By Rhonda Mulford Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Vice President Kirkman Group, Inc.
The Case Against Sugar
Whether sugar and not fat or other factors are the main cause of many chronic health problems is controversial. This debate is quickened by the compelling case that Gary Taubes has made in his recent best-selling book “The Case Against Sugar,” in which he claims that sugar and not fat is the root cause of many of our leading health issues.
Americans Eat Too Much Sugar
What’s not controversial is that American’s eat way too much sugar. According to Euromonitor, a global market research firm, the average American consumes 126 grams of sugar a day(Just three, 12 oz. cans of Coke), which is twice the average sugar intake of all 54 countries in the study. It’s also more than twice what the World Health Organization recommends for daily intake, which is roughly 50 grams of sugar for someone of normal weight.
A study published in April 2014 by JAMA: Internal Medicine, found that most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugar (sugar or syrup that is added to foods when processed) a day. This far exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended limits of 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
Added Sugar is Particularly Bad for You
The type of sugar that is often added to processed food is high-fructose corn syrup which is generally cheaper than other forms of sweeteners. Fructose, unlike glucose that can be metabolized by any cell in the body, is exclusively processed by the liver where it produces fats and is a major cause of liver damage and other metabolic problems.
Why Do We Crave Sugar?
There’s another popular theory that sugar begets sugar cravings. The speculation is that sugar, like other carbohydrates, releases the feel-good brain chemical serotonin to stimulate cravings. Researchers also say that our appetite for sugar may be hard-wired since sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth.
An overlooked source of help for kicking the sugar habit is the use of nutritional supplements. Here is our list of 6 nutritional supplements that can help reduce your need for sugar:
Lipoic acid helps turn glucose into energy and helps stabilize your blood sugar levels, which can help you to hold off from snacking a few hours after a meal.
If your body isn’t utilizing carbohydrates properly, it can make you want to eat more carbohydrates. A good vitamin B complex will help with carbohydrate metabolism and curb your carb cravings.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oils are well-known for supplying omega-3 fatty acids, which can help support cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that fish oil can also increase insulin sensitivity that allows the body to use glucose for immediate energy. When insulin doesn’t respond normally – allowing sugars to enter cells of the body – you can experience insulin resistant hunger rather than physical hunger.
This supplement moves fatty acids into your cells so you get more of your energy from burning stored fats. When the body can use fat as the fuel it burns longer keeping you more satisfied, so there are less cravings for food.
To make insulin function effectively in the body to balance blood sugar levels requires sufficient magnesium. Some say that chocolate cravings may be a result of the body seeking the nutrient it lacks from chocolate, especially dark chocolate, many varieties which have high magnesium content.
CoQ10 works synergistically with other antioxidants to elevate cellular levels of vitamins C, E, and glutathione and to help regulate blood sugar and enhance insulin sensitivity. (See explanation in #3 Fish Oil.) CoQ10 acts similarly to acetyl-l-carnitine in that it assists in energy production within the mitochondria (See explanation in #4 Acetyl L-Carnitine).