What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

Have you heard that sugar is bad for you?  There is a lot of science now to back up what happens when you have too much sugar.  Let’s start off by talking about how the body deals with sugar.

When I am referring to sugar, I am not just talking about the white powder so let’s define exactly what I am referring to.  Everything that you eat breaks down into glucose (sugar) with the exception of meat or fat.  This includes foods like baked goods, crackers, fruit and fruit juice, cereals, vegetables, bread and so on.  It’s quite surprising how much sugar is in some foods that you wouldn’t think is high sugar like BBQ sauce and ketchup.   Soda pop is a killer for sugar.  It is 95% sugar!  In fact, one can of pop has about 16 teaspoons of sugar in it!  Candy is pure sugar as is some dried fruit.  And don’t be fooled by fruit.  Yes it is healthy for you and has lots of great immune boosting properties but it is still sugar so this is a case where it is appropriate to say the phrase that ‘too much of a good thing is bad’.  Juice is worse.  How much juice do you get when you squeeze one orange?  Not much.  So a full glass of orange juice is not only pure sugar but because you aren’t eating the whole fruit, you are losing the fiber which makes it much higher on the glycemic index.  It gets absorbed immediately in the blood stream and spikes your insulin very quickly.

Glucose is the number one source of energy for our bodies however overconsumption of glucose can wreak havoc.  Your insulin spikes to regulate your blood sugar.  Once you eat glucose, your body releases insulin, a hormone from your pancreas.  The insulin’s job is to absorb the excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels.  Today on average people are eating around 32 teaspoons of sugar every day.  A little sugar in your coffee, cereal for breakfast with a glass of juice, a sandwich for lunch and potatoes for dinner and you have over consumed sugar for the day.  This doesn’t include the dessert you ate or the mid-day or evening snacks.  It’s really not that hard to do.  For one day, count how many grams of sugar you eat.  You will be surprised how much you eat because most of us don’t think of the bread or potatoes as sugar.

What’s even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This highly processed form of sugar is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, which is why many food and beverage manufacturers decided to use it for their products, as it would allow them to save money in the long run.  The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar. It is actually a “hepatotoxin” and is metabolized directly into fat!

Some other devastating effects of too much sugar, particularly fructose in your diet include: liver damage (more so than alcohol), fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system, causes metabolic dysfunction, increases uric acid levels, causes diabetes and heart issues.

Sugar is addicting too.  The more sugar you eat the more you crave.  It takes only 48-72 hours to eliminate your cravings for sugar once you cut it out and you will gain a huge amount of energy.  I strongly recommend that you follow my low carb regime and not only will you lose weight, you will protect yourself from all of the damage that excess sugar will cause and you will feel so much better.

Cheesy Oven Baked Brie

Who doesn’t love baked brie?  Try this recipe and use some low carb gluten free crackers or even celery sticks for scooping up this delicious cheesy dish!

Ingredients:

  • 9 oz. Brie cheese or Camembert cheese
  • 2 oz. pecan nuts or walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or fresh thyme or fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the cheese on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or in a small nonstick baking dish.
  2. Mince garlic and chop the nuts and herbs coarsely. Mix all three together with the olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Place the nut mixture on the cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is warm and soft and nuts are toasted. Serve warm or lukewarm.

Recipe taken from Diet Doctor.com

What Exactly is Ketosis and is it Good or Bad For Me?

When you eat carbohydrates, they break down into glucose which is the main source of fuel for your bodies.  If however you eat very few carbs and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein can be converted to blood sugar), your body will look for alternate ways to get energy from and it starts to produce ketones.  Ketones are produced in the liver, from fat. They are then used as fuel in the body, including the brain. This is important because the brain is a hungry organ that consumes lots of energy every day.  It’s a common misconception that the brain needs carbs. The truth is that the brain happily burns carbs when you eat them. But if you don’t eat too many carbs, the brain is happy to burn ketones instead.  Your body cannot run on fat alone, it can only run on glucose…or ketones.

On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat.  Insulin levels become very low and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off.  This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, and studies show that ketogenic diets lead to more weight loss.  Being in ketosis also reduces hunger and cravings so you lose weight effortlessly and even reverse type 2 diabetes.  Also, by giving your body and brain an almost unlimited supply of energy, you can increase your physical and mental endurance.

Some people think that ketosis is extremely dangerous.  However, they might be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is completely different.  While ketoacidosis is a serious condition caused by uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a natural metabolic state.  In fact, ketosis and ketogenic diets have been studied extensively and shown to be very safe for long periods of time.

So how do you get your body into ketosis?  Cut the carbs!  Remember that everything, with the exception of meat and fat, is a carb which breaks down into glucose.  So how many carbs per day can you eat and still get into ketosis?  Approximately 20-50 NET carbs.  NET carbs are not the same as TOTAL carbs.  For example, fiber is a carb but the human body doesn’t absorb and it requires no insulin to metabolize and thus it has no glycemic response, so we subtract it from the total carb.  So if your bread has 30g total carbs but 5g of fiber, the net carb is only 25g.  You would be amazed at how many carbs you are eating if you are not counting or cutting them.  Other carbs that have no glycemic effect are sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol etc) which are used as a calorie free sugar substitute.

It is important to check your ketone levels by using Ketone sticks or “ketostix”.  You can get them in the drug stores.  You pee on the stick and it turns a color.  Basically the more ketones that are in the burning, the darker red-purple the stick will turn.  There is a chart on the bottle so you see if you are burning negative, small, medium or large.  If you are negative, you are not in ketosis and are not burning fat this way.  This is the best way to know if you are eating too many carbs or not eating enough good fats.  I find when I add MCT oil, I burn larger, faster.  You can put the MCT oil (which comes from coconut oil) in your shakes, drizzle it on steamed veggies or use it for your salad dressing with vinegar and spices.

So, get into ketosis…it’s good for you!

What to Look For in a Low Carb/Low Sugar Protein Bar

When hunger hits and it’s not meal time, I go for a protein bar.  Since I follow a low carb diet, I only buy bars but there are many very healthy bars that are not so low carb but are all natural, made from raw ingredients which include nuts and seeds, dates etc.  For the purpose of this article, I am going to stick with the low carb protein bars.  So here is a list of things to look for in a low carb, low sugar bar:

  • Protein content: This is the first thing I look at.  I look for a minimum of 20 grams of protein.  The higher the protein the more filling it will be and will keep you fuller for a longer time which ultimately reduces your  cravings as well.  Protein has a high thermic effect which means it requires a lot of energy to break it down. This means that up to 30% of the calories you consume from protein are used in the digestive process.  Most proteins come from milk and whey so they are not good for anyone who has a lactose intolerance.  For those of you with this issue, you would have to choose a vegan or vegetarian protein bar
  • Low sugar/Low carb: This is the 2nd thing I look for.  You would be surprised how much sugar are in some bars.  Most of the vegan bars are high carb but they are good carbs.  So to get a low carb bar you will most likely have to get one made from dairy/whey.  It is important to understand the difference  between total carbs and NET carbs.  Most low carb bars use sugar alcohol (xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol) etc.  Sugar alcohols always end with “itol” where sugars end with “ose” such as sucrose, fructose etc.  Sugar alcohols cannot be absorbed so they pass through the system and do not have a glycemic response, meaning that they do not require insulin to be metabolized.  Also, many low carb bars contain a high amount of fiber which like sugar alcohols, are not absorbed by the human body.  They pass right through, so…we can subtract them since neither of them have a glycemic response.  As an example:  Let’s say the bar has 28g protein, 17g fiber and 10g sugar alcohol.  28-17-10=1 NET carb.  This one carb left over has a glycemic response and is the only carb you count for your daily carb amounts.
  • High fiber: As mentioned above, the higher the fiber content the lower the total carbs. Also, fiber is great for blood sugar balance
  • When you’re choosing a protein bar that is quite low in total carb count, then they often will contain sugar alcohols. While many people will have no problem tolerating these, some people experience bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and bad gas as sugar alcohols draw water into the bowel. You will have to try them out for yourself to see if you react this way, but if you don’t these can be a very helpful fat loss aid. If you suffer from chronic constipation, they may be helpful for you

There are many high protein bars that are low carb and low sugar.  You have to learn how to read the labels to know.  Some of the low carb/sugar bars would include the Quest bars, B-Up bars and Oh Yeah ONE bars but there are many, many more to choose from.  Enjoy a guilt free snack that provides great protein and fiber without the guilt of carbs!

 

 

Low Carb Diets Equal Better Sex!

I have heard from numerous people that once they go on a low carb diet, their sex drive increases dramatically.  At first I wondered why but then after thinking about it I can name a few reasons:

  • Following a low carb diet means that you are eating more fats (good fats). Fats are responsible for the manufacture of hormones including testosterone and estrogen.  Increased testosterone means increased sex drive
  • An eye-opening study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that sugar overloading shuts off a gene that helps control estrogen and testosterone levels, zapping your sex drive
  • Good fats provide more energy than any other food group so you feel more energized to engage in sex
  • Low carb diets elevate mood which puts you in the mood
  • High blood sugar negatively effects mood, energy level, and, hence- interest in sex
  • Diets high in sugar also cause fatigue, making active sex seem draining. High levels of carbs and sex just don’t mix
  • Like sex, low carb diets are stimulating. Eating the right amount of carbs creates incredible energy
  • Eating too much glucose and fructose causes us to gain fat which in turn has been shown to shut off the sex genes
  • Chronic high blood sugar from your old way of eating contributes to neuropathy (nerve damage) and impaired blood circulation, both of which lead to a decrease or delay in erections, lubrication, genital sensation and orgasm
  • When you lose weight, you feel better physically and emotionally. You have a new body and are less inhibited
  • Excitement about your results and achievements causes an even stronger drive for enjoying life and ultimately the love-making in it

Bottom line is that dieting impacts both physical and mental health.  You need the energy to have sex and if you are not in the right frame of mind you will not desire sex.  So, follow the low carb diet for just one month and see what happens to your libido!  It’s certainly worth a try don’t you think?

Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese

I got this recipe from foodnetwork and will absolutely try this one!

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt, as needed, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, plus 1/2 cup for topping the casserole
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Special equipment: 8 by 8-inch baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with salt.

Spray the baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Transfer the cauliflower to the baking dish and set aside.

Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Recipe courtesy George Stella

More Info On Low Carb Diets From Dr. Mercola

I ran across this article from Dr. Mercola website while searching what doctors think of low carb diets and had to share it with you.  See below to see his opinion on a low carb diet and I will say that I totally respect his opinions!  Please know that this entire article below is taken from his website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/31/high-fat-low-carb-diet-benefits.aspx

If you want to read more, click the link above…

“Your body can burn both carbs and fat, but your body will burn carbs first. As long as you’re eating carbs, your body will try to burn those first. They’re like the bully cutting in line. You may just think of them as kind of a throw-away nutrient too, because your body cannot store high levels of carb.

You have to try to oxidize them and burn them first. But if you’re carb intolerant, which is highly prevalent in this country, you can’t burn carbs, by definition, very well.

Your body then only has one alternative, and that’s to convert the carbs you eat into fat. That happens to a greater extent to folks who are insulin resistant or carb intolerant. That really sets the stage for a lot of metabolic problems. Again coming back to how do you train the body to burn more fat; it all starts with removing the availability of carbohydrate because, as long as it’s there, it’s going to take precedence, and will simultaneously inhibit burning of fat.

These are very sensitive and exquisite mechanisms in place for this to work. You eat just a single meal of carbs and your fat-burning shuts down right away.

This is why a low- nonfiber carb diet works so well to shift fuel use over to fat. You restrict the amount of glucose and starches that you’re consuming, and your body naturally shifts over to preferring fat for fuel. It does take some time to adapt to that. Your cells have to shift over their machinery to handle the increased levels of fat and lipid-based fuels. It takes a matter of weeks to get that adaptation.

But once it’s there, they’re fairly robust adaptations that don’t just go away. This is why there is an adaptation period to a low-carb diet. It can be disrupted though if you reintroduce carbs. But a lot of the adaptations do remain.”

Finding Your Ideal Carb Level

According to Volek, a level of non-fiber carbs that allows you to enter into nutritional ketosis (a metabolic state associated with an increased production of ketones in your liver; it’s the biological reflection of being able to burn fat) is on average about 50 grams per day or less of digestible or absorbable carbohydrates. However, we all vary how we respond to the same food, so this is not an exact recommendation.

Some people can be in a full fat-burning state with full ketosis at a level of non-fiber carbs that’s higher than 50 grams; maybe 70 or 80 grams. Others, especially if you’re insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes, may require less than 40 grams or even 30 grams per day.

Again, it bears repeating that when we say carbohydrates, we’re referring to non-fiber carbs only. If you look at the nutrition facts on a processed food package, it will list total carbs, and that’s not what we’re talking about. Don’t get confused about this or you’ll get really nervous. You do need carbs, but you need most all of them from vegetables.

By volume, vegetables are not very calorie-dense. You could have an 85 percent fat diet, and the volume of the fat would be one-tenth the volume of the vegetables you’re eating.

To find your personal carb limit, it’s important to actually measure your ketones, which can be done either through urine, breath, or blood. This will give you an objective measure of whether or not you’re truly in ketosis, rather than just counting the grams of carbohydrates you consume.

“That even varies within a person over time,” Volek says. “You may be able to tolerate more carbs when you’re in your 20s, but suddenly now you’re in middle age and the same level of carbs is resulting in a few extra inches on your waist, your blood sugars are creeping up, you now have prediabetes, or worse.

The appropriate level of carb for an individual is bit of a moving target, but it is a very important element to personalizing a diet, which I think is fundamental to this idea of personalized nutrition. It’s finding the appropriate level of carb for you at any given point in your lifespan that allows you to maintain health.”

Research has shown that ketosis is a very safe and a therapeutic metabolic state to be in, especially if you’re diabetic or suffering from carb intolerance. But there are people who are naturally very insulin sensitive and carb tolerant that don’t need to be in ketosis to thrive. So there’s certainly room for flexibility, depending on your individual situation.”

Dr. Mercola