Hello! How is your summer so far? I don’t know how it happened, but mine is pretty full already. But it’s the very good kind of full. Full of seeing people I love, working with special clients, and learning new things.
There’s something that I’ve started to notice, though, and I want to share it with you today. Terms that are marketing gold right now are “green”, “heart-healthy”, “natural”, “organic”, and my favorite “free from artificial sugars”. There is nothing wrong with any of these terms, but I want to highlight a few potential ingredient traps that you might fall into if you buy products making these claims without investigating them first. Especially in the health food aisle.
I’m not referring to false advertising or anything like that. I’m talking about ingredients showing up in foods that you never expected them to be in. Today, the ingredient I’m talking about is:
I know. You are immediately thinking that I’m going to spend the next 500 words saying “sugar is bad and will make you die”. Hang. On. Don’t get ahead of yourself! I do have a few things to share with you about sugar, but nothing so vague as telling you it’s “bad”. Phrases like that are tossed around all over the place. “Such and Such is so bad for you.” “This food is terrible for your body, you shouldn’t eat it.” And so on. It is of equal importance to know why something might impact your body negatively as knowing it’s simply”unhealthy”. And really, before we go any further, refresh yourself on the 80/20 approach, so that you will have some background information about where I’m coming from with this type of discussion.
I know that sugar is a presently much-maligned ingredient, but before we crack open the discussion, let’s remember that lots of foods have sugars that naturally occur in them. Glucose is the currency of your brain. Glucose is the only fuel that powers your cerebral cortex. Your body is built to deal with some types of sugars, and it needs certain kinds to function correctly. (As we move ahead, keep these things in mind).
Secret sugar seems to be cropping up in more and more things. Especially in allegedly “healthy” foods. (This drives me nuts). Even though something might be free from “artificial” sugars, flavors and other unpronounceable things, there are still plenty of naturally occurring sugars that will impact your body in similar ways that are in those same foods.
Have you ever had something with “cane juice” in it.
That Vanilla Extract? Look at the ingredients.
What’s that in there with the vanilla? *sigh* Sugar. (Not all of them. But some do. I have been fooled before).
Still a type of sugar.
..Comes from sugar.
Barley malt…is another name for sugar.
Brown rice syrup is sugar…from brown rice. (Shock).
There are lots of other things that are sugary, but these examples with suffice. I know you’re picking up what I’m laying down. 😉
You might be wondering why there are so many people seemingly up in arms about sugar and its effects. I want to share just two pieces of information with you about why I sometimes think twice about whether or not I should eat something with sugar in it.
- 100 grams of sugar impairs your white blood cell’s physical ability to reach out and find bacteria in your body. For 6 hours. (See this scholarly paper that discusses specific study findings).
- Candida albicans (a type of yeast) thrives on sugar, and is very prone to overgrow in your body when provided with a sugar-rich diet. This can lead to slower healing in the body, and more health concerns than I can mention in one segment.
The take away point:
Know what you’re eating. It’s so useful to know what the actual ingredients are, because you might think you’re avoiding a certain item, but then discover that there is sugar in the vanilla extract you used. (It is so frustrating…).
Have you discovered some sneaky ingredient in a food you thought was trustworthy? Let me know in the comments below! What was it? Were you surprised?
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