Sunday, March 21, 2021

Don't Blame Being Fat on Aging


If you're over the age of 50 and weigh at least 20 pounds more than you did 20 years ago, you can blame  it on the pandemic.  Being stuck in a house, day after day for over a year, with nothing much to do but eat surely packed on some pounds.  

Okay-----You can stick to that story if you like but there's an even bigger reason as to why some of us are carrying around a thicker waist, thighs, and butt.  As we age many of us tend to be less active, which slows down our metabolism and we all know metabolism determines how many calories we burn daily.  The older we get the more likely we are to scale back on all of those strenuous, but fun, activities we used to do like biking for 5 miles, hiking, being a gym rat while showing off how much you can lift. or those one-hour Zumba classes three days a week.

But here's the REAL truth:  SUGAR is the guilty culprit.  Most packaged foods, snacks, and drinks are sweetened with fructose, a simple sugar from fruits or veggies like corn. Your liver turns it into fat. If you regularly pump fructose into your body, tiny drops of fat build up in your liver. This is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. But the average American intake is more than double that:  22 teaspoons a day (88 grams). For example, just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar -- and no nutritional benefit.  So if you drink a can of soda every day and don’t cut calories elsewhere in your diet, in three years you’ll be 15 pounds heavier. Putting on too much weight can lead to problems like diabetes and some cancers. The more ut over time, swelling and scarring can damage your liver. 

Too much sugar during the day can also mess with your blood glucose levels and cause energy spikes and crashes. You may struggle to stay awake at work or doze off  for that "afternoon nap."  In the evening, a bowl of ice cream, cookies or a couple of glasses of sweet wine can pump you with sugar and keep you up at night. It also can cut short the time you’re in deep sleep so you may not wake up feeling refreshed.

Several studies have linked sugar and mental health problems. One of the latest showed that men who ate more than 66 grams of sugar a day -- almost double what’s recommended -- were 23 percent more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression than men who ate 40 grams or less. Too much sugar could fuel depression through swelling, or inflammation, in your brain, which is more common in people with depression.

Here's the KILLER:   Sugary drinks may add years to your biological age. DNA called telomeres cap the end of your chromosomes to protect them from damage. Longer is better. Shortened telomeres may go hand in hand with age-related diseases like diabetes. One study found that people who drink 20 ounces of soda a day have shorter telomeres. Researchers figure that’s like adding more than 4 years to the age of your cells.

I'm not writing to tell you to cut all sugar out of your diet but what I am saying is you may want to cut back if you've also cut back on your active lifestyle.  Right now, everyone is using the pandemic as an excuse for those extra pounds but the pandemic will soon be behind us so what will your excuse be then?

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