Nutrition

Too Many Simple Sugars? Oh My!

Hello World!

School is out, Summer is here, and I am ready to get my health in order! Do you ever wonder why your workout routine just isn’t getting the results you want? During the semester, I could easily keep a perfect flat stomach, and now that I am back home, it’s not so easy (I know, my life is just SO hard, hehe)! I may be getting enough sleep and working out twice as hard, but the results just are coming. I decided to analyze my diet.

I’ve been using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, and I have to say, I love it. It’s very easy to use, has almost all of the foods I eat in its database already (and there is a tool to add more foods to the database as well!), and there are lots of graphs to track your nutrients and calories for us visual people! I’ve logged my diet for 10 days in a row, which is a record for me, and now I see exactly why I’m just not getting the results I want: WAY. TOO. MUCH. SUGAR! Oh my goodness, the number of grams of sugar I eat in a day is crazy! I may be eating healthy things like granola and gluten free waffles, but they all have sugar, and I eat too many in a day. So even though I have a healthy calorie intake, the sugars are keeping me from really toning my body.

Now for all of you science-savvy people, here’s why sugar can be evil: When you digest your food, all carbohydrates are broken down into their simplest form: glucose (sugar). The pancreas sees this rise in glucose, and therefore releases insulin in order to activate glycogen synthase (enzyme). The glycogen synthase transports the glucose to cells to be metabolized for energy (hooray metabolism!). However, when we consume simple sugars (white sugar, syrups, sodas, etc), the body overreacts and releases too much insulin in order to get rid of the glucose as soon as possible. The glycogen synthase enzyme cannot move fast enough to transport the extra glucose to healthy cells for energy, so the glucose is turned into fat! Yikes! This also causes blood sugar crashes and even more cravings for sugar!

Even though simple sugars are evil, this doesn’t mean that all carbohydrates are bad! We need carbs for our metabolism so that we can have the energy required for everyday life. We just need to make good choices on which carbs we eat. Read food labels- how many grams of sugar are in your favorite breakfast cereals, snacks, or condiments? Try swapping your usual choices with ones that have fewer, if not no, grams of sugar. I’ve eased myself from eating Quaker’s apple cinnamon oatmeal every morning, to the lower sugar version, and now I just eat plain oats with cinnamon (no sugar)!

To really make a change in your habits, I challenge everyone to track your food intakes for a week. Are there any good habits that you see? Maybe some consistent not so good habits? Being honest with yourself and writing down everything that you eat will help you realize what needs to be done in order to make positive changes! The key is BEING HONEST!

Now that I have successfully gone gluten free, my health goals are to eat protein at every meal, and to drastically reduce my sugar intake! What are your health concerns and goals?

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Happy_Body_Blog and sign up for email updates at the bottom of the page!

Peace and love!

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