We are hearing time and time again how bad sugar is and all these crazy ways to ban sugar completely. I would usually just dismiss it and think - everything in moderation. That was until recently. I was initially dumbfounded when I watched a documentary from the uk 'The truth about sugar' then 'Sugar rush' by Jamie Oliver and I could not believe I had been so blinded for so long about the detrimental effects sugar is having on our bodies.
I do want to make clear from the outset of this piece there are two types of sugar. There is natural sugar that comes from fruit but I am talking about the effects of fructose! The white powder we put in our tea and coffee. The stuff added to a vast amount of processed foods. This is the killer! Of course this is highly relative to the amount of sugar that you intake on a daily basis. The world health organisation suggests no more than 6 teaspoons per day. This may sound like a lot but take a look at your food labels. More often than not you are consuming that daily allowance in just one bottle of drink! Currently the average intake per day sits at 17 teaspoons! Intake on this scale can cause a massive amount of illness on the body, here are just a few:
Sugar rots your teeth – Unfortunately, the dentist is not lying when he says that sugar is rotting your teeth. It provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth.
Sugar is empty calories – Added sugars like fructose corn syrup and sucrose contain a whole bunch of calories with no essential nutrients. There are no proteins, fats vitamins or minerals just pure energy. When people eat up to 10 -20% of calories as sugar this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
Sugar can cause non- alcoholic fatty liver disease. When fructose gets turned into fat in the liver it is shipped out as cholesterol and not all gets out, some can get lodged in the liver leading to fatty liver disease. Studies show that individuals with fatty liver disease consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person.
Sugar is an addiction – This used to be a funny line when you didn’t want to quit chocolate for lent but for lots of people sugar has become an actual addiction. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. The problem with sugar and many junk foods is that they can cause massive dopamine release… much more than we were ever exposed to from foods found in nature. Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.
Sugar is the heart killer - For years now we have been told that fat is to blame for heart disease and heart disease is the number one killer therefore fat is the devil. However this is now been proven to be untrue. Recent studies have shown that sugar is to blame due to the high levels of fructose on the metabolism. Large amounts of fructose can raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity in as little as 10 weeks.
You may think that without that extra sugar in your tea or coffee you will be giving up all sweetness but even that reduction of sugar in your morning beverage will make a huge difference to your health.
Besides you don’t have to give up flavour or sweetness when you give up sugar, there are many healthier alternatives and quite honestly you cant always tell the difference. Rice malt syrup is a great alternative according to 'I quit sugar' creator Sarah Wilson. Honey is a perfect natural sweet substitute in tea. Coconut sugar and stevia are other forms that will not leave you reaching for the white stuff!
I really hope you found this a little bit informative - if this is something that interests you I highly recommend watching the documentaries I noted in the beginning of the article.
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