HIDDEN SUGARS – where are they?!
Not a day goes by without coming across an article in a magazine or in the news that tells you to cut back on sugar. But do we really know why? In the past few years, our waistlines have expanded despite the many diets we have tried! This doesn’t only apply to women; men too are affected as well as children. I often come across people who tell me that they have tried every calorie-controlled diet under the sun but the weight always comes back. So what is going on?
Eating sweet, sugary foods will produce more insulin in the body. This will make you put on the pounds because insulin triggers weight gain in three ways:
1. It increases appetite
2. It increases the amount of fat that gets stored away
3. With more insulin, more fat is produced and this stops the body from being able to burn the accumulated fat. A vicious circle!
The fat which accumulates around the tummy area is called ‘visceral fat’. Insulin related weight gain is around the middle of the body and can be a sign of some of the degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease or stroke. So what is actually causing this effect when years ago we all looked much thinner as a nation?
We all know that we should cut back on sugar, but do we actually know the whole story? Ordinary table sugar breaks down in the body into 50% glucose, which can be used for energy, and 50% fructose. Fructose can never be used for energy; the liver turns it into the visceral fat in our abdomen. OK, but we were always told that ‘sugar gives us energy’. That isn’t exactly correct . When you eat something sweet or have a soft drink sweetened with sugar, honey or high fructose corn syrup, the fructose in the food you are eating will turn into visceral fat which goes straight to your tummy. This is a very complicated process and that’s probably why it is never explained to the general public – on the ‘don’t need to know’ basis.
With the introduction of the ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup’ (HFCS) into any and all ‘foods’ back in the 1970s, because it was much cheaper to produce than sugar, we are now facing a huge obesity problem. HFCS is between 55 – 90% FRUCTOSE. It is used by the food manufacturers in all processed foods which include cereals, mass produced sliced bread, ready meals, yoghurt, ice cream, chocolate, cakes, desserts, biscuits, even savoury biscuits, jam and all the soft drinks and fruit juices as well as meat and of course all the low-calories foods; in fact probably 85% of food products on any supermarket’s shelves will have HFCS in them. It’s cheap to produce and that is why the food manufacturers use it – for profit. No wonder that we can’t get rid of that spare tyre.
And why did I call this article ‘Hidden sugars’, because HFCS can be disguised under various names like glucose-fructose, maize syrup, glucose syrup, isoglucose, fruit fructose etc. If it doesn’t say ‘sugar’ or ‘cane sugar’ you can be certain it’s some disguised form of HFCS.
My advice to you is to read all the labels on food packets. Search articles on the Internet about HFCS and learn more about it. Eat lots of veg and some fruit – they will give you all the glucose you need for energy. Learn about what’s in your food; don’t let your supermarket control you.