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Sugar, by itself and in moderate quantities, is not evil. It is a simple carbohydrate that contributes energy (measured as calories), and, when consumed as part of “real” food, brings along other necessary nutrition.

So if you are eating an orange, you’re consuming simple carbohydrates. The orange will also contribute vitamins, trace nutrients, and fiber. Since the fiber slows digestion, it will also slow the absorption of its sugar. An orange is “real” food, and its sweetness is nature’s incentive so we’ll eat its overall nutrition.

The problem in our current eating world is excess intake of sugar, especially when it brings no other nutrition, and/or accompanies food that has little or other nutrition.

When we eat sugar, insulin is secreted to metabolize and help use or store the sugar. That’s fine. But when the body is overloaded with more sugar than needed, most of the sugar will be stored: first as glycogen and then as fat. You have to burn enough calories to use this glycogen and fat, or you will gain weight.

For someone who is diabetic, the insulin is either inadequate or its use is impaired at the cellular level. Either way, too much sugar builds up in the blood and causes the cascading damage of diabetes.

For people who aren’t diabetic, the excess fat storage causes all kinds of problems, leading to a variety of health problems. Eventually a cluster of symptoms develop called Metabolic Syndrome, in which one’s overall health is impaired - often significantly and eventually fatal over time if not resolved. This syndrome often develops into Type II diabetes.

If you eat a wide variety of food, especially “real” food that has been minimally processed and includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates in healthy portions, sugar won’t be excessive - and you’ll be fine. If you are diabetic, fruit and other simple carbs can still be ingested - but in small portions and along with other food to slow its absorption.

Avoid sugary junk - soda, candy, sweets, etc - since it brings lots of sugary calories without any other nutrition. Choose them rarely, and for special occasions only, and keep your portions small.

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