Is sugar really bad? Is it the detrimental culprit of our weakened immune systems? Our tooth decay? Constipation and fatty liver? What about hormone imbalances, depression, anxiety, loss of sleep and weight gain?
It’s true. Besides the above challenges, sugar has also been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular illness, high blood pressure, cancer…honestly the list goes on. (need scientific proof, check out these articles on Geenmedinfo.com)
This can be a really confusing topic because there is sugar and then there is the actual effect of sugar on our bodies. Foods that spike our blood sugar are biologically addictive. Most of us are so addicted to sugar that we either don’t realize it or would blatantly deny it.
The more sugar we eat, the more we reduce our brain’s ability to produce oxytocin (the feel-good hormone that tells us when we are sated.) Much like other drugs, we need more of it to feel ‘normal’ again.
Sugar is hiding in pretty much all processed foods – like salad dressing, tomato sauce, pretzels, yogurt, wheat bread, BBA sauce, pizza, peanut butter, frozen entrees …. the list goes on. Think about it this way, the more processed and refined a food is, the more sugar it’s going to have in it, especially processed grain products. Even dairy foods comes with their own sugar- lactose. Food manufacturers spend billions of dollars finding the exact point were they have added enough sugar (balanced with salt and fat) that it will make you crave more but just shy of the point of satifsying you. They affectionately call it the ‘Bliss Point’. And they have 61 names/versions of sugar they use – which helps to hide sugar form your plain view. So when you look at the ingredients, sugar probably just listed as ‘sugar’.
But isn’t sugar natural? Sure, and in its natural form(s) it’s considered a nutrient-dense food, meaning you get nutrients from the food not just empty calories. But white refined and fake sugars don’t offer any nutrients. The body actually interpret these as foreign so it fights it, causing inflammation. Inflammation is at the heart of every chronic disease. Besides that, the sugar wreck havoc on our microbiome and they feed into our cravings.
Natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, agave and fruit are a better choice because they are nutrient-dense, but remember that sugar is still sugar and sweet is still sweet. So even these choices still have an impact on our sugar load and our cravings. And the truth is that we are just having too much of it and in the wrong seasons.
Doesn’t seem fair, right? What are we supposed to do? First, set reasonable goals. It’s not realistic to tell you just stop eating all sugar today.
My recommendation is to take baby steps toward limiting your sugar intake and start balancing your blood sugar.
- Start by replacing all refined sugar (white, brown, powder) with naturals choices.
- Once the more natural versions are in place, slowly begin reducing your consumption.
- Balance your blood sugar:
- Eat three meals a day, no snacks
- Include a protein, fat and carb at every meal
- Eat seasonally and buy locally. The season for eating high-sugar fruits and veggies is late summer when they are all ripe.
- Shop at the farmers market where the only produce being sold are the ones in season in your area.
Start somewhere, anywhere, is the right step to take. Just start small and over time the changes will really add up! If you need a little help getting started, give me a call and lets talk how I can best support you.
Let’s talk more about sugar together: