Sugar and Your Body: Where it’s Hiding, What it’s Doing, How You Can Cut Back



Credit: Flickr Commons, antiapathy

In Eve Schaub’s book, “Year of No Sugar: A Memoir,” she chronicles her and her family’s 12-month no-sugar experiment and the positive results it yielded. One of the centerpieces of this book that we want to highlight is what Schaub (and increasing number of others) is so passionate about: Bringing to light her personal realization that sugar is in everything. Everything.

Where is sugar hiding?

Part of Schaub’s findings, post decision to cut sugar, came out of her dedication to reading food labels. She realized the sweet stuff was used as filler for so many everyday food products, sneaking its way into every meal. There is an alarming amount of common, everyday food items that sugar makes its way into that you wouldn’t think of. Think we’re joking? Next time you’re in the grocery store, flip over a few of these products:

  • Yogurt
  • Flavored coconut waters
  • Energy bars
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salsa
  • Pasta sauces
  • Dried fruits
  • Lunch meat
  • Breads
  • Canned soups

“You’re going to find sugar added everywhere, but we don’t have a sense of how pervasive it is, how it could be hiding in three to four different places, under different names in one food product,” Schaub pointed out. The World Health Organization even just recently drafted new guidelines to lower the recommended daily intake of sugar, kicking it from 10% down to 5%. This new recommended daily intake is approximately 25 grams/6 teaspoons. When looking at a simple sandwich of bread, lunch meat and mayonnaise, this common lunchtime staple has the potential to pack more than your recommended daily allowance of sugar. And that’s just from one sandwich in one meal! Sign Up for our Email!

So what does your body do with all that sugar?

A sign of too much sugar is inflammation a.k.a. the body’s response to internal damage. Inflammation can happen all over the body. The amount of overall inflammation can be an indicator of health and a general marker for a host of chronic diseases. Too much inflammation can lead to cardiovascular diseases, Metabolic disorder complications such as fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and Type 2 Diabetes, and bone and muscular diseases, such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

What steps can you take to cut back on sugar?

  • Educate yourself: As Schaub points out, there are different aliases for sugar beyond “sugar” on an ingredient list. Learn to recognize and spot sugar and sweeteners in forms like cane sugar, agave, high fructose corn syrup, rice malt syrup…the list goes on for a while.
  • Read labels: A simple flip of the package will train you to make it a habit of reading what’s lurking in your food. With new information, you’re empowering yourself to make a healthier choice. (have you tried making our caesar tahini dressing?)
  • Replace sugary drinks: Did you check the label on your energy/coffee/sport/juice drinks? Good! Now swap it out for water.
  • Eat the good stuff: In addition to cutting sugar, good nutrition practices help decrease inflammation levels. Foods that help fight inflammation are rich in antioxidants, like vitamin c, vitamin e, beta carotene, zinc and alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). Check out our day of inflammation-fighting meals and snacks for some ideas to get you started.

How WellnessFX can help

While there are a few ways to test for inflammation, it turns out that high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is the best indicator currently known. Our Baseline package includes this important biomarker, as well as many other advanced biomarkers that will give you insight into other risk factors you need to know about for preventing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and Metabolic disorders. A first test of your hs-CRP levels will allow you to see if you need to improve. A 20-minute consultation with a WellnessFX practitioner will provide you with strategic and tailored recommendations for your goals and risk factors. Re-testing at a later date to benchmark how much improvement you’ve made will keep you on track and empower you with your health data to continue making healthy improvements to your life.

Test my hs-CRP

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.