You may already know the answer for yourself! In a perfect world, sugar consumption might be zero refined sugar, and only a little fruit or naturally occurring sugar like honey or maple syrup. Non-sugar sweeteners that are healthiest would be Xylitol (made from birch trees) Stevia (from a South American plant leaf) or Monk Fruit.
But we live in the real world and refined sugar is more plentiful than sand on a beach, it seems. So, how do you know when you are eating too much?
First of all, there is no question that Type II Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/02/quantity-of-sugar-in-food-supply-linked-to-diabetes-rates-researcher-says.html
What this study showed is that you can cut calorie consumption and lose weight and inches. But it is only by cutting carb consumption that you can cut down your insulin and triglyceride (blood fat) levels.
Sugar and carbs (think flour, other bread grains and pastas) are passed into the blood stream through the intestinal walls in the form of glucose. Glucose levels trigger the pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin knocks on the “door” of your cells and gets the cells to allow some glucose to pass through the cell wall as fuel for the cell processes. Each type of cell has a job to do, and they all need fuel to act as eye cells or liver cells or skin cells.
In Type II Diabetes the pancreas does not run out of insulin. Instead the cells become resistant and refuse to open the door, kind of like how you would feel if the same salesman knocked on your door three times a day. The result is that there is too much sugar roaming around with no place to park, so the sugar gets shuttled to the liver and made into triglycerides, or fat. That fat gets stored at your waist, hips or thighs. And, without much sugar making it into your cells as fuel, you will feel tired.
Too much of any food group (except pure fat) can be converted into blood sugar. So, over-eating is also a risk factor, just as it is for Diabetes. There are carbs in dairy products, nuts and legumes, too, and these can also easily be converted into glucose (sugar). Our digestive processes break down every thing we eat into the following: proteins break down to amino acids and peptides, fats break down to fatty acids, carbs break down to glucose (sugar). Food also contains nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber.
Sugar circulating in the blood causes inflammation, which damages arteries and may be one of the prime causes of heart disease. Cancer cells love sugar. They don’t love green vegetables, healthy fats and protein, which act to balance blood sugar.
So, the first sign you are eating too much sugar is excess fat at waist, hips or thighs (or any place else you don’t want it.) The second sign is that you are tired, despite a full night’s sleep. Or you may be tired because you are waking up in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep.
Feeling okay most of the day and then crashing at three of four o’clock is another sign you are eating too much sugar.
Too much sugar can cause frequent urge to urinate. Of course, this may also be a sign of irritation or a beginning infection, but if you chronically need to urinate often, day or night, check your sugar intake.
Frequent urination will cause dehydration, so excessive thirst may follow. And skin may become very dry. Sugar will break down collagen in your skin, so deep wrinkles on the face is another symptom of high sugar intake. Puffy ankles, with purple veins and damaged skin, is also a sign.
Indigestion may be a sign, because sugar will alter the ph (acid/alkaline balance) of the stomach, so that stomach acid is not high enough to digest protein and other foods. Also, minerals will not absorb if stomach acid is too low, so other deficiencies can develop, such as osteoporosis or cavities in the teeth.
Brain fog is another symptom of excess sugar. The brain is very dependent on balanced blood sugar, as is nerve flow. Unwarranted irritability is a sign of sugar imbalance. If you are crabby in the morning, consider what you ate the day before. Don’t skip breakfast, but eat protein early in the day.
Nerve healing does not take place if there is too much sugar in the blood, and that is why Diabetics are at risk for blindness and leg wounds that won’t heal.
These are just a few of the signs, but you can see that sugar is at the root of many common and serious health problems.
It is recommended that women eat no more than 24 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar daily, and men only 36 grams 9 teaspoons). That is the equivalent of one cookie a day for a woman. Most Americans are eating that much sugar just for breakfast if they are eating grains and cereals. One soda contains 39 grams. Remember it is not just sugar itself, but also breads and pastas and rice that break down to glucose and raise sugar levels in the blood.
Doing a 10-Day Blood Sugar program can break the sugar habit. Eating more fat and increasing minerals may help. Drinking more water and herbal tea helps to keep you hydrated.
Just like alcohol, you have to take sugar habits one day at a time. If you decide to have a non-sugar day (think no desserts, treats or breads/pasta) keep yourself busy. Eat plenty of protein and fat so you feel satisfied. Know that it may be a real challenge, and don’t get discouraged. Bodies are like children. They can throw tantrums if you deny something they want. Remember who is in charge, and that constant indulgence does not build health, character or confidence. Take it slowly. Parties and events may be extra-stressful and tempting. Read the labels for carbohydrate content of the foods you buy in the market and be prepared to be shocked.
Get your hormone balance checked. Weak adrenals may be caused by excess sugar over time, but taking adrenal support may improve your stamina to change your diet and lifestyle. Menopause or pre-menstrual days are particularly prime for sweet and chocolate cravings. Chocolate made with stevia may see you through. I like unsweetened carob. Still has a lot of carbs, so not a free lunch.
Not everyone has the same response to carbs and sugar. And not everyone who is thin or skinny is healthy. But maintaining a healthy weight is partially reflected in your hip waist ratio. If your waist is smaller than your hips, that is a good sign. A more definitive test is from blood work. Check your fasting glucose, which should be under 100. The A1C number is another test for risk of Diabetes and that number should be below 6. Email me if you would like more information about this. firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me know if you are concerned and we can make a personalized program for you. As with most other aspects of living, there can be a long-term reward for your short-term sacrifices.
Life is much sweeter when you are healthy and feeling good. So, treat yourself well.