terms of daily practice. Those that our body recognizes and metabolizes as sugars in fact we introduce them in the form of carbohydrates, which can be simple or complex.
So what’s the problem? In the misleading interpretation of the data: if on the one hand sugar is used for muscles and brain and in general for energy metabolism, what is not always said is that the body can easily produce it by itself through the metabolization of complex carbohydrates, and not necessarily from direct intake.
The difference between simple and complex carbohydrates lies mainly in the speed of absorption: the first are absorbed very quickly and easily by the body, while the complex carbohydrates must first be “disassembled” in their unitary components and consequently bring us more time to be usable by fabrics.
Which foods contain the most sugar
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, tubers and legumes: these foods also contain many fibers, which modulate digestion.
Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, generally characterize the sweet taste of foods and are contained in fruit, table sugar, honey, milk, and by extension in all commercial products that use them as ingredients, such as yogurt, sweets, snacks. , biscuits, breakfast cereals, jams, fruit juices and drinks. Vegetables contain minimal amounts of simple carbohydrates and a significant portion of fiber.
So why is it recommended to consume fruit and not sweets? Fruit also contains a lot of water, fibers that modulate the absorption of sugar and micronutrients such as vitamins and mineral salts, which are important for many functions of our body. On the other hand, sweets contain only sugars and maximum fats (of dubious quality) and additives.
However, the guidelines tell us to limit the intake of simple sugars to a maximum of 15% of our total energy income, and to limit fruit consumption to 2 maximum 3 daily portions of about 150 grams.
Watch out for labels
Simple carbohydrates, called sugars for simplicity, are not found only in sweet foods. Take a trip to the supermarket: reading the labels you will discover that it is also found in many “unsuspected” products, for the reasons more different:
- improve preservation, such as in canned legume and vegetable products, cured meats and sandwich bread;
- give crunchiness or friability, as in the breading of frozen foods or in crackers;
- balance the acid taste of some foods, such as in ready-made sauces;
- thicken, as in soups, creams, ready meals or sauces.
To find the hidden sugar in theory it would be enough to read the labels of the products, but often the difficulty lies in recognizing it: in fact, different names are used, which indicate the different types of sugar but which basically have the same effect. The sugars in the labels can be explicit or indicated as additives with abbreviations, here are some: white or dark or cane sugar (sucrose), glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, various syrups (glucose-fructose, corn, rice ), grape sugar, polyols or sugar alcohols (sorbitol E420, mannitol E421, isomalt E953, maltitol E965, xylitol E967, erythritol E968), acesulfame K (E950), aspartame (E951), cyclamates (E952), saccharin (E954) , sucralose (E955). For an inattentive consumer, it therefore becomes difficult to keep track of what he introduces, it is certainly necessary to increase our awareness in purchasing food.
Are sugars or fats more harmful?
Fats have been demonized for years, with an all-out fight that has lasted far too long and is now thankfully over. Today we know that fat intake must be protected and not excessively reduced, distinguishing between healthy fats and less healthy fats.
At the moment all the attention in the nutritional field is turned to the abuse of sugar, because no doubt now a lot of data tells us that the amount of sugar and refined cereals we have eaten in recent times has undoubtedly been very high and contributes to the increase in cases of overweight and obesity, conditions which in turn increase the risk of incurring non-communicable diseases such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
The common denominator is therefore excessive consumption, whatever the macronutrient that is considered. This is especially true especially because, since the postwar period, our levels of physical activity and physical work have dropped significantly.
In a dimension where a person’s work is mainly physical, tolerance to a certain degree of intake of even refined cereals and possibly even sugars is not good anyway, but it is certainly more acceptable. When we combine a high use of refined cereals or sugars and a sedentary lifestyle as important as that of most Italians, the sum of the derived effects becomes very dangerous.
What happens when we eat too much sugar
But what exactly happens in our bodies when we consume too much sugar?
Try to imagine for a second gear of a beautiful watch with all its little pieces carefully assembled by a master watchmaker of high quality: if there versassimo over a jar of honey in no time the entire mechanism would jam , because it would literally be stuck in all its components by the sugar contained in honey.
This, more gradually, is what happens in our bodies when we eat too much sugar. It is estimated that in the United States a person eats about 70 kg of sugar in a year, and even if in Italy we are not yet at those levels, adding to the sugar we add to every coffee, to the tea, that contained in sweets, and still the large amount of refined cereals that we tend to eat too much like pizza, bread, pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, sandwiches, a quantity of sugar that is far too high for our body comes out.
A large amount of sugar that is metabolized and absorbed quickly causes a sudden rise in blood sugar in our body, which reacts with an equally fast overproduction of insulin.
Medium-term effects and increased risk of developing diseases:
If repeated over time on a continuous basis, this phenomenon is not tolerated well: the mechanism tends to stay still, leading to a greater risk of developing insulin resistance, or a lower efficacy of insulin. Overweight, obesity and general inflammatory state of the body are interrelated.
Long-term effects and chronic diseases:
Development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, gateway to the metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancer.
There are also side effects of excessive sugar intake, such as damage to the skin.
In fact, excess sugar makes it easier to create a link with body proteins, resulting in structural alteration and loss of functionality of the latter.
This process is called glycation, and a very simple example of it is what happens on people’s skin: sugar binds in particular to collagen and elastin, two proteins contained in the skin tissue, causing accelerated aging.
Skin aging is a visible manifestation of the damage that sugar creates, but what happens to collagen and elastin also happens in all other tissues, even those that are not visible.
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Reduce sugars in the diet
A first step to start correcting your diet and to do something concrete to slow down the aging process is to eliminate unnecessary sugars from the daily diet and get used to a diet that is exclusively made up of foods without this glycemic load so powerful that it destabilizes our metabolism.
It does not mean that you can never eat anything sweet again : an occasional consumption of sweet products can exist as long as it is an exception. As an exception, it does not matter whether it is white or cane sugar, you have to enjoy it without feeling guilty, as long as there is no continuous consumption in the normality of everyday life.
Where to start : starting to eliminate sugar from coffee, tea and herbal teas, biscuits in the morning or dessert after each meal, non-wholemeal rusks with jam, soft drinks.
Starting to work on these things allows us to reduce sugar consumption by changing daily habits. When this becomes the rule, there is no problem from time to time to allow yourself an exception and to do it in a relaxed way, because it is clear that food also has an emotional aspect and is part of our social interaction. / p>
And what about cereals? As mentioned above, complex carbohydrates contained in cereals are the basis of energy metabolism, so they should always be present in a balanced diet, well dosed compared to the amount of physical activity that takes place and consumed preferably 100% whole.
Large food companies have done a lot of research to understand how to exactly dose sugar, as well as fat and salt, to obtain what is called the ” bliss point “, that is the maximum sensory response of pleasure given by a food.
This maximum sensory response is connected to a large production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which causes the sensation of pleasure and fulfillment but which, at the same time, also creates a certain form of addiction. / p>
So sugary foods have an action that goes far beyond the purely metabolic one: they are good and have a great ability to give a sense of satisfaction, thus promoting the release of dopamine in the brain; they satisfy us and make us happy but at the same time they tend to make us dependent and slaves of continuous employment.
This mechanism, combined with the current ease of finding that type of food, has determined a ubiquitous presence of sugar in industrial products , effectively increasing the risk of addiction, in a vicious circle that feeds itself.
If companies study foods at the table to make them irresistible, it is difficult to maintain a certain diet, especially for people who are more vulnerable, especially children, who will therefore eat too many.
It is by no means impossible to get rid of these problems, the way to really protect yourself is to forcefully exercise a series of linked decisions and carry them out long enough to make them become habits, for example:
- Distinguish the house from the rest of the environments that are frequented , avoiding buying and keeping certain types of food at home: the house must become a kind of “Temple of Health” where you determine things don’t fit.
- Decide that sweet things become exceptions to be savored with taste only on special occasions and that these should be limited to once a week.
- Deciding to eliminate the use of unnecessary added sugar such as that in coffee, juice, soda, alcohol.
- Try to “replace” instead of “eliminate” altogether, for example, less healthy sweets with fruit, or use Stevia as a natural sweetener and decide that the daily dessert is given by a couple of good and seasonal fruits, perhaps taken as a snack in mid-morning and afternoon.
- Deciding to get your thoughts used to seeking sweetness in other things in life, particularly in the affection of others.
- Deciding to spend time learning at least one relaxation technique that will help reduce stress and therefore the search for sugar. For example, autogenic training, mindfulness meditation and yoga are useful.
- Don’t rely on willpower alone: Too easy to think that you are strong enough to win all the battles but it is better to recognize your weaknesses and try to organize planned rewards. After a week without sugar, for example, indulge in an ice cream. It is important to set deadlines but also to take one step at a time to try to solve a problem. By doing so, the body will begin to reward you with sensations of greater energy, mental clarity and will perceive this reward, giving rise to a change that will be truly lasting over time because it is based on a feeling of greater well-being.
As with any change, exceeding a time threshold of about two months will help make the gesture automatic. The effort that an action requires at the beginning decreases over time with the exposure, because the body and mind get used to the new condition and it becomes evident to the person that he is capable of living well in the new context. Once automaticity is acquired , not adopting the new behavior on a psychological level costs more effort than adopting it. For example, in those who have overcome the cliff, the idea of putting sugar in coffee creates more disturbance than drinking it bitter. This is not a miracle, innate personal tastes, luck or genetics but simply habits that each of us can adopt with the right strategy.
In addition to the strategic decisions mentioned above, to change you always need a realization, called in technical terms “a corrective emotional experience”. It is a time when, usually all of a sudden, a person realizes that the effort of staying as it is outweighs that required to change. Sometimes it is a real experience, others simply a change of perspective that allows you to see the problem from another angle.
Think about it: Is what you sacrifice today really much compared to the health you will have tomorrow? Do you prefer to remain at the mercy of the currents, weak, addicted to food or other vices that make up for what you lack in life or roll up your sleeves and become a leader from a victim?
It’s not just about losing weight but really changing thanks to a journey made up of small correct decisions made every day.
Changing means preventing tomorrow’s serious illnesses and above all regaining our true health starting today.
Learn to protect your health through nutrition, do it thanks to the “Potential Nutrition” course of which I will give you a taste with this video lesson that you can immediately see exclusively for you: ” the timing nutrition “.