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Posts made in January, 2016

Health & Fitness: How Sugar Makes You Look Ancient (Before You Absolutely Have To)

Posted by on Jan 1, 2016 |

I don’t crave sugar during the day, but at night, sometimes my brain can’t think of anything else except getting a sugar fix. I don’t keep candy, ice cream, or snacks in the house because I’m incapable of stopping at one or two pieces. Serving sizes? Give me a very small break. I won’t stop eating candy until I pass out in a sugar-induced coma.

I’ve read that one square of dark chocolate is good for you. (It’s full of antioxidants, it helps control blood sugar, blah blah blah), but I can’t have dark chocolate in the house because that tip is intended for people who can stop at one square of chocolate. Who are these bitches? Not me. I can stop at one—at a time. I’ll keep it in the freezer, have a bite of mineral-rich chocolate, go back to whatever I was doing . . . but all the while my brain haunts me with the knowledge that there is chocolate in the house . . . AND I MUST HAVE JUST ONE MORE BITE . . . AND ANOTHER . . . until I’m left with nothing but an empty wrapper; regret; and deep, unforgiving shame.

There are many reasons why it’s important to avoid sugar. Too much sugar in your diet makes you look older than you are. A natural process known as glycation happens when the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. These damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age thirty-five and increase rapidly after that. The average American consumes 130 grams of added sugar per day, or the equivalent of 465 calories or about 31 teaspoons. A woman doesn’t want to go over 30 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. A man can go as high as 45 grams. The trick about sugar is that it doesn’t just show up in candy and cookies. It lurks in unexpected foods, like salad dressing. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar, but on ingredient panels it’s hidden under names such as barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado.

I try to eat foods I prepare from whole foods such as vegetables and beans, etc. and attempt to keep my sugar cravings at bay by pretending to lead a full and exciting life. It seems like all of life is a battle between doing what sounds fun and what is actually good for me, what I should do—the eternal quandary of living like every day is my last day on earth, but also knowing it’s probably not, so I might want to have some money around to pay the rent and not get so obese firefighters have to break down walls to rescue me from my own sloth. So many daily dilemmas . . .

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