By Abby Lowe
If our energy is low or we need to feel happier, more satisfied or comforted, we often turn to sugar. Sugar is an instantaneous solution to tired moments. It shoots our energy through the roof, but later we crash. Then, we have more sugar. it’s a vicious circle that can really take a toll on our bodies. Truck drivers are very susceptible to this unhealthy cycle due to a lot of waiting time for loads which allows them chances to snack.
Our bodies are always trying to achieve homeostasis—balance. You’re up late at night but get up early, so you reach for foods that are energizing. You reach for something sugary—then comes the crash and the need for more energy. It’s a continuous sugar roller-coaster instead of a smooth ride for your body.
Sugar causes exhaustion, hypoglycemia, diabetes and weakens the immune system. It’s also why, in the middle of the afternoon, that sluggish, tired, foggy feeling washes over us. Coffee and donut for breakfast, candy bar and more coffee or soda mid-morning, hamburger and soda for lunch…. By three o’clock, the “tireds” set in due to lack of nutrients and sugar overload.
When we eat simple carbohydrates—cookies, muffins, candy and things that have a lot of sugar—the body absorbs the sugar and breaks it down very quickly. The body gets used to having this rush of energy and the pancreas gets really good at doing its job. When the pancreas gets that good at its job, your body can develop insulin resistance, which is the precursor for diabetes. Find more articles on truck driver health and fitness from CDLLife.
Have you ever heard sugar referred to as “empty calories?” Sugarcane looks like bamboo. To make it into white table sugar, it’s stripped of its fiber and nutrients by extracting and crystallizing the sugarcane’s juice. Because refined sugar has very few minerals, the body has to pull from its store of vitamins and minerals to digest the sugar. Vitamins and minerals are pulled from the bones, teeth, and tissue which can cause serious nutritional deficiencies. The more sugar you eat, the more vitamins and minerals you need.
Two-hundred years ago, an average person ate 20-30 teaspoons of sugar in a lifetime. Today, an average person eats about 150 pounds of sugar a year. A 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew (which is actually 2.5 servings), has 1/3 of a cup of sugar. So, three 20-ounce Mountain Dews a day is equal to an entire cup of sugar. How many people drink three sodas a day? I know quite a few.
In my next post, I’ll tell you why drinking diet soda isn’t necessarily a healthy alternative to regular soda and suggest some sugar-alternatives and better beverages.