I don’t want to scare you too badly with Halloween just days away, but overexposure to added sugar in foods such as candy is a demon you should avoid because of the nasty tricks it plays with your health, including:
· Higher triglyceride levels
· Lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels
· A higher triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio
· Weight gain
· Insulin sensitivity and metabolic syndrome
In other words, if you want to decrease your risk of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes, the solution is simple. Cut out added sugars. Just to be clear, added sugar is a caloric sweetener added to a processed or prepared food. Natural sugars in fruit, vegetables, dairy products and other whole foods have naturally occurring sugars and are integral to the food—meaning they are not added.
The classic added sugar, of course, is the table sugar you might add to your tea, coffee, and cereal. Soft drinks are the largest source of sugar in the American diet, followed by baked goods, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, cereals and yes, candy, including all that Halloween candy that is lurking everywhere right now.
Something else to consider is the glycemic impact of a whole food. Your body reacts to and processes high-glycemic carbs just as it would any food with added sugar—it has a rapid effect on your blood sugar. So, if you think you’re making a smart choice by swapping out a donut for a white bagel at breakfast, think again. These are both high-glycemic choices that affect your blood sugar (and waistline) in exactly the same way.
If you’re following Atkins, you’re on the right path, not just for Halloween, but year around. Atkins is a low-sugar way of living. When you replace basically all the foods we just discussed with fresh vegetables and low glycemic fruits such as berries, dairy such as full fat Greek yogurt or cheese, healthy fats like avocado or olive oil, protein like poultry, lean meat, fish and seafood, and whole grains in moderation, you drastically cut back on all the health issues caused by added sugars or carbohydrates with a high glycemic impact. This is a way of eating that is satisfying, fulfilling and delicious. And that’s not scary at all!