10 March 2010

Psssst . . . There's sugar in there.

I thought this article was worth re-posting, since many of us are attempting to cut out sugar from our diets. I had a bit of a scare myself last month when I suffered a terrible episode of hypoglycemia. My energy level dropped so drastically that I literally had to get off my bike and sit down on the side of the road. Since then, I've been working very hard to bring my glucose levels down and energy levels back up.

Incidentally, keeping glucose levels down is also a sure-fire way of taking excess weight off.

This comes from Dr. William Davis' Heart Scan Blog

You non-diabetics who check your postprandial blood sugars already know: There are hidden sources of sugar in so many foods.

By now, everybody should know that foods like breakfast cereals, breads, bagels, pretzels, and crackers cause blood sugar to skyrocket after you eat them. But sometimes you eat something you thought was safe only to find you're showing blood sugars of 120, 130, 150+ mg/dl.

Where can you find such "stealth" sources of sugars that can screw up your postprandial blood sugars, small LDL, inflammation, blood pressure, and cause you to grow visceral fat? Here's a few:

Balsamic vinaigrette
Many commercially-prepared balsamic vinaigrettes, especially the "light" varieties, have 3 or more grams carbohydrates per tablespoon. Generous use of a sugar-added vinaigrette can therefore provide 12+ grams carbs. (Some, like Emeril's and Wish Bone, also contain high-fructose corn syrup.)

I learned this lesson the hard way by taking my blood sugar after having a hamburger, turkey burger, or vegetarian burger (without bun): blood sugar would go way up. The effect is due to bread crumbs added to the meat or soy.

Tomato soup
If it were just tomatoes, it would still be somewhat high in sugars. But commercially-prepared tomato soup often contains added high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and wheat flour, bringing sugar totals to 12 to 20+ grams per half-cup. A typical 2-cup bowl of tomato soup can have upwards of 80 grams of sugar.

Sure, granola contains a lot of fiber. But most granolas come packed with sugars in various forms. One cup of Kellogg's Low-fat Granola with Raisins contains an incredible 72 grams (net) carbohydrates, of which 25 grams are sugar.

Given modern appetites and serving sizes, you can see that it is very easy to get carried away and, before you know it, get exposed to extraordinary amounts of sugar and carbohydrates eating foods you thought were healthy.

And don't be fooled by claims of "natural" sugar. Sugar is sugar--Just check your blood sugar and you'll see. So raw cane sugar, beet sugar, and brown sugar have the same impact as white table sugar. Honey, maple syrup, and agave? They're worse (due to fructose).


Seth said...

Steph, have you read Dr. Mercola's recent article on sugar: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/sugar-may-be-bad-but-this_b_463655.html

It's an incredibly illuminating look at how really damaging a specific kind of sugar, fructose, can be to your healthy.

Sugar is, at once, not really a challenge for me and ALSO, obviously, the MAJOR challenge. Even though I eat relatively low amounts of sugar, my blood sugars will always be higher than the normal person. Before I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, though, I ate TONS of sugar. One of the blessings of this illness was that it forced me to reduce my sugar intake for the first time in my life. As a consequence, I felt a new balance.

Stephanie said...

That's a great article, Seth. Thanks for forwarding it. He's always been a bit ahead of the curve, that Dr. Mercola. I remember when he came out with the book, The No-Grain Diet, and I thought he was nuts. Turned out that he was really on to something quite significant.

My only criticism of his article is that he suggests switching to organic cane sugar, which I don't see as being much better in terms of insulin response, but I suppose it is still less damaging than the HFCS.

Sugar has, and always will be, a huge problem for me. I'm not pre-diabetic but I respond to sugar with major highs and mostly major crashes. I can't imagine the burden it has placed on my heart, my adrenals, and the rest of my organs that respond through inflammation.

Stephanie said...

Just out of curiosity, Seth, what would happen if you cut all sugars and high glycemic foods out of your diet? Does that help your type of diabetes?