Sugar? No thanks, I’m sweet enough!
Feel free to use the above words at any time you need to resist the temptation of the master seductress sugar! Unfortunately we need to think of sugar as the devil in disguise, for despite its alluring calling it is definitely not our friend, when we now know it consistently negatively impacts our wellness.
You may be thinking “I don’t eat sweets and chocolate, so won’t be eating that much sugar in a day” but you may be surprised to know that there are other foods where sugar is hiding such as bread, hummus, yogurt, muesli bars, cereals (including granola), baby food, sauces, milk and salad dressings. When it comes to convenience food, sugar is just about impossible to avoid.
Sugar is an addictive substance. An addictive substance has two traits:
- Having just a small amount leaves you wanting more.
- Suddenly cutting it our cold turkey causes withdrawals.
Sugar is also 99 percent pure calories, with NO vitamins, minerals, proteins or fats – just carbohydrates that spike our blood sugar, followed by an insulin response and a rollercoaster sugar crash. Plus – and this is quite a sticking point – leading us to then desire more.
If I said to you today, cut all food out that has sugar in it, how do you think your body (and mind) would respond? It’s likely it would have an addiction withdrawal.
I often get asked why have we gone from “low fat” to “low sugar”?
The age-old nutritional advice to “eat low fat” has been seriously undermined by many studies that show such a way of eating is rarely effective to promote weight loss or a healthy lifestyle.
You may have noticed in the last 5 years or so though, that most marketing for food products has gone from “low fat” to “low sugar”,“ low carb” or low GI” which has left you wondering why and what it all means?
First, let me give you a few statistics.
The average daily caloric intake has increased by 25% since 1970, yet we are eating less saturated fats like butter which are higher in calories. In this time, there was a 20% surge of carbohydrate intake though, particularly refined grains. What this means is that we have cut out fats but are eating way more carbohydrates to make up for not feeling as full for as long. With this change, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes has also surged and the research into why clearly shows it was the effects of carbohydrates (sugars) that were responsible.
When we consume foods with any type of sugar, whether it is natural or refined, the sugar is broken down and enters the bloodstream. Depending on whether it is a complex carbohydrate, such as oats, or a simple carbohydrate, such as white sugar, determines how quickly this carbohydrate is broken down and enters the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases insulin to remove the sugars from the blood and into the cells for energy. When not needed for energy, it is converted into stored fat. So essentially, the theory that fat makes you fat (so they removed the fat and replaced it with sugar) actually made us gain more fat !!
Sugar is disguised in many different ways and it is important to learn all of the names it goes by so you can avoid it.
- Cane sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit Juice – common in yogurts
- Barley malt
- Evaporated cane juice
Really anything that ends in “ose”
The World Health Organisation recommends a total of 4 teaspoons (16 grams) of sugar per day. An average Australian has 14 teaspoons (60 grams) per day!
What are the effects of a high intake of sugar?
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Hormone imbalance
- Gestational diabetes
- Non – alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Mood disorders
- Sleep disorders
Removing sugar from your daily diet can seem difficult at first, but what price do you put on your health? A study at UCLA continues the story of sugar’s detriments, showing that it negatively alters learning and memory while slowing the brain. No wonder we are beginning to see some school canteens go sugar-free, and I am a huge advocate of this for all of the above reasons.
It’s a strategic process becoming sugar-free and staying sugar-free. And it’s one that you want to explore for all the benefits in store:
- clarity of mind
- reduced inflammation
- weight loss
- hormone regulation
- neurotransmitter balancing
- steady energy levels through the afternoon
- reduced bloating
- reduced anxiety
- normalised hunger signals
- and more!
An alcoholic wouldn’t attempt to quit without any support and so let me be that support for your sugar addiction.
Tips for reducing carbohydrate intake:
- Start the day with healthy fats and protein (e.g. eggs, mushrooms and avocado) rather than carbohydrates (e.g. jam on toast).
- Have a wide range of whole foods that supply a variety of nutrients for energy throughout the day.
- If having a 10am or 3pm energy slump, go for nuts, seeds, boiled eggs or a nut butter on veggie sticks over a sugary snack. Chia puddings are also a fabulous option that you can have ready to grab and go.
- Smoothies: add in a healthy fat like avocado or a little bit of linseed or coconut oil, coconut milk or nuts to help stabilise the effect of the fruit sugars. It will also keep you fuller for longer.
- Keeping a food journal, so that your are mindful of what you are eating. With this increased awareness you can sense when you are full and how your cravings have reduced.
Through gradual strategic changes in your eating habits, and when needed additional support of some key nutritional supplements, I can help you make the change.
Why not do it with a group of beautiful folk and join us in the 5 day Sugar-Free challenge starting 1st of April? Enjoy a full body rest and reset with daily emails, encouragement and support, and decisively kick the sugar habit for good!
To join in, CLICK HERE to sign up or send a DM to Mel on insta @meltkitchen
Let’s do this!