At a glance:
- Sugar is in so many of the products we consume today, it is hard to avoid, but important that you do.
- Sugar has so many damaging effects on the body like inflammation, insulin resistance, weight gain, aging, digestive dysfunction, it can also contribute to the onset of chronic disease.
- There are many sugars in disguise in our food and you need to be aware of how to look out for them.
- Removing sugar from your diet can be a difficult process due to its addictive nature and effect on your metabolism, but this is how we suggest you tackle it over 4 weeks.
Sugar encompasses all of the refined and natural sugars added to our food. Sugar is not something that our body cannot digest easily, and can have detrimental effects on our health as a whole, especially when it comes to weight gain.
Sugar is also one of the most addictive substances in our diet but because it is in almost everything we can buy from the supermarket we all don't even realize how addicted we are. Removing refined sugar in your diet will be a remarkable step towards better health.
Sugars effect on the body:
Sugar drives your insulin levels sky-high. This causes insulin resistance and will also prevent your body from burning your stored fat as fuel. This will mean you can suffer from intense cravings for sugar or carbohydrates, low energy, mood swings, hormonal dysregulation, and weight gain.
Sugar is inflammatory. When you eat sugar, your body reacts by activating proinflammatory molecules known as cytokines, these are released into the blood and cause systemic inflammation.
Sugar ages you; your body accumulates destructive molecules, aptly named AGE (advanced glycation end products), as you get older. These molecules make protein fibers dry and brittle, making your skin dull and saggy and even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar sends the AGEing process’ into hyperdrive.
Sugar can have a damaging effect on the gut wall, the bacterial balance in your microbiome and the gut-brain connection, all of which contribute to chronic digestive problems.
Sugar is considered to be more addictive than cocaine. When your diet contains sugar, the body considers this as the fuel of choice, and both the gut and the brain will signal to your body that they need much more of it. This, in part, is why sugar cravings are so common and hard to resist. Feeding your body with high-quality fats can have a profound impact on cravings because your body feels more consistently nourished and fuelled, so it no longer feels the need to cry out for other foods such as sugar.
Sugar in Disguise
- Agave nectar
- Cane sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrate
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Rice syrup
To remove sugar from your diet start slowly, so that this will be a sustainable change. This is not just because sugar is incredibly addictive so you need to remove it with awareness, but this is also because your metabolism will be relying on it for energy, and having this switch away to fat burning can take some time.
Spend the week simply being aware of the sugar in your diet, make a diary and note down at all the points of the day you consume sugar - it will be a lot more than you think. Remember to check the back of the packets!
Cut out all of the refined white and brown sugar and artificial sugar in packaged foods. Like chocolate, candy, soda (watch out for high fructose corn syrup! Yes, this does count)
Remove all of the packeted foods that have sugar added like tinned tomatoes, pre brought meals, curry pastes etc…
Be mindful of the number of natural sugars you are consuming. Even though things like honey, agave syrup are ‘healthy’ alternatives, they still act in the body the exact same way other sugars do, so will still suffer from all the damaging effects, and it will also make it harder to stay away from the other more damaging refined sugar.