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Sugar (NOT Fat) is the ENEMY

Updated: Mar 27

When thinking of our metabolic health, our heart, our blood pressure, and our weight, most of us still think of FAT as the culprit!  We can all remember the low-fat and no-fat craze. Skin came off all the chicken, we began seeing mostly lean meats and dairy products were altered to low or no fat.  However, the truth of the matter is we NEED good fats in our life.

We need omega 3 and omega 6 fats. They are the “essential” fatty acids. “Essential” because our bodies cannot make them on our own, so we need to get them from our food. In the typical American diet, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fats is often much higher than the recommended levels (1:1). It is estimated that the ratio in the typical American diet can be as high as 10:1 to 20:1 or even higher in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. This imbalance is primarily due to the widespread consumption of processed foods, vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oil), and animal products from animals raised on grain-based diets, all of which are rich in omega-6 fats. Therefore, we really want to focus on getting healthy sources of omega 3’s from our food. Some great sources are  cold water seafood (such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines), fish oil), nuts and seeds (flaxseed, chia & walnuts).

It’s been a prevailing notion that dietary fat poses the greatest risk to our health, but research over recent years has proven that the TRUE bad guy… is SUGAR!

Sugar seems to be in EVERYTHING processed. It is hidden in ketchup, salsa (yes even fresh salsa!), salad dressing, protein “health” bars, cereals and more. There are 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels! Yikes! My rule of thumb is to not eat anything that has any type of sugar listed in the first four ingredients. Some other names for sugar you may not know are Maltose, Lactose, Sucrose, corn syrup solids and Diastatic Malt just to name a few.

Sweetened coffee, energy drinks, hydration drinks, sodas and juice are the primary source of sugar consumption in this country. Eliminating these alone will serve you well!

Sugar is added to processed foods to enhance the flavor, but It is highly addictive and toxic to our bodies. It has been linked to behavioral issues in children. It is inflammatory to our system, which can lead to insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can show up as brain fog, joint pain, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep issues, muscle pain, digestive issues, and weight gain, to name a few. Chronic inflammation is closely linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic dysfunction, and even cancer.

My strategy for optimizing wellness from a functional standpoint emphasizes a whole food, nutrient-dense diet, while minimizing the intake of refined sugars and processed foods. By focusing on the consumption of unprocessed, whole foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, and phytonutrients, we can support metabolic health and mitigate the detrimental effects associated with sugar.

When I bake, is something I do often for my clients and family, I like to use dates, bananas, maple syrup, monk fruit, coconut sugar and local honey as sweeteners. As a rule of thumb, I use half of the sweetener amount recommended The funny thing is, people actually like the taste BETTER! They can taste the lemon, the chocolate, or the carrot cake. Plus, there is no glycemic crash after eating foods sweetened properly this way. I test my recipes on a few locals that have diabetes and they report back glowingly to me. If you want to level up your health in a big way, my suggestion is to give up all sugar for 21 days and see how you feel! Your taste buds begin to change after just 10 days. After the first 7 days the cravings you once had ought to be gone.

If you would like any more information on this or any other health topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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