Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sugar: a Sweet Poison to a Diabetic's Diet

Is sugar bad for a person with diabetes? A lot of people say yes.

Sugar, when used alone as a term per se, refers to the ordinary table sugar. It is processed from sucrose, which is present in the green leaves of all plants. Some plants such as sugar cane and sugar beets, store large amount of sucrose in their stems and roots and are used as source of commercial sugar.

As a food, ordinary sugar is concentrated but is a relatively cheap source of energy. A tablespoonful of sugar which is equivalent to one half ounce represents 60 calories. This is a lot calorie from only one source for a meal.

Sugar is any of a group of carbohydrates that can be dissolved in water and has more or less sweet taste.Except for people with diabetes, sugar is easily and rapidly assimilated in the body. It also tends to satisfy hunger, as artificial sweeteners.
Here are a few foods rich in sugar: 

  • soft drinks
  • juices
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • cakes
  • other desserts
In whatever we do, when we walk, run, jump, lift a weight, carry the weight- our body burns sugar or glucose, the body's primary source of energy.

People with diabetes, have reasons to go slow or totally reject sugar for their food. Anyways, there is glucose found in carbohydrates, a better alternate. All starchy foods we eat have carbohydrates in them that yield sugar- our body's best source of energy.

Glucose is divided into two categories, namely;
  • Simple sugar which is further grouped into 2- Monosaccharides is a compound of crystalline sugar with an organic base occurring  naturally in fruits, honey, and others. It consists of simple molecules. These are glucose, fructose,  and galactose. Diasaccharides consists of 2 molecules combined. These are sucrose or table sugar, lactose or milk sugar, and maltose or malt sugar.
  • Complex Carbohydrates (or starch) has at least 10nsaccharides found in plant food like wheat, rice, potatoes, beans, corn, yam
Carbohydrates is further grouped into 1. beneficial carbohydrates in whole grain, bread, brown rice (highly nutritious) 2. refined carbohydrates ( with least nutritional value) as in white sugar and white flour

Most carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) when digested for body energy. The rest that the body doesn't need immediately enter the liver and the muscles to be stored as glycogen. Glycogen provides energy when the body demands it. However, any surplus is converted into fat and is stored in the body. If it is unused, it accumulates. This gives rise to weight increase.

Excess glucose in the body impairs blood circulation.  Combined with excess fat, dieters, like the diabetics, resort to fasting or starving themselves to death in their desire to lose weight due to accumulated fats. This is extremely a dangerous practice.

If because of fasting, the body doesn't receive enough supply of nutrients, it will exhaust its store of fats. The the body  begins to digest its muscles, including cardiac muscles. This can lead to heart failure aside from other vitamin-deficiency risks that weakens the body.

The body needs sugar, the high quality one and the best sources are organic foods like fruits and vegetables. The way sugar is assimilated and stored in the body in excess gives us the more reasons to:

  • have a well-ordered diet plan, especially if we are diabetic
  • eat carbohydrates for our sugar, but in moderation, to eat only enough
  • exercise to sweat off excess sugar from the body
Diabetics, with abnormal body absorption of blood glucose, must know the reason why their  diabetologists advise them on eating with moderation. My doctor once said, if I was eating 3 times a day daily,  he would allow me to eat 8 times with little food but  right food each time and spread out to allow digestion and assimilation to take place in the right way.

Photo 1 courtesy of Kanko

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