Just yesterday evening as I was leaving work, the assistant principal asked me “What are you DOING?” I thought he meant what was I doing still at school at 4:30 on a Friday, so I replied that I was going to go get a couple beers. Then he clarified his question by saying, “No, I mean what are you doing because you’ve lost a lot of weight!” I used to hate it when others would comment that I look like I’ve lost weight (thanks, Grammie…) because it made me feel super awkward because usually I hadn’t lost an ounce. But this interaction, and others that I’ve had recently, have helped to reaffirm the fact that I am visibly much smaller than I was a year and a half ago. THIS! THIS helps fuel my fire to continue on my windy road towards tip-top physical and nutritional wellness.
Back in December of 2014 I watched a documentary with my then-boyfriend-now-husband called “Fed Up”. It’s narrated by Katie Couric and I can honestly say that it changed my life. Yeah, it sounds corny, but man oh man, it fired me up and really kicked my butt into gear. I’m a documentary fiend, so it was easy for me to remain interested from beginning to end, but I think this should be mandatory viewing for everyone. Basically, it’s about how our added sugar consumption in America has skyrocketed and is one of the main culprits for the “obesity epidemic”. It shows how sugar has been added to almost everything we consume, from ketchup and salad dressing to baby formula – YES, BABY FORMULA! It also discusses how sugar acts like a drug and how food corporations work to keep us wanting more and more. It’s sad, depressing, and inspiring. After we watched this documentary, we both agreed that the next day, we were gonna kick our reliance on sugar to the curb.
For the first few months, it was tricky to go to the grocery store and look though all the food labels for those added sugars. The easiest way I’ve found, is to look over the ingredient list. Sugar goes by many names in these lists, from agave to sucralose to maltodextrin to brown rice syrup. Sugar is sugar; added sweetener is still added sweetener. Even if it is “natural” or “calorie-free” it still spikes your blood sugar and should be avoided whenever possible. But, hey-yoooo Jo Jo, isn’t there sugar in fruits, starches, and dairy? Well, yeah, you sneaky sneaky science folks, but here’s the deal, if I eat a medium-sized apple, yeah it has about 19 grams of sugar (almost 5 teaspoons of sugar), BUT it also has 4.4 grams of fiber. When we eat an apple, our blood sugar doesn’t spike as much because the fiber in the fruit slows down the absorption of the sugar. If you drink a 12 oz. can of Coca-cola, which has 39 grams of sugar (almost 10 teaspoons of sugar), there is no fiber to slow down that absorption of sugar. That sugar goes straight into your bloodstream, scratching away at your arteries and spiking that blood sugar, rising your levels of insulin, turning OFF that fat-burning switch, and turning ON the fat-storage switch. So it’s not all sugar that is harmful to us, it’s the added crap sugar to already crap foods that make our blood sugar/insulin levels go “Holy crap! Hang on, fat!”
I urge everyone reading this to please watch this documentary. It’s now no surprise what added sugar is doing to us. There has been tons of research released to show this. If you want a wake-up call, maybe this documentary will be like it was for me. And it’s on Netflix so there’s no excuse!