I am confident that if I straw polled a group of people in the centre of Cardiff that the majority would agree that sugar is not a health food. It does however concern me that the majority of people are unsure of how badly it affects our bodies. Are people aware that it is the worst food we can consume? and that it’s also responsible for the increase in many of the avoidable diseases in this country?
Also, are people aware of how many and which foods now actually contain added sugar and high fructose corn syrup (sugars cheaper and more dangerous relative)?
It has been found that a high intake of sugar is linked to the development in high instances of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer in this country.
Some people may find these studies surprising considering sugar has been in our ancestor’s diet for 100,000s to millions of years. However there is a big difference between occasionally eating fruits high in natural sugars and eating all the refined sugars in products that have only recently been created.
Sugar can be found in cakes, sweets and chocolate bars but can also be found in huge quantities in salad dressings, soft drinks, condiments and basically any processed foods.
Another reason why sugar is so bad for you is that it is highly addictive. Studies have shown that sugar consumption activates certain reward centres in your brain similar to drugs like cocaine – It’s therefore not surprising that we struggle so badly to give into those cravings for cakes and chocolate bars!
People are often unaware that they are consuming large quantities of sugar that are hidden in breakfast cereal, bread and other processed foods. Consumers then without realising it become addicted to these products. It’s therefore really difficult to break this cycle!
Another problem with consuming too much sugar is that it interferes with the hormone Leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tells our brain that we have had enough to eat. As sugar gets in the way of this hormone then people who consume too much sugar and processed foods are left feeling hungry and consume more and more. It’s a viscous circle!
This cartoon on You Tube explains really well the effects of sugar on our health; I hope you find it informative. It’s based on the USA but unfortunately our obesity and diabetes levels in this country are catching up fast! I’m not sure I agree with the last part, yes it is our responsibility to change our food habits and this may affect what the food manufacturer’s produce, however I do think that it is also our government’s responsibility to put tighter regulations on the food manufacturers and to better educate our children about proper nutrition in schools – but that’s probably a conversation for another day! What do you think?
10 reasons why we should stay away from sugar!
- It makes us fat
- It’s addictive
- It increases the size of our liver
- It lower’s our immune system
- It causes mood swings
- It weakens our teeth
- It drags valuable nutrients from our body
- It causes premature aging
- Increases symptoms of PMS
- Increases anxiety and panic in people suffering from anxiety disorders
So we now know how bad sugar is and why we should stay away from it. Why then are we as intelligent people still consuming these products in high quantities? It goes back to my previous comments about the addictive nature of sugar, so how are we going to go about cutting out sugar and beating those cravings for good? Here are some tips that you might like to try!
How to beat the sugar cravings?
- Start your day with a really healthy protein breakfast. Eating eggs in the morning is said to keep you fuller for longer and you will less likely crave those sugary treats mid morning.
- Make sure you know how much sugar you’re consuming. If you do drink a fruit juice for example then know what a gram of sugar equals – you are more likely to consume less if you understand the quantities. 15g of sugar equals about 1 tablespoon of sugar!
- Eat fruit which is lower in sugar – good examples are berries like raspberries and blackberries. Fruit which is higher in sugar are bananas, grapes and dried fruits.
- Stay away from sweeteners – they are often 600 times sweeter than sugar itself. As well as putting an awful lot of chemicals into your body you are just going to make your cravings for sweet things worse in the long run.
- Eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice. There is half the amount of sugar in an orange than in a glass of orange juice and the sugar in the orange is also absorbed a lot slower.
- If you can’t beat the craving for sweet food then how about try and have a handful of blueberries. They are full in antioxidants and natural sugars and are really good for you. If you have to have dessert then try adding blueberries to full fat natural yoghurt – delicious and super healthy!
I hope you have found this article about sugar interesting and that you now understand the importance of cutting it out of your diet as much as possible.
Please let me know as usual if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help!