It’s January, which means after the excess of the holidays, it’s a time of transformation and goal-setting; a lot of us are resolving to exercise more, eat less or better, lose weight and more. We’re being bombarded with diet advice everywhere we turn, and this year, there is a lot of talk about sugar.
If you’ve been doing Atkins, you know that Atkins is about how your body processes sugar and the carbohydrates which convert to sugar in our blood. Physically, your body can only process about two teaspoons of sugar at a time. Whether it comes from a candy bar or a bagel. any excess sends your blood sugar skyrocketing and then crashing and converts to body fat, leading to weight gain. With chronic exposure to excess sugar, eventually it can lead to metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance), diabetes, heart disease and more.
The book The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes, digs deeper into the history of sugar and its effect on our health and was recently reviewed in The New York Times. Taubes makes a well researched and convincing argument that sugar could be the cause of today’s obesity and diabetes epidemics and possibly related to heart disease, hypertension, many common cancers and Alzheimer’s. He suggests that scientists, nutritionists and the sugar industry worked together to mislead the public into thinking sugar did not have a role in obesity and other diseases. This book is timed perfectly with the news earlier this past year that the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists in the 1960s to downplay the dangers of sugar and heart disease and instead demonized saturated fat. The bottom line?
Over exposure to sugar, whether it is added sugars in soda and candy or the sugar that carbohydrates covert to when consumed, may contribute to a variety of health issues, but there are other factors that must be considered as well—age, sex, activity level, overall health and genetics. These factors are determine how well your body processes sugar. Some of you may be able to process higher levels of sugar and foods containing sugar without as many undue effects, while others can’t. This is not a one-size-fits-all answer, which is what makes a low-carb diet like Atkins so effective. You can start at Atkins 40™ or Atkins 20™ or just focus on making smart changes that help you cut the over exposure to sugar, such as swapping fruit juices for fresh fruit instead . Stay tuned, as sugar will continue to be a hot topic this year, and I will share new information and strategies to help you cut back on sugar.