While working as an educator (I taught the principles of dialysis & theory of renal failure), I reminded my students constantly: Man’s theories change–sometimes month to month, hour by hour, often minute by minute. Be mindful of the prevailing data, but equally mindful that it will change.
This is a topic which I’ve wanted to address for sometime, but approach with mixed feelings. What is this, which evokes such feelings of trepidation? Sugar and diet. A four letter word–joined with one which many believe, should be.
Sugar has been tried, found guilty, and all but executed as the major culprit in obesity, diabetes, and even addiction (sugar, sweet cravings). So as a nurse, I feel great pressure to climb on this bandwagon.
Sugar is no innocent bystander; but neither is one’s decision to ingest massive quantities of it. Yet our bodies require glucose to function. If deprived critically enough, brain activity suffers. Does this mean I get a pass to eat 6 cookies instead of two? Have an extra helping of French Silk pie? After all we are talking brain function. Yes we are, but you could probably stop at one cookie, and skip the pie.
Hyperglycemia (too much circulating blood sugar) is the long-standing battle in diabetes. Most of us are familiar with this. What we may not be as familiar with is hypoglycemia. Too little sugar has its consequences as well. Have you ever felt a little shaky, or unable to focus if you haven’t eaten? These are just a couple of the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Eating regular meals usually prevents this. Yet if we are talking whether we obtain enough sugar without even trying–the answer is yes. A resounding one at that. Most of our dietary sugars are obtained with little or no effort. Certainly we recognize sugar in cakes, ice cream, pudding, etc. Yet what about orange juice? Barbecue sauce? Salad dressing? Again, we obtain most of the sugar we need (and then some) without realizing it.
So what is my personal take on this controversial, much maligned, yet desired substance? Well let’s take a look at a few things–starting with sugar substitutes. There are many to choose from. In 1879, Saccharin was discovered, quite by accident. Constantine Fahlberg–while working in his laboratory, spilled a chemical on his hands. Later that evening at dinner, he found the bread sweeter than usual. He later realized his hands (guess he didn’t wash them prior to eating) made it sweeter. Enter the 1st artificial sweetener–and the foundation for others to follow. Today however we have a litany–Splenda, Truvia, just to name two. Yet the fact still remains, most of these substitutes have originated in the latter half of the 19th century, to the 21st. So–how long has sugar been around? I can assure you, it predates any of these.
My point is this. I know what sugar is. I know the consequences if I ingest too much of it. For me, it’s nausea followed by a headache. Too many sweets become jelly rolls on my waistline, and pudding on my thighs. However, the jury is still out for me about substitutes which claim to be “better for me.” I don’t know what they are, or their true origins.
Short but true story. Attempting to be “healthy,” yet satisfy my craving for vanilla ice cream, I picked up a pint. It contained a sugar substitute. After a couple of spoonfuls, I decided it wasn’t for me. It tasted thicker than normal ice cream, and something about it upset my stomach. I put the rest of it in the sink, and ran warm H20 on it. I can’t recall the last time I left an unfinished bowl of ice cream–yet if I did, it melted. After a couple of minutes of running warm H20 on this, it still was a glob in my sink. That sounded the death knell for sugar substitutes in my home.
Sugar in morning? Yes please, in my tea. Sugar in the evening? Most of the time, I take a pass. Yet I can assure you, if it’s going to be sweetened, it’s going to be sugar–well maybe a little honey. That’s the only substitute that will find its way onto my table.
Do you know the signs of hypoglycemia vs. hyperglycemia? Check out LIVESTRONG. Search hyperglycemia vs. hypoglycemia. Not too much medical-ese in this article. Here are a couple of links I found below.
All for now. Keep up and keep at it.
Questions? Comments? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org