Counting calories? Keeping an eye on your carbs? Upping your protein? Eating only “good fats”? Sounds like you’re on top of things but if your results are missing expectations, you need to look beyond these traditional measures. I think most people know that counting calories is a mostly fruitless endeavor. Why? Calories come from vastly different macronutrients. There is something else. Lurking in the shadows. (Queue theme from Jaws.)
Sugar. One of the often overlooked culprits, slowing our progress and negating our progress in other areas. Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbs are essential for your body to function but some types of this macronutrient are better than others. What’s wrong with sugar? In short, if you take in sugar and it is not immediately used for energy then it’s sent to your liver and turned into fat – your body’s way of saving that potential energy for later.
For more on sugar: http://www.livestrong.com/article/408673-does-sugar-turn-into-fat/
Think you know how much sugar you are eating? Think again and read your labels. Clif Bar? Sounds healthy but 23g of sugar. Wine must have tons of sugar since its made from grapes right? Not always true. Most red wines have very little sugar – sugar is converted to alcohol. Beer? Some have no sugar some have 10+ grams per serving. Fruit? Did you know a banana has 14g of sugar? Of course, fruit is good for you but my point is that it is very important to know how much sugar is in your diet. (Don’t eat 5 bananas!)
It’s not easy. Sometimes the label says sugar – sometimes it goes by other names like high fructose corn syrup. So, what’s worse? The fat in your French fries or the high fructose corn syrup in the gobs of ketchup that you are dipping them in? I don’t hold the credentials to claim to know the answers but think about it. The high fat peanuts in your trail mix or the sugar-loaded M&M’s in that same snack? Kind of getting off point here but I suspect that Trail Mix got its name as an energy booster prior to a long, hard trek down rugged trails – so unless you’re heading out on a hike, it’s probably not a very good between meals snack.
What I am confident in saying is that if it’s a processed food you can count on a bunch of sugar coming along for the ride. Great, you had “fat free” dressing with your salad? Good for you. You also had 3 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Wow, 20 grams of protein in that Power Bar? 12 grams of sugar too. Think about what you are eating.
And now for some musical therapy…