I’ve been working out with a trainer for the last few months and I feel great, but I can’t seem to get rid of that little bulge around my belly button! I asked my trainer if that was just extra skin from pregnancy that won’t ever go away, or if it is from something I’m eating. He said, it’s hard to tell, but sugar definitely would contribute to belly fat. I don’t eat a ton of desserts, and I avoid sugar in its obvious forms, but could it be hiding in other foods I was eating?? I turned to my go-to nutrition expert/friend, Margaret Floyd for this question. Her and her husband James run a sugar detox program that my husband has done with success. (It is so much easier to do when someone else provides you with the food!) I thought she would be the perfect person to write my first ever guest post and to share where all the hidden sugars are lurking. Turns out I eat a lot more sugar than I thought. Check it out below…
By now, we all know that sugar is ubiquitous. It hides in our salad dressing, our meatballs, our soups and sauces. It is any ingredient ending in “-ose” (maltose, dextrose, etc.), any kind of syrup (corn, brown rice, etc), and loads of other names too many to list here. If it’s a commercially prepared food, chances are it’s got some form of sugar in it.
But there’s a whole other level of sugar than just eating it straight or as an added ingredient. It’s in how our bodies use the foods we eat, and how quickly they convert that food to glucose (sugar) in our blood. I bet there are foods – even whole foods – with “hidden” sugar that you didn’t know about.
1) Grains. All grains – yes, even whole unrefined grains that have been properly prepared (sprouted and/or fermented) – convert to glucose quickly in your blood. In fact, two slices of whole wheat bread convert to sugar faster (glycemic index 72) than a spoonful of table sugar (glycemic index 59). That’s food for thought.
2) Starchy vegetables. By starchy vegetables I’m talking about potatoes (that’s probably no surprise), sweet potatoes, and even cooked carrots and beets. When we eat them raw, sweet root veggies like carrots and beets have a minimal impact on our blood sugar. Cooking, however, breaks them down, and the glucose is released into your blood faster.
3) Dairy. Especially low-fat dairy. Skim milk, for example, is mostly sugars (lactose), then protein, and a minute amount of fat. In addition to being primarily carbohydrate, dairy has what we call an “insulinemic” effect on our blood. This means that it spikes insulin levels (the hormone responsible for storing excess blood sugar first as glycogen and then as fat) even in the absence of a sugar spike. No bueno.
4) Alcohol. You may be the type to take an easy pass on dessert, but have that extra glass of wine after dinner. This, my friend, is about sugar. Even if you like your whisky straight up, no mix, it’s still about the sugar.
5) Fruit. But wait, you say. Fruit is a whole, real food. And fructose, the fruit sugar, is natural. So what’s the biggie? Well, having 1-2 small servings of whole fruit (not fruit juice) on a daily basis is fine, but it’s for the nutrients and fiber in the fruit, and in spite of the fructose it contains. Fructose is even more harmful to the body than glucose or sucrose. It is metabolized by the liver and is on the fast track to fat storage in the body. This is why high fructose corn syrup is so harmful.
Here’s the surprising thing: these foods – even in their whole, unadulterated form –play a huge role in our modern diet and, after processed foods, they are the most problematic elements in it. We’ve focused here on their sugar content and impact on our blood glucose levels, but for each of these foods (with the exception of fruit), I could list a whole series of other things about them that are challenging to our health – from the mineral-blocking and digestion-disrupting effects of grains to the allergenic effects of dairy. Not every person will have problems with every one of these foods, but pretty much everybody can benefit from greatly reducing their consumption of these foods in their diet.
So what do we do with all of this? Am I suggesting that you eliminate all of these foods from your diet completely?
Realistically, we know that’s not going to happen. I can hear you now: “Life without bread? Impossible!!”
But here’s the deal: temporarily eliminating these and all other sugars from your diet can have a profound impact on your dependence on them. This may be hard to believe, but it is possible to live without bread and all these other foods AND not miss them. And in the meantime, your overall health, your waistline, and your energy levels will thank you.
Doing this on your own, however, can be an exercise of massive willpower largely doomed to fail.
What if I told you there was an affordable, fully supported, delicious group cleanse for 14-days to clear out your body of sugar in all its many forms? A detox that doesn’t ask you to go hungry or take any weird concoctions or pills? A detox that’s based 100% in real food, that’s proven, that’s fully supported, and that a whole group of awesome folks are going to be doing together at the end of this month?
Visit www.sugarcontroldetox.com to find out more information and break free of the grip that sugar – in whatever form – has on you.