Le sucre : Urgence sanitaire ?

Sugar: Health Emergency?

Present in all Western food dishes, is sugar really a threat to our health?

The answer is yes!

For several years now, the harmful effects of sugar and the modern diet, rich in carbohydrates, have been pointed out. Several studies have highlighted the involvement of sugar and high glycemic index carbohydrates in the explosion of metabolic diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes in which sugar plays "a major deleterious role" as well as diseases resulting cardiovascular and neurological
Our Western way of life encourages us to consume too large quantities of sugar, well beyond the 25 grams per day, recommended by the WHO.

Moreover, in most natural foods, few are very sweet and none contain refined sugar like those we ingest daily. The worst is that 70% of the sugar absorbed each day would be taken without even knowing it.

Indeed, sugar is not easy to avoid! He hides everywhere! In sauces, drinks and fruit juices, ready meals, charcuterie, preserves, pastries, bread, light foods (reduced in fat but not in sugar), so-called healthy cereal bars, etc.

Not only has sugar invaded our diet, but its addictive power, which no longer needs to be proven, acts on the body like a real drug. Sugar calls for sugar! The more we take, the more our body wants more. It is addictive and without nutritional interest. Its intake of vitamins and minerals is nil. So we could totally skip it. It is a pleasure food and often a compensatory one, the consumption of which should remain exceptional.

But many will say: glucose is food for the brain!!!

Indeed, the brain runs on glucose. He uses about 120 g of glucose every day. And since it cannot store it, it must constantly be supplied with glucose.
All of this is true! But it doesn't necessarily get its food from refined sugar, beet or sugar cane sugar, it can get it, among other things from the glycogenic function of the liver. Very schematically, the liver transforms fat (lipids) into glucose (by glycogenolysis), glucose necessary for the brain. Principle of the Keto diet.

The brains of Newton (laws of physics), Einstein (relativity), and many other famous scientists and inventors worked just fine without refined sugar.

So how do we flush out the sugar that hides in our diet?
Our first reflex when we go shopping should always keep an eye on the labels to limit our consumption of industrial sugar. Health Canada has recently introduced changes to food labeling to help Canadians better understand the sugar content of the food they eat.

It is also necessary to get rid of this false popular belief, according to which, fast sugars are present in foods with a strong sweet flavor (desserts, chocolate bars, coca-cola) and that, conversely, slow or complex sugars are found in unsweetened flavored foods (potatoes, bread, pasta). This approach is wrong and confusing.

Tools such as the glycemic index and the insulin index would benefit from being better known and understood to fight against excess sugar and the various pathologies it causes.

What exactly is it?
The glycemic index (GI) tells us about the speed of assimilation of carbohydrates (sugars).

It is the speed at which the sugar contained in a food, passes from the intestine to the blood in the form of glucose and the importance with which it will increase the level of glucose in the blood. The higher the glycemic index of a food, the faster the sugar is absorbed and the faster the amount of blood glucose increases, which induces greater insulin secretion, therefore a higher insulin index. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas, which brings blood sugar levels back to normal. If it is secreted too often (for example by consuming high GI foods several times a day), it promotes the transformation of carbohydrates present in the blood and not used, into fats (by the liver), increases sugar cravings and makes the body less sensitive to its action. The door is then open to type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver and obesity....

All foods containing carbohydrates can be classified according to their own glycemic index, either a high GI, above 70, medium between 56 and 69, or low below 55.

Example: White sugar has a GI of 68, bread between 50 and 60, cheese 0, tomatoes 30...

Table of glycemic indices https://guidelines.diabetes.ca/CDACPG/media/documents/patient-resources/fr/New%20Fr-2019/Food-guide-to-glycemic-index.pdf

Knowing the GI of a food is interesting, but you must also take into account several factors that can increase or decrease its value:

  • The presence of vegetable fibers which reduces the glycemic index of the food. It is therefore necessary to favor fruit over fruit juice, even freshly squeezed
  • The association of foods with each other: the presence of proteins and/or fats slow down the digestion and absorption time of the carbohydrates contained in the meal. This lowers the glycemic index.
  • The time of consumption: in the morning, on an empty stomach, a carbohydrate meal causes a glycemic peak and therefore an intense secretion of insulin
  • Cooking or temperature plays a significant role on the GI of the same food: the GI of "al dente" pasta is lower than that of very cooked pasta. Take wholemeal bread. His GI is 65. But if you grill him, he goes to 45.
  • The puffing and grinding of cereals increases their glycemic index: puffed cereals, rice cakes, etc. The glycemic index (GI) of a rice cake (85) thus exceeds that of brown rice (50)
  • The presence of salt increases the glycemic index.
  • The presence of certain antioxidants seems to reduce the glycemic index, a fruit has a moderate glycemic index.
  • Refining: a whole grain product has more fiber than the same grain product after refining.
  • The level of hydration and the degree of ripening of plants modify the glycemic index: the more a food is hydrated and/or ripe, the higher its glycemic index.

We therefore see that finally, certain complex carbohydrates, which were wrongly qualified as slow sugars, on the contrary have high glycemic indexes: mashed potatoes, puffed cereals for breakfast, white bread, cereal products refined, etc. These are the most consumed carbohydrate foods in the population.

The ideal would be, of course, to completely remove refined sugar from the diet, but weaning is not easy… Replacing it with a low GI natural sugar would be a good first health step, such as coconut sugar, xylitol , the monk’s fruit, …

However, pay attention to the quantity ingested and the type of natural sugar offered on the market.

Alternative sugars are popping up on store shelves to the point that it becomes difficult to choose. Here are our tips to help you get there:
Which ones to choose?

  1. Here are some good alternatives to white sugar, the least refined low GI sugars:
  • Coconut sugar: sap from coconut palm flowers heated to a boil then crystallized with IG 35-55
  • Stevia: leaves of a shrub refined and reduced to powder by chemical or mechanical process with GI 0. Small downside: its bitter aftertaste
  • Agave syrup: extract from a Mexican cactus cooked at high temperature with GI 15-20.
  • Honey: GI 55-60.
  • Maple syrup: GI 55.
  • Rapadura: air-dried cane juice with GI 60-70.
  • Cane sugar: whole, whole or muscovado with GI 60-70.
  • Demerara: dehydrated and slightly crystallized cane sugar syrup with GI 65.
  • Xylitol, monk fruit and erythritol, a sugar alcohol, have an ultra low glycemic index.
  • Classic white sugar has a GI of 68 and is ultra-refined. There are other interesting alternative sugars such as yacon syrup or kitul sap, which are rather difficult to find and very expensive.
  • High fructose syrups: in moderation!

Some alternative sugars, even though they are healthier than white sugar, contain a high level of fructose, high GI (including agave syrup) and must be consumed in reasonable quantities. According to numerous studies, they are responsible for obesity, diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disease if consumed very regularly or in high doses.

Favoring a maximum of low GI products, limiting or even eliminating refined sugar and ultra-processed foods, preferring the natural sugar of fruits, especially those with a low GI such as red fruits, grapefruit, apples, etc., remains the best asset for optimal health..

The goal is to choose foods that do not turn too quickly into sugar (glucose) during digestion, to avoid peaks in blood glucose and therefore insulin, which promotes diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and neurological.

Previous post
Next post