When Gertrude Stein wrote those now famous words in 1913 she was, basically, telling us that “A thing is what it is.” For the most part, we would agree. The thing of the thing is, when it comes to Sugar there are so many variants that we have to contend with that we might be eating a ton more than we have any idea of. We thought it might be beneficial for us to share with you a little bit about Sugar so that you will be better armed when you involve yourself with the “Sugar Wars!”
One of the main issues that is particularly detrimental to a Diabetic is the concept of “Added Sugars.” On the most rudimentary level, Added Sugar is simply Sugar that is added to food during processing in an attempt to enhance its shelf life, flavor, texture or other properties. The most often used Sugars are “Simple Sugars,” such as Sucrose, Glucose, or Fructose. Less common examples utilized include maltose and galactose. Due to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, the labels on food and beverages must reflect the amount of added Sugar.
Once we realize that there is “Sugar Added” more often than not, we need to understand how each sugar affects your body. For example, Glucose can be metabolized by virtually every cell in your body, while Fructose is predominantly metabolized in the Liver.
Perhaps table sugar, which is Sucrose, is the most popular and prevalent type of Sugar. Typically it is taken from Sugar Cane or Sugar Beets. We find it in such everyday favorites as Ketchup, Ice Cream, Breakfast Cereals, Candy, Canned Fruit, Pastries, Fruit Juices, Cookies and Soda. Also, Sucrose appears naturally in many fruits and plants. It is comprised of 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose.
To give you some idea of how often we encounter the Glucose/Fructose combination, we need to realize that it can be found in Blackstrap Molasses, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Honey, Caramel, Grape Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Fruit Juice, and Confectioner’s Sugar to name just a few. In fact, there are in excess of 30 sources where we find this combination, and another 20-plus sources that have either Glucose OR Fructose separately.
Now that we know a little bit more about who the enemies in the Sugar Wars are, it will be more than a little beneficial to have a Battle Plan for fighting the War! There are three major strategies for combatting Sugar Cravings, which we have listed here in no particular order.
- Go for a Brisk Walk Outside – This is doubly beneficial: It releases endorphins, chemicals in the body that makes us “feel good,” and as a result minimizes the craving. And, when we get away from the house we have limited access to the Sugar items we are hoping to avoid!
- Eat Something Healthy and Filling – Understanding that a “Craving” and “Hunger” are different explains how over-whelming a combination of the two can be. It is extremely beneficial to keep an armory of healthy snacks on hand, especially those high in Protein, to rely on when the Sugar Cravings come.
- Take a Hot Shower – Not hot enough to scald you, but hot enough to be right on the verge of being uncomfortable. Stay in the shower for 5-10 minutes. Though this may not make much sense, but the reality is that it does work!
Other things that might help combat Sugar Cravings include, but are not limited to:
- Drink a Glass of Water
- Eat a Piece of Fruit
- Eat Protein (Nuts, Cheese, etc.)
- Take a Multi-Vitamin
- Don’t Starve Yourself
Make no mistake about it, if you are a Diabetic you are at War with Sugar, and need to do everything you can to win just as many battles as you possibly can!
If you, or someone you know, needs help in managing their Diabetes, please call AVEON HEALTH at 480-300-4663 to make an appointment with a member of our staff and allow them to escort you down the path to an improved quality of life for you and your loved ones!
This Blog was written, in part, with information gleaned from the following sources: