Refined foods now make up more than 50% of the modern diet. As a Nation we seem to be catching up to America for the amount of sugar we consume per year and also with their obesity levels too.
Pastas, white flour and bread, most breakfast cereals, polished rice, are all refined carbohydrates and have a similar effect on your low blood sugar levels as does sugar itself.
White sugar contains no enzymes, minerals and vitamins. It is nearly 100% sucrose which is void of any health giving food.
Sugar has to rob the missing enzymes, minerals and vitamins from reserves in your body or from other food you eat. The colour of molasses shows how much goodness has been extracted. It tells us which minerals and vitamins are missing in sugar itself. So these elements need to be robbed to allow metabolism of sugar.
To stop eating sugar is not as simple as cutting sugar out of tea or coffee because a look at labels in the supermarket show that it is in a surprising number of products. When shopping check for the following on the packaging: sugar, sugar syrup, glucose, corn syrup, invert sugar, cane syrup, natural sweetener, dextrose and sucrose.
Sugar not only leaches the body of essential vitamins and minerals but also sets off the up and down cycles of blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
The constant imbalance, over time, causes hypoglycemia. This must be seen as a warning before diabetes, heart and kidney diseases take hold.
There is no nourishment in sugar and, especially with the vast quantities in modern diets, should be avoided totally. In food there are natural starches and sugars, along with proteins, fats, minerals and enzymes. These slowly release sugar into the blood as fuel when the body and brain requires it.
Today, we consume 150 lbs of sugar per person per year; up from 125 lbs in 1980. So, if you thought obesity had become more noticeable in the recent past, it is because it has.
Excess sugar and refined products lead to the well known hypoglycaemic symptoms of lack of concentration, irritability and unprovoked anxieties, which if ignored, lead to insomnia and exhaustion.
Why do we find it so hard to give sugar up?
Plain and simple, sugar is addictive. Scientific studies where rats were given sugar to binge on. They found that rats exhibited signs of addiction withdrawal, including “the shakes” and changes in brain chemistry when the effects of the sugar were cut off. These signs are similar to those produced by drug withdrawal.
Sugar triggers the brain’s natural opioids – the key to the addiction process. The brain gets addicted to its own opioids as it would to morphine or heroin.
Sugar makes our insulin levels rise which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and premature ageing.
Sugar is also known to aggravate asthma, promote mental illness, anxiety, hyperactivity, mood swings, provoke personality changes, nourish nervous disorders, grow gallstones, cause arthritis, and cancer.
Sugar is addictive like Cocaine
Did you know that refined sugar is far more addictive than cocaine? Research shows that an astonishing 94% of rats who were allowed to choose between sugar, water and cocaine, chose sugar.
Researchers speculate that the sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on our tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when our diets were very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times’ high sugar consumption.
The abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar rich diets generates excessive reward signals in our brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms, and lead to addiction.
Damage to our Genes
When we eat sugar, not only do our genes turn off controls designed to protect us from heart disease and diabetes, but the impact lasts for up to two weeks!
If we eat poorly for a long time our DNA may become permanently altered and the effects could be passed on to our children and grandchildren.
We are born with a set of genes, but the expression of those genes is not set in stone. Our genes can be either activated or silenced by various factors including our diet, and even our mind!
Emotions play a major role too.
So, whenever you feel the desire to binge on sugary or junk foods, it’s necessary that you have a system in place to help curb those cravings. Now you know why will power and self-control simply don’t work for most people! You need to start by consciously putting certain strategies in place.
How to ditch Sugar
Cut back slowly on your sugar consumption
If you currently eat a lot of sugar, it can be hard to stop eating it all of a sudden. Not only is it more of a challenge to find good, healthy foods to eat, but it can also have a negative effect on your body.
Someone who goes from eating a lot of sugar to no sugar at all can feel irritable, drowsy, and nauseated. So, step down your sugar consumption slowly. In general, quitting anything cold turkey can have very unpleasant side effects. There are healthier ways to go about things.
Learn to read food labels
It might seem easy enough to choose healthy foods, but did you know that most no-fat and low-fat items are loaded with sugar? That is how they get irritability without fat! Do not assume that “health food” is healthy.
Instead, get into the habit of looking at the label and making a healthy choice that way. Keep in mind that comparable food items labeled as “sugar free” may be surprisingly high in fat. By law, the labels have to be correct, and although they are confusing to read at first, learning to look at the nutritional value can really help you cut back on the sugar in your diet.
Watch what you drink, not just what you eat
Drinks, even those that sound healthy like apple juice, are often loaded with sugar. Most people know to avoid soft drinks, but you should be mindful of the amount of sugar in your tea, coffee, and juice as well.
Keep in mind that sugar can be found even in “diet” drinks and some kinds of flavoured waters. Read the labels of everything you are ingesting, not just your foods. Finally, keep in mind that wine, beer, and mixed alcoholic drinks all typically contain sugar, and usually in high amounts.
Cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume can really reduce the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis.
Make your own foods
Cooking and baking are not as hard as you may think, even if you are a beginner. The problem with processed foods is that they contain preservatives and massive amounts of sugar to prolong the shelf life and make them taste good.
Buying fresh ingredients to prepare snacks and meals does not take that much more time and it is typically a lot healthier for you than buying food in a box or can. You can control the amount of sugar you use, and you can even find recipes that use sugar substitutes instead of granulated, powdered, or brown sugar.
Learn how to decode the word “sugar”
Just because something is labeled as sugar-free does not mean that it does not have some form of sugar in it. This is where things get tricky. The following terms are all words to describe various forms of sugar: honey, lactose, fructose, corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, and galactose. Fruits (and their juices) also are a source of sugar.
Also don’t forget about the dreaded zero calorie free sugar; Aspartame which is a deadly chemical poison. Learn about everything you need to know about aspartame here
While some options, like honey, might be slightly healthier for you than other alternatives, if you are trying to avoid sugar altogether, make sure you learn the terminology. Products are legally allowed to be labeled as sugar-free if no sugar has been added, but that does not mean that the foods do not naturally contain sugar!
Cut the carbs
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, and as such, carb-heavy foods contain sugar. White breads, pastas, and so forth might not taste sweet, but they are full of sugar. Choose healthy carbohydrates instead, like beans, sweet potato, butternut squash.
Remember cutting down on sugar might be the best way for you. Often when we cut lots of things out of our diet at once, it can make it harder to stick to. Instead loose one thing at a time but also at the same time, introduce a beneficial food into your diet. For example stop eating chocolate and replace it with some melon or goji berries for example.
The idea is to eliminate everything bad and replace it all with goodness. Of course, if you prefer to just go for it and cut everything out at once, the do it! Just make sure you are well prepared food wise or you could get tempted.
Consider looking into Raw Desserts. This is a great way to get some amazing nutrients with only natural and uncooked ingredients. I have some recipes here
Let me know how you get on!
Sources, Research and Interesting Sugar Links
- Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioural and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel* Neurosci Biobehav Rev. Published online 2007 May 18. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019
- Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Ahmed SH1, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):434-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328361c8b8.
- Fights over the last boxes Twinkies – Sugar http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/money/article_b1c264fe-30eb-11e2-b914-0019bb2963f4.html