So what’s all the fuss about sugar, haven’t we been consuming it for years. It wasn’t such a problem in the 50’s and 60’s, I remember always stopping on the way home to pick a ‘lucky bag’ of sweets up from the local bakery. So what’s changed? There are so many types of sugar and sugar substitutes, glucose and fructose are the most common and if an ingredient ends in ‘ose you can be pretty sure it is a type of sugar.
Glucose: Glucose is a simple sugar that your body recognises. Cells use it as a primary source of energy, so when you eat glucose, it’s actually helpful and when it’s broken down it triggers the pancreas to produce insulin.
Here comes the science – the brain acknowledges the increase of insulin as our body metabolizing food, and tells you that you’re less hungry. The really important thing is that when we eat glucose our brain sees it as a natural process and can tell us when we’ve had enough to eat.
Glucose plays a part in many processes in the body and although it helps by stimulating the pancreas to create insulin it also causes the liver to produce a small amount of VLDL – Very low density lipoprotein, which has been linked to heart disease. Only about 1 out of 24 calories from glucose turned in to VLDL by the liver. Other ingredients can cause far greater levels of VLDL, leading to greater health worries.
Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Fructose occurs naturally in fruit and this isn’t really a problem, the fructose in fruit doesn’t make us feel as full as glucose but it is combined with fibre and the fibre plays an active part in telling us when we have had enough to eat.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), High fructose cane sugar and sucrose are basically the same thing because they’re highly sweet and contain a large amount of fructose. Sucrose is 50% fructose and HFCS is 55% fructose, the rest is made up of glucose. Both ingredients are widely used in processed foods, the high levels of fructose without fibre cause a problem as fructose can only be metabolised by the liver.
This means that a greater proportion of the calories available have to be processed by the liver – around 3 times more than glucose, making a higher production of VLD, (the bad cholesterol mentioned earlier) and fat.
Making things worse eating fructose negatively changes the way your brain recognizes your food intake. Leptin is a hormone made by fat tissue that acts on the brain to regulate food intake and body weight, keeping your appetite in check and your metabolism working efficiently. The brain begins to lower leptin levels in the blood stream, these should determine our appetite – where a healthy level of leptin creates satiety, a drop in leptin stimulates the desire to keep eating.
As a result, you keep eating without necessarily realizing you’re full. For example, a fizzy drink containing high amounts of fructose will do little to make you think you’re full even though you’re taking in large amounts of calories. Your brain doesn’t get the message that you really consumed much of anything and so it still thinks you’re still hungry.
Fasting (24 – 72 hours) and very low calorie diets may cause a lowering of leptin levels, even when no weight has been lost. It can also be reduced by physical training. A drop in leptin levels may also cause a reduction in thyroid activity. Yoyo dieting can cause a decrease in metabolism and someone who has never dieted is more likely to have a stable metabolism.
Getting sugar from natural sources makes sense and combining it with a healthy eating program such as the Rejuvenated re-set program can be beneficial in keeping weight stable. You can download it free by registering on our web page and clicking your personal account