Schizophrenia and Weight Gain

  • Sugar, it turns out, is a prime culprit in the poundage war as well as a guilty party in Type 2 diabetes for Americans.  It could be implicated in weight gain for individuals with schizophrenia as well.

     

    While in a hospital waiting room I watched the Katie Couric show where she interviewed the directors of Fed Up, a movie documentary that exposes the sugar and corn industries as players fueling America's obesity epidemic.  They were asked to comment on this and claimed a person had to take responsibility for his habits.  I welcome them to respond to this news article.

     

    I want to write about sugar busting and how doing this can help us trim our waistlines and reduce the threat of metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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    It's a myth that most Americans lack the willpower or discipline to control what they eat and how often they exercise.  In reality: packing on the sugar pounds makes it harder to lose weight even if a person exercises.

     

    News articles over the years have reported on how people can walk on a treadmill to nowhere over and over because they exit the gym and continue snacking at home not realizing their efforts are all for naught.

     

    Seeing the Katie Couric interview got me to re-think what I eat and drink and I'm not overweight.  Thus I wanted to focus on the dark side of sugar consumption here.

     

    One-third of Americans are obese.  One in 3 Americans could have diabetes by 2050.   Our citizens won't qualify to become members of our military because we weigh too much to serve our country.

     

    Knowledge is power and you can fight back.  The daily recommended amount of sugar, if a guideline were set, would hover at 9 teaspoons.  One gram of sugar equals one teaspoon.  The average American consumes 50 grams of sugar if not more every day.

     

    An article in the June issue of Women's Health magazine also claims that sugar can be as addictive as hard drugs for some people.  The total sugar grams on a product's label hide the amount of "added sugars" it contains.  The recommended limit for added sugar is 6 teaspoons or 24 grams per day.

     

    A breakfast bar typically has 6.25 teaspoons or 25 grams in one bar.  Fruit-flavored yogurt has 7.75 teaspoons or 31 grams in 6 ounces.

     

    Though there's a recommended limit: it's advisable not to hit that point every day just because you think it's OK to consume that much sugar.  Normal-weight individuals are at risk for heart disease because they regularly have sugary food and drink.

     

    The reward center of the brain: the nucleus accumbens: lights up in the brains of study participants who are given a high-sugar treat.  For some of us, sugar dependences comes with withdrawal symptoms, just like a street drug does in a person who stops taking it.

     

    The more sugar you eat, it's likely you'll weigh more and the duller your "sweet" taste buds could become.  You'll need to consume more and more sugar to get the same sensory satisfaction as that first sugar rush you ever had.

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    Unhealthful food and drink is cheap and ubiquitous.  This causes us to reach for what's convenient and wallet-friendly.  I'd like to talk about how to resist this siren's song of sugary delights.

     

    First, nix soft drinks and colas even if they are diet sodas.  Drinking them at all not just once or twice a day will ruin your fitness.  Sugary sports drinks also have no benefit even though they're full of seductive promises.  Do only this and you'll be ahead of the game.

     

    Read the labels.  Any food with more than 15 grams of sugar might not be the best bet for routine snacking.  I found out that a bottle of Honest Tea has 20 grams of sugar: almost as much as a bottle of Snapple regular lemon iced tea that has 39 grams. Though I drink this instead of Snapple now, I do so at most two times a week.  I limit the size of the drink to a small "cheers" glass.  Deciding the kinds of trade-offs that are acceptable is important to me.  You can do an analysis of your own food and drink habits to see what you want to change.

     

    Read the labels.  Any ingredient ending in -ose is a form of sugar.  257 names exist for all the kinds of sugar out there.

     

    Read the labels to find sugar masquerading in supposedly healthy food.  All calories are not created equal.  A 100-calorie container of plain Greek yogurt is better than a 100-calorie "snack pack."  Snack packs have what's called empty calories because they provide no nutritional benefit.

     

    Cereals also could tend to have high sugar loads.  My Nature's Path whole grain cereal has 9 grams of sugar per serving which I think is OK.

     

    Katie Couric interviewed an M.D. who claimed sugar can indeed be labeled a drug because of its addictive effect.  This addictive nature of sugar is why it's the number-one culprit in the poundage war.

     

    At the hospital, I had a peach Snapple iced tea with my lunch in the cafeteria and a package of vanilla sugar wafers from a vending machine there.  This was at 1 p.m.  At 9 p.m., I still felt the effects of all that sugar buzzing around in my body and brain.

     

    Claiming Americans are overweight because we lack willpower and discipline is like a financial expert claiming we're poor because we spend too much money on lattes every day.  With the widespread use of sugar in nearly every product and in processed foods: it's all too easy to succumb to chasing after the next sugar high.

     

    It's time to give ourselves some credit and to understand why it's so hard to lose weight when unhealthful food is strategically placed on shelves in supermarkets and in chain drug store food aisles.

     

    Do one thing at a time to change your behavior on the road to a healthier you.

     

    See if it makes sense that the first thing you do is to reduce the amount of sugar you consume each day.  It might just make a big difference.  You also might feel better.  You might have a newly clear mind and a higher energy level.  Plus a reduced waistline.

Published On: June 01, 2014