Optimal Weight Part 4: Sugar
Have you begun a diet plan with a friend and they lost weight and you didn’t? The answer is probably in your genes! As a woman physician who struggles with this very issue, it has been my life crusade to share my knowledge and personal experience of the often-overlooked successful Multistep Approach to Optimal Weight. Your unique DNA sequences determine what percent of each macronutrient (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) that you are built genetically to metabolize efficiently. This DNA information regarding your brain neurotransmitters, your proper food balance and custom exercise recipe begin your personalized program. The DNA combined with your thyroid function, sugar ingestion, gut health, food allergies/sensitivities, hormone levels and vitamins amino acid balance. It is an interconnected wheel and each component should be addressed in order to achieve lifetime optimal weight balance.
Current research shows that sugar is highly addictive, and some doctors are calling it the "new nicotine". Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are both void of nutrients and crowd out other nutrient-dense foods that your body needs to thrive.
Sugar and high fructose corn syrup do not fill you up or satisfy your appetite. Eating naturally occurring healthy protein and fat not only satisfies your appetite, it also contributes to healthy organs and glowing skin.
Excess sugar consumption can spike your blood sugar out of the normal healthy range setting off a cascade of insulin ups and downs, which can cause you to feel even more hungry, have mood swings, store excess fat, and lead to weight gain, metabolic syndrome and even type 2 diabetes. The brain actually craves more and more sugar , thus the addiction cycle.
Not all sugars are created equal, an apple contains about 18 grams of sugar; however, that sugar is combined with fiber to slow down its absorption, and contains antioxidants that contribute to your overall health. Quite different from eating a cookie that has the same grams of sugar but would cause an insulin spike and not give you any health benefits.
To reduce your sugar intake:
1. Drink a glass of purified water before indulging, as sugar cravings can be a sign of dehydration.
2. Eat low glycemic fruits like blueberries, apples, watermelon and cantaloupe, which are balanced with fiber.
3. Use a natural sweetener that inherently comes with some vitamins and minerals, like raw local honey or organic grade A maple syrup. Always avoid artificial sweeteners.
4. Snack foods are the most common sources of excessive sugar, so eat balanced vegetable, protein and healthy fat at meals to decrease later urges.
5. Reach for protein, healthy fats and fiber-rich foods, especially for breakfast. Whole foods like beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds, eggs, spinach and tuna are loaded with nutrients. You will feel satisfied so you're less likely to crave excess sugar. Aim for at least 15 grams of protein at each meal and incorporate about a teaspoon of a healthy fat and some type of fiber, too.
Stay tuned for Part 5: Hormones and Optimal Weight.