I hope you are enjoying all things October and are ready for some insider info on your Health Journey. Some Body Sass? info for y?all.
Small changes in your choices can make a big difference in your health over time. Let me give you a metaphorical example. You are an airline pilot. You are flying a plane from Boston to LA. You set all your instruments, but you are one, and only one, degree off when setting them. Well, you?ll likely still fly pretty close to New York, as that?s only an hour into the trip. However, that one degree of change makes a pretty big difference down the line?like maybe you land in San Francisco, instead of LA. Small change; big impact.
Now let me give you a real life, real client example of how a small change can make a big positive difference. I had a client, who was fairly resistant to change, who finally agreed to simply stop drinking his morning orange juice. That?s it. No other changes in any of his lifestyle choices, food or otherwise. He lost 17 pounds in one year! Small change; big health impact. Ya with me? Read on.
A common misconception that I bump up against daily, in my work of helping people Create Vibrant Health?, is that agave nectar/syrup is a ?healthy? sugar alternative. In a word: au contraire (that?s French for ?wrong!?). Marketing experts know that even something?s NAME is marketing?powerfully so. ?Agave nectar? brings up this lovely image of flowers and bees and fairies (okay, maybe not fairies, but you get the picture). And, ?agave? in Greek means ?noble!? Unfortunately, this sweetener is so highly processed and refined that it actually looks very little like the agave plant for which it is named. This is (yet another) case of effective marketing cloaking sound science. Let?s investigate.
At this point, I?m going to assume that most of you know that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is likely THE major contributor to our obesity problem. Fructose, for the human body, is metabolically different than other sugars, which I?ll outline for you shortly. But know this: Agave nectar/syrup can actually be considered worse for us than HFCS because it has a higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener, ranging from 60-97 percent, depending on the brand. HFCS, in comparison, averages 55% fructose. Most agave ?nectar? or agave ?syrup? is nothing more than a lab-generated, super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually any previous nutrient value due to processing.
Well, what?s so terrible about fructose? Let me count the ways:
- Your metabolism, and your hunger, fullness, and fat-storing hormones, are ?fooled? by fructose, which leads to overeating and insulin resistance.
- Fructose activates an enzyme in the body that causes cells to store fat!
- When fats are consumed WITH fructose, like in just about any junk food snack, the fat is more likely to be stored rather than burned.
- The previous three points all lend to a big fructose bummer, which you can see ALL AROUND you. Over-consuming fructose leads to rapid weight gain, especially abdominal weight (that?s a big ?boo-hiss ? in the health department), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure. And THAT picture is what we now call ?metabolic syndrome.? You see?
- Unlike other sugars, breaking down fructose molecules can only happen in the liver. But our liver, which is involved in over 500 metabolic processes in the body, is already having trouble keeping up! Therefore?
- Fructose over-consumption, like alcohol, which is also broken down in the liver, actually produces many of the side effects of chronic alcohol use, like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Not good.
- Finally, and very importantly, fructose directly drives up our blood levels of uric acid, which in turn contributes to kidney disease, liver disease, insulin resistance (which contributes to not only diabetes, but also many cancers), diabetes T2, and hypertension. Another big boo-hiss.
And here?s a big bummer in the ?health mis-information? department, which is a VERY large department, indeed. Agave nectar is promoted as a low glycemic sweetener?ie: a better choice for diabetics than table sugar. Hopefully you can see, by all that I have outlined here, that because of how it is metabolized, agave nectar is actually NOT a good choice for diabetics. It can actually exacerbate insulin resistance.
Better options for a sweetener are raw, organic honey (in small amounts) and the herb stevia. Please note that honey is still a concentrated sugar form and contains about 53% fructose, so don?t start eating it by the teaspoonful! However, raw honey does contain some healthful components and is not processed (if you?re buying raw). ?Regular? supermarket honey is not a health food and is likely not much better than agave nectar.
What?s the bottom line? The bottom line is that fructose is not a poison, like mercury or arsenic or trans-fats. It?s simply that we, in American style, are WAY over-doing it?and that choice is wreaking havoc on our collective health. Make food choices that keep your daily fructose intake below 25 grams per day, from all sources (including fruit); lower if you are fructose sensitive. The average American consumes over 70 grams of fructose per day! And, to help with your math, one teaspoon of agave nectar/syrup contains 4 grams of fructose.
Remember the client at the beginning of this post, just omitting his morning orange juice and dropping 17 pounds? Yah, he was drinking a big ole? glass of fructose, with none of the fabulous fiber and nutrients that he would?ve gotten if eating an orange! And he would?ve eaten one orange, not the 1-2 pounds it takes to make a glass of OJ. Please remember to limit ALL sugar consumption.
The food you eat builds your body, every day, for better or for worse. Make choices for health!
With love & clarity,