Sugar has been in the news a lot recently, and maybe you are sick of people talking about it. Maybe you don’t want to feel guilty for that glass of coke or that extra slice of cake, and fair enough – it’s your choice. But what if it is seriously affecting your, and your family’s, longterm health?
It’s easy to listen to the news and think that sugar is a “fat” person problem, or that you don’t drink sugary, carbonated drinks, so you’re ok. But unfortunately that’s not the case. Sugar, in any form (fruit sugars, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup..), is potentially harmful – yep, you read that right, but hear me out.
The negative effects of sugar are numerous and far reaching – to the point that it was recommended by scientists years ago that it be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. The effects are that serious. It is that toxic.
I know that when I’m having an autoimmune flare-up – fatigued, headachy, joint ache, big puffy eyes (all because of my thyroid disease), the first thing I need to do is check the amount of sugar in my diet. And I generally don’t eat much sugar at all.
- Metabolic Syndrome: diabetes, hypertension, liver problems, cardiovascular disease and non-alcohol fatty liver (Read more HERE).
- Fat stores – when consumed in high doses, fructose overwhelms your liver’s ability to process it, so it gets stored as fat to stop it harming your body.
- Hormonal mayhem – For a start, fructose suppresses gut hormones that tell you you are full (leading to over eating). Secondly, glucose causes your body to flood with insulin (a growth hormone), which is good and normal, but over stimulus can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. If you have a condition that involves the endocrine system e.g. thyroid disease, then you need to have a think about sugar.
- “Bad” gut micro flora bloom, leaving you bloated, sluggish and unable to digest food properly.
- Tooth decay
- Cancer risk and poor prognosis (read HERE).
- Chronic Inflammation – all those underlying, background symptoms -aches and pains, arthritis, headaches – may relate back to sugar.
So, am I suggesting you never eat anything sweet again, including fruit? No.
I am suggesting that you take a look at how much of each sugar type you currently eat and whether the risks are worth it. Learn how much your body can tolerate and chose the types you consume wisely.
Of course I’m not telling you to stop eating fruit, just don’t under estimate it’s sugar content – always go for the whole fruit, which includes fibre and water to help your body deal with the sugar, rather than juices or dried fruit.
What should you do? Here are some absolute basics:
- Stop drinking soft drinks, fruit juices and squash/cordial – swap for tea, vegetable juice or water with lemon or lime.
- Start checking labels. Anything with more than 5% sugar is not a good option.
- Get in the kitchen – Clear out your cupboards and start cooking. Get rid of your packaged, processed food. Buy fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses and lean meat. You don’t need to be a master chef to put together a quick and healthy meal.
- Stop buying low fat foods – fat is not bad. Sugar is bad, and sugar gets turned into fat. Low fat foods are full of sugar.
Confused or don’t know where to start? Send me an EMAIL.
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It is hard to live a low-sugar life, because it’s become the norm to consume a lot of sugar on a daily basis. It’s normal for kids to have sugary snacks throughout the day, and to top-up on sugar-fill fruit juices or squash. In fact, if you “deprive” your child of these tasty, toxic, treats you are considered slightly strange and probably a bit mean. I try to make it as easy for my kids as possible, and am usually ready with a healthier alternative, but it takes planning and motivation.
I think it’s worth it – I’m sticking at it for our long term health.
Are you on a low-sugar eating plan? How has it benefited you?