The average trucker gains 12 lbs. a year. Why? Food on the road may taste good but, it can be addictive and horribly debilitating! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. My data at Research shows the average trucker weighs 220 lbs., is 5’8” tall, and takes up to 4 medications each day. Most are smokers at a cost of $5000/year minimum. The cost of sugar consumption is more than twice that or more per year for the Over the Road Trucker.

2012: Americans consume 756 grams of sugar every five days, or 130 POUNDS of sugar a year. Sugar is the hardest carbohydrate to even begin to understand. Sugar comes from many sources and names that some of you will never recognize. So, if the word ends in “ose” it is a form of sugar. Glucose, sucrose, lactose, and the worst of all, fructose. Unfortunately, it’s not just natural sugar that’s killing us but, scientifically manufactured “sugar” is also shortening lives. The list of sugars is endless. Below is a list of just a few of the sugars that can be listed on labels. You can be getting large amounts of sugar and not know it unless you read and understand the ingredients on the label. Without understanding what you are eating and how it affects you, eventually you will gain weight.

  • Agave nectar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Organic evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Syrup

The idea behind changing the names of the sugar is to get around folks like you and me by keeping us in the dark about want we are eating.

From Prevention (, here are some ways sugar negatively affects your body.

  1. Sugar makes your organs fat (fatty liver disease).

(Tip: Avoid processed sugar)

  1. Sugar primes your body for diabetes (too much sugar=increased chance of diabetes).

(Tip: READ fool labels and avoid, as much as you can, anything that comes in a box or package)

  1. Sugar hammers your heart (heart disease and diabetes are intricately related).

(Keep sugar intake to below 5 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men)

  1. Sugar creates tense blood vessels (puts you on the path to high blood pressure).

(Tip: “Whole grain” products spike sugar levels)

  1. Sugar promotes cholesterol chaos (increases bad cholesterol).

(Tip: Eat a protein rich breakfast.  You will eat fewer calories during the day)

  1. Sugar leads to type 3 diabetes (gestational diabetes mellitus – diagnosed during pregnancy).

(Tip: Again, READ food labels.  Understand that “A sugar by any other name is still a sugar”)

  1. Sugar turns you into a junkie (it’s addictive).

(Tip: It takes a week or two to “detox” from too much sugar. Stay the course and you will be on the right path to better health)

  1. Sugar turns you into a ravenous animal (increases hunger).

(Tip: Substitute sugar cravings with a 15-minute walk.  Sitting actually increases cravings)

  1. Sugar makes you an energy-starved zombie (Sugar spike-and-crash sets you up to want more sugar—a vicious cycle).

(Tip: Once you are “detoxed” try sugar lowering swaps – READ the label)

  1. Sugar turns your smile upside down (mood swings).

(Tip: “Detox” slowly over several weeks to help maintain a good mood)

  1. Sugar wrecks you face (causes wrinkles).

(Tip: Beware natural sweeteners – example, Agave fruit boosts fructose content – a teaspoon of honey per day is a good substitute)

Why does sugar make you gain weight? If you do not use the sugar by burning it up with activity, exercise, or work it is stored by the body as fat. Here is how!

The liver is the processor for all chemicals that we ingest by mouth. Some are passed on to the kidney for elimination. This includes sugar. This is why we check your urine.  Too much sugar in your urine and you may have diabetes. Another endocrine organ called the pancreas is closely co-located to the liver.  It helps the liver decide if insulin is needed when you eat sugar of any type. If the sugar is not immediately used by the body (burned up) for energy, it is used by the liver as an ingredient in cholesterol triglycerides formation. These are fat molecules that the body stores inside the fat cell. These are what can cause fatty liver disease (see my article “Fatty Liver Disease” in the most recent issue of Western Trucking Association’s Western Transportation Magazine)

So how does sugar make me fat? It’s called lipogenesis. From Wikipedia: 

Lipogenesis is the process by which acetyl-CoA is converted to fatty acids. The former is an intermediate stage in metabolism of simple sugars, such as glucose, a source of energy of living organisms. Through lipogenesis and subsequent triglyceride synthesis, the energy can be efficiently stored in the form of fats.

Simply put, excess sugar gets stored as fat which, unfortunately for you and me, means weight gain.  The most dangerous sugar to consume is fructose since it is stored faster than sucrose or table sugar.  So, remember the two sugars (carbohydrates) that we consume the most in the US are high fructose corn syrup and sucrose table sugar. These are stored in fat cells at a higher and faster rate.

I recommend you eat a little protein with every meal.  It will help you be less hungry between meals and slow down sugar storage.  This will also give you a chance to burn off some of the sugar before it gets stored in your cells.  Once that happens, it’s a lot harder to get rid of the extra or stored energy (fat). This is why I gulp down my protein drink in the morning on the way to the GYM.

To lose weight, one must remember there are good fats and bad fats, but there are no good sugars. The hunter-gather concept (HG concept) takes over when you consume too much sugar. There was a time when we, as hunter/gathers, were not guaranteed, three square meals a day. Our bodies became programed not to waste energy.  When food, or excess food, was available and consumed, extra sugars were processed into fat stores for a rainy day. The HG concept is used by athletes every day. Look at Olympic swimmers or runners who consume minimal calories at breakfast on completion days. They depend on carbohydrate loading (they eat a lot of carbohydrates/complex sugars) the day before a competition and the stored energy in their fat cells.  Running 101: What To Eat Before A Race | LIVESTRONG.COM.

Well, we need to do our next article for our trucker friends on what not to eat while sitting in a truck all day. Remember, eat well and exercise for a healthy and longer life.

Mon Oct 30 2017 | 1,142 views | 0 |

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