THE TRUTH ABOUT SUGAR
Is the sweet stuff really making you overweight and sick? Read on for life-saving advice.
Ah, sugar—tastes so good, feels so bad. No wonder so many women have a love/hate relationship with the sweet stuff. And it turns out, we’re all eating too much of it. On a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) is seeing an alarming rise in health concerns connected with a damaging relationship with sugar. Translation: A diet that’s excessively high in sugar, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, will wreak havoc on your body.
The good news is you can be in control of your sugar consumption, and ultimately, of your health. Read on to find out how.
“Once you consume sugar, your body breaks it down into the most basic forms of carbohydrates: glucose, fructose, and galactose, which are then absorbed into your bloodstream,” adds Raoul Felipe M.D., an internist from the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.
The reason you can’t completely eliminate sugar from your diet? It is essential for your body’s daily functions. “Glucose, in particular, is the main fuel source that the body utilizes for energy. It keeps everything working—from your muscles to your organs to your brain,” explains Dr. Regalado.
You might typically associate the sweet stuff with honey, the table variety, and the added sugar in treats like chocolate and soda. But you’re also getting it from other sources, the most common of which are starches (think rice, pasta, bread, and whole grains), fiber sources (like fruits and both starchy and non-starchy vegetables), and dairy (including milk and yogurt). “The body, however, does not distinguish between the different types and sources of sugar. To the body, sugar is sugar, and breaks it down in exactly the same way,” says Dr. Felipe.
This is where it gets tricky. “A balance needs to be maintained between the amount of your carbohydrate intake and the energy expended to use up these sources of fuel for your body,” explains Dr. Felipe. This means your diet and exercise habits are the keys to making sugar work for you, not against you.