Sugar, Sugar Everywhere…….. And Too Much to Eat

By Joanne Mulhall

November 7, 2018

Core Wellness Solutions

Posted In: Fitness, General Health, Nutrition


10 days ago, I embarked on a low net carb regime. Some colleagues are following a more strict Ketogenic plan, which I will test soon and give some feedback on this, but for this first two weeks, I knew a lower carb plan; net carbs of maximum 50 per day, is what I could reasonably manage, given my husband I had 4 day getaway planned at a resort in the interior of BC. If you’ve read previous blog posts, you know I am not about any specific dietary regime as a rule of thumb, which ends up putting pretty strict lines around what you eat and does strange things to our mindset. Dis-ordered eating is very prevalent and I don’t want to encourage that with my clients.

This is what we know about carbohydrates: we have simple and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are whole grains and whole foods with a high fibre content. They digest more slowly due to the fibre and therefore don’t spike blood sugar. The Glycemic Load is ideally low. Simple carbs are processed and refined flour products, some fruits and pure sugar. The simple carbs digest quickly and are used by the body as a primary source of fuel. Glycemic Load is generally high. Excess sugar is stored in the muscle but also as fat. The pancreas and liver work together to do the balancing act of keeping blood sugar levels balanced in the body and keep us in a relatively happy, healthy state.

The net carbohydrate count of many foods, even healthy ones, can be relatively high – take steel cut oats for example. A net carb amount of 27 for ¼ cup of oats. Add to that any sweetener; fruit, sugar or maple syrup and it goes up considerably. According to Macronutrient guidelines carbs should provide 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. So if you eat a 2000-calorie diet, you should aim for about 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day. But if you need to lose weight, you will get much faster results eating around 50 to 150 grams of carbs. So you can easily see how fast these numbers can add up if you’re not paying attention. I personally would consume much less – around 168-243g. The obvious sugary high carb things are easy to avoid. It’s the foods where we think we’re eating something healthy and simply not checking the numbers. I also know physiologically that with toxins in our environment, overuse of alcohol and other substances and high stress levels for a lot of people, our hard working liver and pancreas have a harder time keeping up, along with other components of our metabolism, so our ability to use these carbs efficiently gets impaired.

10 days in, however, and this is what I (and my hubby who happily joined me in this) am learning so far. The exercise of measuring and tracking my food intake for one month is showing me real numbers that I had gotten out of touch with. I do recommend this to my clients for a week or two as my husband, who is a scientist, has always said the credo of science is “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. I don’t intend to continue to measure after the month but use my new awareness to make more mindful choices. I feel lighter and leaner, my weight and my percent body fat Have both dropped by a few pounds and percentage points. My brain feels more switched on and my energy, which is generally quite good, has gone up a notch. All positive things.

We are all unique and there is never a one size fits all approach, but learning more about your body and the food you feed it is always a good thing.