Words like ‘toxic’ and ‘poison’ are not words you associate with food but a growing body of research is starting to show sugar is gnarly stuff; much like vegetable oil it’s making us fat and sick. For the purpose of this post I want to highlight some of the ways sugar is making us sick. As the research grows so will the conversation around sugar, so I’m sure this will be the first post of many.
To start, lets clarify this…when people refer to sugar as bad they are referring to fructose. While it is a naturally occurring substance (just as the seeds used to produce vegetable oil), your average table sugar is a highly processed product. Just like vegetable oil, sugar undergoes extreme heat, chemical purification and bleaching before reaching your kitchen table.
And before you starting thinking that all things are created equal, that it’s as simple as a calorie in – a calorie out – that unfortunately isn’t the case. Our bodies are smart! They know what we need and when we’ve had enough of it…except for fructose. Fructose is about the only thing we eat that doesn’t have a corresponding hormone that tells our body we are full. Put really simply, our bodies don’t recognise fructose, and because it’s not recognised our livers convert it to fat in the form of triglycerides – the dangerous kind of fat, the kind that leads to heart disease and other illness.
It’s commonly known that excess sugar consumption is driving obesity and Type II Diabetes; you can read about a study that looked a weight and sugar consumption here. But you don’t have to be overweight or diabetic in order to look at reducing your sugar intake.
THE RESEARCH IS NOW SHOWING SUGAR:
- depletes minerals and vitamins from your body
- causes stress on your adrenal glands
- suppresses your immune system
- increases cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
- increases blood pressure
- affects eye sight
- leads to auto-immune disease such as asthma and arthritis
- contributes to fatty liver disease
- causes inflammation in the body
- increases your risk of degenerate disease like Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- depletes collagen and elasticity in our tissue (IE: your skin)
- causes infertility problems
- has the ability to alter our DNA and change our gene expression
And if all that wasn’t enough – sugar has been shown to not only promote the growth of cancer (specifically breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, lung and stomach cancers), but also promote more aggressive cancer growth.
I know quitting sugar is hard, and you may not want to go ‘cold turkey’ like me (I’m finding this week tough which I’ll talk about on Monday) so if you want to look at reducing your sugar intake for the better of your health below are some steps you can take.
STEPS TO REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE:
- try to shop around the edge of your supermarket as much as possible. By doing this you’ll avoid the highly processed foods that contain nasty hidden sugars (and vegetable oils).
- avoid soda’s and juice, they are concentrated sugar. Even drinks deemed as ‘healthy’ like Vitamin Water (as an example) can have 8 teaspoons of sugar (a 600ml bottle of Coke has 16 teaspoons). The maximum daily recommendation is 6 teaspoons.
- swap muesli and yoghurt for scrambled eggs, an omelette or poached eggs on toast. Eggs are a great source of protein and good fat. They increase satiety and are a great way to start the day; you won’t be reaching for a sugary ‘pick-me-up’ at morning tea time.
- avoid low-fat products. Low-fat products are very deceptive and producers of such products are very clever at marketing them. When you take fat out of a product you also take flavour out, and one way to put flavour back in is to add sugar.
Please don’t fret if you don’t want to waste the sugar you currently have in your pantry. When mixed with a little oil, say olive or coconut oil, plain-old sugar can turn into a lovely body scrub. You could make your scrub extra special by adding a few drops of essential oils.
If you found this post helpful please share it with your family and friends. And if you have other tips for staying sugar free, or handy suggestions for what to do with unwanted sugar…please feel free to share!