Devotional Readings

April 25: Sugar in the Morning?

It is not good to eat too much honey. Proverbs 25:27, NIV.

Sugar in the morning? You bet. Millions of us start the day with dessert, whether it's frosted Pop Tarts, marshmallow laden cereal, chocolate yogurt, or a muffin the size of a small TV. Then we spend the next 14 hours chugging more sweets, from a mid morning Danish to a vanilla shake at lunch to cookies after dinner. Meanwhile, soft drinks rise around us like flood waters: we're swigging nearly 54 gallons a year per person.

Americans are consuming more than three fourths of a cup of sugar a day for each man, woman, and child. We can't seem to get enough of the white stuff, even as science warns of obesity and other health risks. Are we off to a sweet hereafter?

People don't realize how much sugar they are consuming because most of it is hidden sugar. For example, soft drinks are the biggest source of refined sugar in the U.S. diet, carrying eight to 12 teaspoons per 12-ounce can. A frozen yogurt contains 12 teaspoonfuls of sugar.

Sugar is also hidden in most prepared foods such as canned soups and fruits, pot pies, ketchup, TV dinners, and many brands of peanut butter. Most ready to eat cereals contain sugar, and some, such as Fruit Loops and Sugar Smacks, carry 50 percent or more of their calories as sugar.

Refined, concentrated sugars enter the bloodstream quickly. Up goes the blood sugar, resulting in a quick energy boost a sugar high. But the high is only temporary because it triggers a surge of insulin. Insulin brings down blood sugar levels and, in the absence of the modulating effects of fiber, sometimes pulls it down too fast and too far.

A falling blood sugar level often mimics symptoms of hypoglycemia, producing feelings of weakness, hunger, fatigue, and let-down--the sugar blues. The usual reaction is to reach for another sugary snack, and then another, leading to a sort of grazing all day long. Try eating an apple, a banana, or a bowl of brown rice. The fiber in these foods slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. The sugar levels won't jump around so much, your energy will stabilize, and you'll feel satisfied longer.

The wise man warned us that even a natural food such as honey can be abused. The lesson? Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Lord, I know my body is a temple. Help me to treat it that way.

--Aileen Ludington


from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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