Thursday, July 22, 2010

How sugar affects digestion

Junk sugars such as those found in soda pop, cookies, candies and ice cream are called simple carbs because they are composed of simple chains of sugar molecules. This has the tendency to affect the blood sugar more rapidly since they are broken down and absorbed easily. This will then trigger the insulin response to deal with the sudden surge of sugar and subsequently glucose in the bloodstream. This gives the pancreas the extra burden of dealing with the glucose, or sugar; insulin will then released into the blood to carry the glucose into the cell. The sugar will then be used up rapidly, but the body will hit a low in a few hours. At this time other hormones are released when the blood sugar becomes too low. The liver will then deal with this problem by releasing stored sugar, which will then cause the blood sugar level to rise again. What a battle the body faces with dealing with simple sugars! (

What are the long term effects?

Well, we have no shortage of literature on hyperactive children who, after lunch, return to the classroom charged up on the sugary meals that they have just consumed. The problems extend to adults with varying and debilitating ailments.

These extreme shifts in blood sugar are not well tolerated in some people and those susceptible often suffer from extreme mood shifts, or highs and lows due to the blood sugar-insulin release roller coaster. These are factors in mental illnesses such as depression. The picture even becomes more grim.

For example. In the last 35-40 years Americans have increased sugar consumption going from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person per year. Before the turn of the 20th century, people consume only 5 lbs. per person per year. Incidentally, we have seen a staggering rise in cardiovascular disease, impaired immunity, asthma, allergies and cancers.(

Some safer alternatives

Read the label. Get educated on the different names for sugar; "ose" endings are a clue that you are getting a sugar. Some examples are: high fructose corn syrup, lactose, maltose, dextrose. Foods that are high in sugars include bread, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce and microwaveable meals.

Try some alternative and healthier choices such as stevia, agave syrup, fruit concentrate (sugars but slowly digested).

Finally, talk to your nutritionist or your physician. You can also research other viable options. There are scores of literature out there on natural substitutes for sugars. Your body will thank you for it!

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