Hey Sugar

Okay let’s go; Every where you read, someone is telling us to eat less sugar, cut the carb, kick the starch; Atkins, Zone, South Beach, all attacks on sugar!  Why?

Here is the “skinny” on sugar and how you can make some healthy choices regarding the temptation.

When talking about sugar in our diet we need to expand beyond candies and sweets and include refined cards such as white breads/bagels, pastas, rice, potatoes, fruit juice and sports drinks.  Let’s face it, while the sugar content on the label may be low or hidden, that serving of white rice will make your blood sugar rise like a giant pixie stick!

A rise in blood sugar triggers your pancreas to release insulin into the body.  Insulin is a hormone that, while efficient at bringing our sugar binges back in check, it also shuttles nutrients, like that giant spud of starch, straight into your bodies’ muscle and liver glycogen stores.  Now, here is the bad news.  After the supd is stored as glycogen, it’s only a matter of hours before you body converts it to fat and … slaps it onto your thighs and/or butt.  Before you know it, you have enough energy in your cheeks to run your A/C for the summer!

Aside from the portly build you gain from your excess blood sugars, carb and sugar binges also trigger the appetite, making you feel hungry even after plenty of calories have been consumed.  Ever notice how after a pasta dish you might feel more like desert than after that T-bone?  Combat this by getting your main source of calories from protein and healthy fats.  These slow the storage of carbs and give you a full satisfied feeling.  Let the cards take the side spot where they belong.

Here are some tips on how to eat smart and keep the blood sugar and therefore insulin in check.

  1. Eat 5 – 7 times a day each time should contain a lean source of protein.
  2. Eliminate all “white” cards from your diet. Trade your wonder bread for whole wheat and your baked potato for a sweet potato (hold the brown sugar).
  3. After lunch, keep all carbs, with the exception of greens, to a minimum.
  4. Keep smart sweets such as sugar-free jello and popsicles around to satisfy cravings.
  5. Give yourself a couple “cheat” meals each week to keep from a total binge, wrecking your efforts.

For more ideas and help, ask your trainer for a food diary and turn them in to be graded.  Even if you slip here and there, accountability is the best way to adhere to a program.

See you in the gym!  And don’t skip your cardio!

Brian King, ACE-CPT