Health

Sugar Bombs

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The irony is, we cannot live without sugars. Sugars, carbohydrates, are the daily fuel our body uses for the beating of the heart, the filtering by the liver and kidneys, the thinking by our brain, the lifting of weights, the play we engage in… Even if you ate nothing but steaks all day every day, your liver would still take some of that protein and fat and convert it to sugar as needed.

It gets even murkier when you look at prices of food: in the grand scheme of things, carbs tend to cost the least, and proteins the most.

Now to defuse the bomb.

Remember, the rapid rise in blood sugar levels is at the heart of many unhealthy things. The key therefore is to slow down the rate of absorption. This can be done in several ways: First, fiber. The more fiber a sugar is bound to, the slower the release of sugar, the less ‘explosive’ the effect. Naturally occurring fiber in fruits help make fruit sugars less damaging in this regard.

Second, balance. Most people know the concept of eating a balanced meal, but what about the same idea for snacks? Instead of eating the piece of fruit by itself (carbs), have it with some cheese (protein and fat) or small handful of raw nuts (fat, protein, AND fiber).

Third, re-think the entire concept of sugars and carbs. It goes without saying stop eating processed white sugar; but it also needs to be said stay away from all simple, processed carbs, and start thinking of a side dish of broccoli as carbs – because that’s exactly what most vegetables are. Carbohydrates, but so complex they don’t taste sweet.

You need carbohydrates in your diet – carbs in the form of fiber, sugar, and starch. Just rearrange how much you eat of each type: fiber mostly, some starch, and as little sugar as possible. And remember to balance things out – as little sugar as possible with a fair amount of protein and/or fat.

After all, Mama did say ‘all things in moderation.’

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About Dr. Michael Dimayuga

M.D., Internal Medicine Specialist - Clinical Instructor at Yale University 1990-1991 Chief Resident; Griffin Hospital Yale University School of Medicine, and more than 25 years practicing internal medicine. NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Premier Diploma 2006.

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