The Truth About Sugar

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Processed sugar in tempting desserts, not so good.

Sugar is not merely sugar. Sugar comes in many different forms and is present in all the foods we eat and the beverages we consume unless the product label reads as "sugar-free."

Most foods and beverages have some sugar content disguised under different names. Beware of hidden sugars in your foods and drinks. 

There Is a Difference

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Natural sugars found in fresh fruits is good

The natural sugar content in fresh fruits and vegetables has a different chemical makeup than the processed sugar found in canned goods and other prepackaged food products. This sugar digests differently in the body than processed sugar.

Hidden Sugars in Foods and Beverages

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All canned goods, prepackaged foods such as TV dinners, chips, snack foods, all beverages, and just about everything we buy at the grocery store contains processed sugars. Are you eating more sugar than you think?

Sugar Has Many Different Names

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There are many different names for sugar. I cannot include all the names, but if you are interested in cutting the amount of sugar you consume, access this website for a detailed list of the 60 names for sugar. I did list a few names and they are as follows:

  • Dextrose
  • Corn Syrup
  • 4X Sugar is known as Powered Sugar (is known as Confectioner's Sugar)
  • Brown Sugar (processed sugar with molasses added)
  • Fructose
  • Anhydrous Dextrose
  • High-fructose corn Syrup
  • Barley Malt
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Dextrin
  • Ethyl Maltol

A Very Sick Child

In one of my prior articles, I explained what my husband and I went through with our second son.

This youngster started to get sick about the third grade.

Our son complained of stomach cramps to the point that he bent over at the waist with tears in his eyes when these cramps hit him. He complained of headaches, telling us he could not focus on school and he could not see the blackboard. His eyes tested 20/20, perfect. He looked ill.

The doctor ordered a load of blood work which all came back negative, including any x-rays that the doctor ordered. Our son stumped his doctor and us to the point that we sometimes wondered if he was not outsmarting his parents because he did not want to go to school. We probably would have considered this all a drama act with the exception that he looked so ill.

We finally searched for a medical doctor who was in tune with alternative medicine and found an excellent doctor in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This doctor was an MD or Medical Doctor, and he also earned his holistic license. Holistic medicine is a whole new ballgame in the field of medicine, and most doctors do not want to go to school to learn this alternative practice.

I was a nurse, and I was not ready to let go of traditional medicine entirely, yet, I wanted to be a part of alternative medicine. This amazing doctor practiced both types of medicine and was in tune with how his patients wanted him to treat them; traditionally or holistically.

This doctor taught at the University of Michigan, hosted a radio program, wrote a few books, and had a sizeable family medical practice. In spite of how busy this doctor was, he took as much time with his patients as they needed, never rushing patients out the door. 

This doctor listened and responded. I was so fortunate to find such a talented doctor who took time with our family and went the extra mile to find out what was wrong with our son.

The first thing this doctor did was something I had never heard of before: he did a hair analysis from a small clipping of our son's hair at the back of his neck. I learned that an analysis of a hair tells exactly what nutrients are in the body, everything!

I had my son on a low carbohydrate diet at this time because I believed sugar to be bad for the body. I never used sugar in cooking, and I never kept sugar in our home. At one point, we suspected our son to be diabetic.

When the results of our son's hair analysis returned, we found out that our son consumed 15,000 mg of sodium per day in addition to at least 14 teaspoons of sugar per day!

We were shocked that the doctor found this much sugar in his system. The further blood work proved that our son was hypoglycemic, or had low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is a precursor to diabetes.

Going into the future several years, our son has been an adult for quite some time now and is into health and fitness big time. He says to me that if he does not have fresh greens at supper, it just does not seem right. He does not eat desserts as a rule.

He avoids sweets, although occasionally will indulge in a small sweet treat, but prefers instead to munch on lettuce or broccoli. It has been a long time since he has had any hypoglycemic symptoms as he is well versed in what to eat that is healthy and full of all the right nutrients. He also knows that if he eats sugar, he does not feel well. 

Sugar Calculations at a Glance

Calculating the sugar content in foods and beverages is simple to figure out and not rocket science. Pay attention to the labels on food items. All food products, no matter what they are, are required to have a tag with the list of ingredients in that product. Take the time to visually scan the ingredients of the products you purchase.

The point that I am trying to make in all of this is that there is a great deal of sugar hidden in our foods and beverages and you must be watchful of what you buy at the store if you care about how much sugar you are feeding your family.

The ordinary layperson with or without a medical background would not necessarily pay attention to ingredient labels. Manufacturers package food products to look highly attractive to the consumer. It is the front label that makes the food look enticing and tasty. It is the label on the back of that product that tells you how good the product is for your body.

It is surprising what products you buy at the store because of the attractive label. 

The Formula No One Has Time Tt Calculate

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Use this formula to calculate the sugar content in foods and beverages. 


The Formula:

  • Pick up a container of something such as a quart of chocolate milk.
  • Write down the number of servings per this quart of milk.
  • Write down how many grams of sugar are contained in this quart of milk.
  • Multiply the servings per container by the grams of sugar

This calculation gives the consumer the total grams of sugar in the quart of chocolate milk.

*Go one step further to find out how many teaspoons of sugar in a quart of chocolate milk.  

  • Divide these total grams of sugar by four. 

This formula is helpful in calculating sugar content on cans, pints, quarts, gallons, cups, and more. Calculate any food or beverage from soda to milk, juice, and even alcohol.

After a few calculations, you automatically know if the product has too much sugar.

Remember that four grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar.

References Only

  • sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/ 
  • www.elsajonesnutrition.ie/index.php/sugar-savvy-how-to-interpret-food-labels/
  • www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262978.php

*I am a seasoned nurse with over 40 years of nursing experience. I worked alongside many dieticians, dietary consults, and doctors in regards to diet therapy. I knew how to read laboratory results for patients and did individualized patient assessments for over 20 years.

I do not claim to know everything, nor do I have any degrees in the nutritional field. I do a lot of reading and research and come to common sense conclusions. I realize that there will be many who disagree with my findings and are possibly many who do agree.

Life is a learning process.

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