Pop Quiz: How much sugar is there in a 20 ounce bottle of Cola?
A: 16 packets worth, or rather 65 grams.To put this in perspective, that’s equivalent to eating 120 strawberries or 4 cups of blueberries!
A little history: Christopher Columbus brought sugarcane to the New World in 1493. By the mid 19th century, Europeans and Americans had come to regard refined sugar as a necessity. Now, the bigger question is- what is sugar NOT in? It’s hard to find anything without this added ingredient, usually in the form of fructose or glucose.
The body uses glucose as a rapid energy source. So when we consume it, it travels through the bloodstream to all of our tissues to be converted into energy for our cells to function. Fructose, on the other hand, can only be converted to energy by liver cells. This said, anything with fructose (which most processed foods are swimming with) puts the burden entirely on the liver. This job then takes away of the other important tasks the liver has such as detoxifying the blood.
A consequence of such a heavy workload is shown in the production of uric acid which research has linked to gout, kidney stones, high blood pressure, among other inflammatory conditions. Eating low on the glycemic index (low sugar) is fairly straightforward. The less processed your food is, generally the lower in sugar it will be. Or at least there will be the element of fiber present to help mitigate the absorption of the sugar so that your insulin levels don’t spike, and you are left with that post dessert “crash” which overtime can lead to conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes. Choosing foods consisting of unrefined ingredients and taking time to read labels is a huge step in the right direction.
Another aspect of eating low on the glycemic index is weight management. This is probably the first reason many people find themselves attracted to learning more about sugar and it’s effects on the body. Eating low sugar/ carbohydrate foods, means you will be eating foods higher in protein and fat which will give you more sustained energy and help support cell regeneration and metabolic performance.