Sugar habits and consequences
Low Carb Nugget 71
American teenage boys consume an average of a 161 grams of sugar a day. That’s 40 teaspoons of sugar. And you wonder why American children are becoming more obese? When it comes to our bodies and our health, both as individuals and as a nation, sugar is a dirty trick, not a sweet treat.
“Starbucks’ Zombie Frappuccino Contains a Frightening Amount of Sugar.” Reegan Von Wildenradt. Men’s Health. October 27, 2017.
“Why Sugar is Responsible for Aging Skin.” Lori Shemek. DrLoriShemek.com. October 9, 2017.
“Here’s the Dangerous Amount of Sugar Kids Will Consume on Halloween.” Sy Mukherjee. Fortune. October 26, 2017.
Low Carb Nugget 71
“Sugar — trick, not treat”
This is Episode 71 of the Low Carb Nugget for Saturday, October 28, 2017. I’m Jim Anderson.
It’s three days before Halloween, the high holy day of refined sugar.
I don’t know whether all these longer episodes will have a single theme. Probably not. Some will be digest episodes, covering a grab-bag of recent news in diet and nutrition. But today I’ll talk about stories on a single sweet topic: sugar.
If I could go back in time and give one piece of diet advice to my younger self, it would be, cut the sugar. In particular, stop drinking soda pop. Stop drinking fruit juice. Stop drinking any beverages containing sugar. As a young adult, I got most of my sugar in liquid form. My younger self would probably have wonder who the crazy old guy was, but the message might have sunk in anyway.
Oh, well. What’s done is done. At least in my youth there was no such thing as Starbucks. So I never developed a taste for sugary coffee-based drinks like the Zombie Frappuccino. That’s right, just in time for Halloween, a Starbucks’ drink with, as Men’s Health puts it, a “frightening amount of sugar.”
Here’s how Starbucks describes the Zombie Frappuccino: “It’s a green caramel apple Frappuccino with a spooky drizzle of red mocha sauce and a heap of pink whipped cream!” Men’s Health notes that the drink is highly photographable, perfect for sharing as an image on Instagram. The 16 ounce drink contains 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 58 grams of carbohydrate. It has 290 calories. Nearly all the carbs come from sugar, 58 grams of it. That’s more than twice as much sugar as the World Health Organization says an average-sized adult should consume in one day. It’s at least ten times as much sugar as I typically consume in a day.
There’s about 4 grams in a teaspoon of sugar, so downing a Zombie Frappuccino is like eating 14.5 teaspoons of sugar.
The really scary thing is, this is not the most calorie laden drink that Starbucks sells. According to Men’s Health, that dubious honor goes to the Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino. This 16 ounce drink packs in 510 calories and 85 grams of sugar. The sugar equals 21 teaspoons full.
My idea of the perfect 16 ounce drink would be 15 ounces of coffee, maybe Starbucks brand, and an ounce of heavy cream. That drink would contain about 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, and one or two grams each of carbs and protein. I could drink that all day long, and sometimes it seems like I do. Admittedly, that may be over-doing a good thing, but at least I’m not poisoning myself with teaspoons of sugar.
Let me talk a moment about the consequences of excessive sugar consumption. I’ll skip the obvious ones, such as contributing to obesity, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and tooth decay. Maybe even heart disease and dementia. For details on many of these, check out the Gary Taubes excellent book, “The Case Against Sugar.”
But here’s another consequences of excess dietary sugar: premature aging of your skin.
Dr. Lori Shemek, in a recent blog post, explains why sugar is responsible for the extra lines, deep wrinkles, and sags in our skin. It turns out that eating sugar in any form not only promotes inflammation, and with it all those consequences I mention earlier, but it also damages our skin, internal tissues, and organs. This happens because of a chemical process called “glycation.” Its a natural and necessary process, allowing mitochondria to power the cells in our body. But, according to Shemek, when you eat sugar you are eating a form of glycation. It’s called “Advanced Glycation End” products, or AGEs. Shemek uses the analogy of a well-tuned engine that runs clean on the right fuel. On the wrong fuel, it runs dirty. AGEs are the wrong fuel for our cells. Sugar is the wrong fuel. It damages our mitochondria, and they eventually stop working. This causes premature aging, inside and outside the body. The most serious problems are on the inside, but the most visible problems are on the outside, in our skin. Looking old because of AGEs, because of excess sugar consumption, means you are old, prematurely so.
Finally, since it is nearly Halloween, I note that according to an article in Fortune, the average American trick or treater will consume a “dangerous” amount of sugar on the holiday — perhaps 7,000 calories worth. However, as bad as that one-time gorging may be, it is even more disturbing that on any given day, the average American kid, age 2 to 19 years, consumes an 124 grams of sugar.
That’s the equivalent of drinking two Zombie Frappuccinos every day. It’s the worst with teenage boys, who cosume an average of a 161 grams of sugar a day. That’s 40 teaspoons of sugar. And you wonder why American children are becoming more obese?
When it comes to our bodies and our health, both as individuals and as a nation, sugar is a trick, not a treat.
Now, before I go, I want to give you a quick update on my Keto Diet Reboot. At the four week mark this past Monday, I had lost 5.6 pounds over the four weeks. Not too impressive. However, I was up and down in the first two weeks. In the second two weeks, I actually lost 5.2 pounds, which equates to an average of over 10 pound a month. I’ll take that. I feel good in terms of my approach. I’m meeting or exceeding my dietary macronutrient targets. I’m also mixing in some intermittent fasts — nothing too extreme as of yet. Basically, I have some tools left if I want or need to use them. So far, so good.
I also want to mention that I am starting a newsletter at my blog LifeAfterCarbs.com. The first issue will come out on Halloween. To celebrate the first issue, I’m giving away a copy of Mark Sisson’s new book, “The Keto Reset Diet.” It seemed an appropriate choice since I have my own reset going on. The sweepstakes is being run through Amazon Giveaway. If you register for the newsletter, you’ll be emailed a link to enter the sweepstakes. You need to have an Amazon.com account and be of legal age. The deadline for entry is October 31, 11:59 pm pacific time. So, if you’re interested, go to LifeAfterCarbs.com and look for the newsletter subscription box. This won’t be the only sweepstakes, giveaway or special offer for subscribers, plus you’ll get a monthly newsletter with timely info for the low-carb community.
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