Many food manufacturers focus on just one facet of “sugar impact” and pay little attention to others. But a Sugar Detox plan or diet needs to focus on all the major factors that determine the impact sugar has on your body.
For example, adding fiber or nutrients to cookies with high sugar content does not make them healthy. In the same way, advertising a product as low glycemic index does not automatically mean it is okay for you to eat. And a bold food label saying “no high fructose corn syrup” does not mean that it is healthy. Various aspects work together to give a full picture of how a particular food affects your body.
How Sugar is Metabolized
All forms of sugar are broken down into two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Glucose increases your blood sugar and stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin regulates the sugar in your blood and provides glucose for your cells. Your muscles and liver also store glucose as glycogen.
However, if you eat a large amount of sugar, your liver will convert the excess glucose to fat (or triglycerides) which will accumulate around your middle. In contrast, fructose won’t raise your blood sugar, but it will put pressure on the liver which has to convert it to fat.
Fiber and nutrient density will help to reduce the sugar load. Switching to nutrient dense foods with high fiber is the best way to start a Sugar Detox.
Here are the strengths and limitations of each major aspect of sugar impact.
The Glycemic Load
Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how food raises your blood sugar level. Pure glucose has the highest rating of 100 percent. But GI does not take quantity into consideration. Carrots, beets and potatoes have a high GI, but it is easier to eat more potatoes than carrots in one meal.
For this reason, scientists created a value known as the glycemic load (GL). It combines the GI with the amount you eat at a time. GL is calculated by multiplying the volume of carbohydrate consumed by the GI and then dividing that value by 100.
But because we don’t take foods in isolation, it is extremely difficult to calculate the GL when foods are taken in various combinations. In fact, using GL in isolation makes fructose look harmless since it does not raise blood sugar significantly.
Beware of Fructose
Some critics believe fructose causes the most metabolic damage in your body. This is because it increases the production of triglycerides, increases abdominal fat, induces insulin resistance, and raises the risk of contacting various diseases.
Fructose does not stimulate the secretion of insulin or leptin – the hormone that tells your brain that you are full and helps you to stop eating. So, it is possible to eat excessive fructose without your brain telling you to stop.
The fructose I am talking about here is the one that is made from corn known as high-fructose corn syrup and other processed foods sweetened by it. Fructose that occurs naturally in whole foods, fruits and vegetables comes with fiber and valuable nutrients so the absorption is gradual.
Don’t get fooled by the “no high fructose corn syrup” on some foods. If you turn to the list of ingredients, you will see sugar included with another name.
What is Nutrient Density?
Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of minerals, vitamins, and other nutritious substances found in food. One cup of blueberries has 15 grams of sugar but it is nutrient dense. So it raises blood sugar gradually.
However, eating too many nutrient dense foods may still raise your blood sugar through a high glycemic load.
More Fiber is Better
Fiber enhances permanent fat loss. It makes you feel full for a longer time; it stabilizes blood sugar and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut.
The goal of any Sugar Detox program should be to eat 50 grams of fiber daily. You will be encouraged to choose foods like legumes, green leafy vegetables, berries and avocado which have low sugar impact.
The Sugar Detox Big Picture
Fiber plays the greatest role in regulating sugar impact. In JJ Virgin’s new book: “The Sugar Impact Diet”, all the 4 major criteria are used to determine the best foods with low sugar impact. You will be taught how to do a simple Sugar Detox by gradually moving from high sugar impact foods to low sugar impact foods.
JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Hidden Sugars, Lose up to 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks will be released on November 4.