Working with clients suffering from sugar cravings, energy slumps, carbohydrate addiction, weight gain, poor sleep quality, unhealthy looking skin and digestive disturbances we see only too often how an over consumption and addiction to the sweet stuff links to escalating health symptoms and increasing states of disease.
Most people are so confused about what sugars are healthy, which are okay in moderation and which should be totally avoided. Most people have literally no idea where added sugar is hidden and therefore how much they are consuming day to day.
You may be someone who struggles to make it through the day without the sugary cereal or jam loaded toasted, the mid morning biscuits dunked into your cuppa and that afternoon chocolate bar or piece of cake to see through until tea time.
Image supplied by Moyan Brenn
Parents worry over the quantity of sweets their children consume without the knowledge that most shop brought breads contain added sugar above and beyond that needed for baking purposes.
We buy are diet coke and sugar free desserts with no idea of the consequences the synthetic sugar replacements contained within are causing to our bodymind.
In nature fruit and vegetables provide valuable energy to the body in the form of glucose (sugar). They come with health promoting vitamins, minerals and enzymes which allow the glucose to be used appropriately. They naturally contain their own fibre, fats and proteins, which help the body to regulate the level of glucose in the blood so that sustained and consistent energy is achieved for both body and mind. Carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables are essential for the growth and development of the human body and provide a natural sweetness to our diet. Their sweetness indicates their natural state of ripeness and peak nutrient density.
Image supplied by Brian Snelson
Natural Health Promoting Sweeteners include:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh fruit puree such as apple
- Fresh vegetables such as sweet potato, carrot and parsnip
- Organic dried fruit such as dates
- Date syrup
- Black strap molasses
- Maple syrup
- Coconut Palm Nectar /Sugar
- Raw organic honey
- Yacon root syrup
These sugars provide nutrients and macro nutrients along with natural sugars.
In stark contrast, refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar are stripped of their nutritional status. Grains in general break down into simple sugars in the body and are hard to digest creating inflammation. If you are eating a high refined carbohydrate and/or grain diet such as cereal, bread and pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner you will certainly be depleted in many vitamins and minerals and in turn will have impaired organ and gland function. These types of carbohydrates take more energy out of the body to digest and assimilate than they actually provide, and are known as empty calories. Eating these foods creates a huge burst of glucose into the blood stream which by the laws of science can only fall again. This is the time when most people reach for the cake or coffee to rev them back up again. These peaks and troughs cause an enormous amount of strain on the hormonal system, pancreas, liver, adrenals and thyroid gland and can lead to obesity, chronic fatigue, depression, exhaustion and behavioral problems such as ADHD.
Refined sugar such as white or even brown table sugar, originates from sugar beet or sugar cane. Once refined and processed the sugar is stripped of its naturally high amounts of B vitamins, magnesium and chromium. The body no longer reaches nutritional satiety when eating the sugar and so simply craves more and more sugar in a bid to sustain its nutritional needs. This type of sugar and in fact grain consumption can be linked to the increasing epidemic of Type ll Diabetes and obesity. Obesity and excess stored fat arises due to the liver’s limited capacity to store glucose as glycogen. A daily diet rich in simple sugar will soon fill up the liver’s stores and is then shuttled out to the body’s cells via the blood stream, to be stored as fatty acids in the buttocks, breasts, belly and hips.
Image supplied by U.S. Department of Agriculture
‘Natural’ Sugars to Avoid:
- Agave syrup
- Brown sugar / cane sugar
- Tate and Lyle Light at Heart
These so called natural sugar provide empty calories with little to no added health benefits.
Top Tips for Curbing Your Sugar Consumption
1. Read the label of any packaged foods you buy. Avoid those that contain synthetic sweeteners and any added sugar (words ending in ose)
2. Throw out all sugars that you add to foods and drinks that are not in the Natural sugar list
3. Swap sweets, baked goods and chocolates for fresh fruits
4. Begin to reduce and cut out all added sugar in drinks, swapping soda drinks for sparkling water with freshly squeezed citrus i.e. lemon and sports drinks for homemade smoothies
5. Ensure you are have some form of saturated fat and good quality protein with each meal, this will help stabilise your blood sugar reducing the onset of a sugar craving attack