Bitter sweet sugar
Christmas is just here, and I’ve no idea what does it means to you..but as for me, it is the annual family reunion with grandparents, parents, brothers, uncles, cousins and cousins of cousins … and even if all year round we can´t meet all, on those days, we move mountains to accomplish the tradition of joining around the table and fire – oh yes!Where there’s Christmas it has to be a big fire to warm us.
And going straight to dessert … what did we meet then ?! Sugar. But are all those desserts trully sweet for our bodies? How bitter is this fake sweet? A lot!
Why the hell is sugar so harmful? Until few years ago I had no idea about it and still remember the first time a teacher told me she was avoiding sugar to maintain the quality of her bones. I thought she was a bit paranoid and that it was just a too much. The truth is that I was so used to consuming it on a daily basis that this statement stirred my beliefs. One way or another with few readings I did realize the consumption of sugar is quite poisonous.
Despite sweetening our mouth, it acidifies our body for several reasons. Once consumed it goes directly to our stomach causing a huge amount of gastric juice to be produced. As this has a very acid pH and our body needs to balance it so that the pH of the blood goes to healthy levels, the organism than mobilizes alkaline minerals, namely calcium and magnesium to neutralize it. So our bones actually get less of these minerals, each time we consume it. But it goes on …
Sugar, or sucrose, nutrient deficient but rich in calories, is quickly transformed into glucose. In turn, with high glucose levels and to prevent blood sugar levels from triggering after a meal, pancreas releases insulin. When then glucose lowers, the pancreas stops the production of insulin and begins to release glucagon, responsible for transforming stored energy, glycogen, into glucose. But if we eat sugary foods regularly and in excess, pancreas is always producing insulin and storing glucose, leading to a loop process.
But don’t we need glucose for everything in our life? Indeed, glucose is our energy supplier. However, the sources that benefit our body are others than sugar, namely complex carbohydrates – those that slowly transform into glucose, such as legumes and vegetables – and fruit, fructose – which being a quick sugar, contains fibers, which aid digestion and increase satiety.
Thus one of the problems with sucrose is the fact that it is a fiber-free fast sugar, which makes it enter the bloodstream quickly, causing spikes in our body and central nervous system, not promoting our emotional stability.
Although this article refers to the excess of sugar eaten during Christmas, the truth is that the excessive consumption of it generally happens on a daily basis. Packaged cereals, soft drinks, sugared yogurts, cookies, and so on, are daily consumed, and our body is forced to store glucose in the liver that we never use. Then appears the fatty liver, since stored and unused glucose eventually turns into fat and obesity may also strike you.
Obesity is perhaps the visible evil of excessive consumption of this product, but it is not the only one. Glycemic peaks, mood swings, drowsiness, chronic fatigue, or increased blood pressure, which can degenerate into more serious problems such as atherosclerosis or diabetes, are some of the other side of this picture.
Idealy we should really not consume it at all, but if we at least limit its consumption to exceptional days, it will be a great advance. Indeed, when we reduce or ban its consumption, we train our palate to another scale of sweet and consecutively we need less of it.
But what do I do standing that Christmas table full of “poisonous desserts”? Firstly, I started to make some versions of the typical Christmas desserts without sugar and often also without eggs. Curiously over the years some of the recipes have been accepted and replaced old ones. In addition, since I do not eat sugar added products daily, my taste has already got used to much softer tastes, so I don’t desire those type of sweets. As conclusion, I add that in the late years, Christmas is no longer synonymous of heartburn, tiredness and the desire to sleep after meals. 😉
Before Christmas, I’ll still publish some healthier versions of sweet recipes from this season! 🙂
However, if you want to know more about the effects of sugar in our body and its massive use in the food industry, I recommend you to read the book “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty.
I then wish you a sweet Christmas, inside and out! 😉