Life On Purpose

Day 10 : What Makes You Fat June 26, 2013

Fat isn’t making you fat. What? That’s right: fat isn’t making you fat. (More on fats later).

Sugar is making you fat. But it doesn’t appear how you think it does. It is a sneaky little thing that you will only catch by label reading. Glance over the labels in your fridge and pantry. Look at items from this list:

Drinks other than water
Milk
Yogurt
Granola bars
Cereal
Prepackaged, flavored oatmeal
Cookies
Rice cakes
Pudding mix
Jello mix
Peanut butter
Trail mix
Muffin mix
Pancake mix
Pasta sauce
Ketchup
Barbeque sauce
Dressings
Marinades

As you begin to look over all the added sugar and high fructose corn syrup in your pantry, you are seeing the silent killer that you never think about.

Think about it this way: God designed our bodies to process sugar with an organ called the pancreas. It releases insulin to process sugar according to the amount of sugar in your blood stream. The pancreas, just like the heart, liver, kidneys and brain, is aging. When a person drinks alcohol in excess on a regular basis, it ages and damages the liver, making it difficult for the organ to function properly. When you consume sugar too often, your pancreas works overtime in the same manner. It doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty. It will give out before you die if you overuse it: this is called Diabetes Type 2 in the medical world. Now don’t get me wrong-it isn’t that simple. Diabetes is a multi-factorial disease and there are other risk factors beside your diet. I’m just going to focus on what you CAN control.

Sugar and Chronic Disease

It’s not just you.

Start by reading labels for specific criteria:

1. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-it causes blood sugar spikes and it is usually made from GMO/nonorganic corn. It is poison if you ask me. Just don’t buy stuff made with this.

2. Corn syrup- only one notch less dangerous than HFCS. Avoid it.

3. Sugar-this one is inevitable sometimes. Be conscious of how much you consume. Look for these names:

Agave nectar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Dextrose
Evaporated cane juice
Fructose
Fruit juice concentrates
Glucose
High-fructose corn syrup
Honey
Invert sugar
Lactose
Maltose
Malt syrup
Molasses
Raw sugar
Sucrose
Sugar
Syrup

4. Compare brands of like items for the least sugar grams. BUT always choose sugar or fruit juice concentrate sweetened over HFCS (This is now completely off limits. It is killing you. I know the truth hurts.)

5. Sweeteners for your cooking and baking should be whole foods:

Bananas
Raw honey
100% maple syrup
Stevia

As a side note, one thing that I do to reduce added sugar in my diet is to buy unsweetened items and sweeten them myself. For example, you can make a bowl of oatmeal, cook with unsweetened almond milk, add protein powder and a tad bit of pure maple syrup, cinnamon and chopped walnuts. Fast, easy and WAY less sugar! Another example is yogurt: I buy plain nonfat Greek yogurt, sweeten with a little honey or maple syrup, add chopped fruit or blueberries, nuts, vanilla and cinnamon. It may take time to gradually reduce how much sweetener you add. Experts say quitting sugar cold turkey is best, but I can honestly say I have had success with reduction in cravings and a palate change by gradually cutting back. Either way: make it happen!

Lets talk starch. The standard American diet (SAD) is full of it. Burgers need buns, the chicken needs a sandwich, meat always goes with potatoes, blah blah blah. How can you eliminate that?

1. My favorite go-to lunch is to make a protein salad. I use leftover meat from dinner or eggs and mix them up with greens and tomatoes and avocados. You can vary this easily according to what you have on hand and what your tastes are. You can even do bean salad or tuna salad (use plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo).

2. If you get high quality meat and season it with herbs and some sea salt, you will discover flavor you haven’t ever experienced. I’m talking about a burger that can sit on a big bed of greens and be absolutely mouth-watering! Don’t knock it till you try it!

3. You might want to give the 21 Day Sugar Detox a go:

21DSD

4. Put more veggies on your plate: they nourish and satisfy. More on basics of real food prep coming soon.

5. Stop buying bread, bagels, crackers, etc. Just don’t bring it in your house and, guess what? You won’t eat it! The upside to this: when you go out to eat (hopefully not more than once a week, otherwise you’ll need to implement these principles when you eat out too) you can really enjoy the high carb treats without guilt knowing how hard you’ve worked at home.

Your meals should be based upon high quality protein, veggies and high quality (truly-label must say “whole grain” before each grain ingredient) whole grains (that’s still debatable). Sugar is killing you and making you fat. Time to go back to your picture, measurements and goals. This is where the rubber meets the road and you will maximize your potential: quit the sugar!

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