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- LUNCH What are YOU eating everyday?
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- SMILE ...and show off your pearly whites!
- Health: Keeping your BALANCE
- Sweating and smelly, what's a girl to do?
- Smoking - Making the Big Decision
- Understanding Cancer
- Break it down so you don't BREAK DOWN!
- Zzzzzzzzzz... good night = good morning
- Death and the Loss of a Loved One
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- Want to have a toned body? It's not about eating less...
- Not all FATS are created equal!
- I tried smoking. Now how do I say no?
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May 2008 Blogs
- Real Girl - Kendra
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- Teen Stuff Quiz - What Ice Cream Flavour Are You?
- SWEARING: What's the big deal?
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- Winning Against an Eating Disorder - true story
- Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
HEALTH, May 2008, by Dr. Jay
It’s a popular expression that describes my article in more ways than one!
It makes a lot of foods taste sweet, yet we’re told to avoid it as much as possible.
It has its pros and cons. While sugar is essential for survival in the form of energy (more below), overuse can be very damaging to our health. Balance is key!
There are 3 main categories: sucrose, lactose and fructose. You’ve probably seen these words or something close to them on product labels. Sugar in its natural state is grown in the form of sugar cane or sugar beets. It’s also found naturally occurring in fruit, honey and syrups.
WHAT DOES SUGAR DO?
Did you know that sugar is a type of carbohydrate? And that carbohydrates become sugars after we eat them? Carbs are broken down inside the body into ‘simple sugars’.
These sugars are then absorbed into the bloodstream. As the sugar levels rise in our blood, our pancreas releases a hormone called insulin which moves sugar from the blood into our cells, where it can be used as a source of energy. That’s a good thing.
THE BAD NEWS
Here’s the potential danger though: excessive consumption of sugar can cause the pancreas to have a hard time keeping up. Many processed carbs such as breads, pizza, white rice and many other flour-based foods are instantly turned to sugars in the body (in some cases right in your mouth…they don’t even wait till they get to your stomach!). High blood sugar levels can lead to a variety of problems. Ever heard of diabetes? Headaches? Tooth decay? Obesity? Of course you have. Does having healthy skin, hair or nails concern you? Excessive sugar is hard on your body. Not to mention it will keep you tossing and turning at night, and some say it’s a contributor to memory loss and your ability to retain information. Have trouble focusing at school? None of these are good for our health, and the majority can be avoided with a healthy diet.
On average, we eat as much sugar in one year as our ancient relatives would have eaten in their entire lifetimes!
WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE?
Many organs, such as the liver and pancreas, have to work way harder than normal when we raise our blood sugar levels. Don’t be fooled by the ‘no sugar added claims’... many foods contain other sugars that are the same or worse! ‘High fructose corn syrup’ is especially worrisome. This is a highly concentrated and processed sugar that is not found naturally, like the sugars in fruit, and it gives something like a can of cola the ability to deliver 10-12 teaspoons of sugar into your body in a very short period of time. Our bodies just aren’t meant to process that much sugar, that fast!
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
As always, balance is key! Your body needs sugar to survive and work properly but we also have to make smart choices about where these sugars come from.
Foods that are closer to their natural state are best. Read my previous articles to get the full picture.
Your best bet is to choose natural healthy foods and avoid the high-caloric ones that are low in nutrients, also known as ‘empty’ calorie foods. Many packaged and processed foods fit into this category.
Think about what you eat and read labels. Choose fruits and vegetables (which have natural sugars) instead of chocolate, candy, cookies, crackers, chips and other packaged foods. Drink more water than pop and discover that the sweetest things in life are great health, body comfort, friends and family!
~ Dr. Jay
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