The health dangers of sugar have been in the news a lot lately with governments even considering taxing sugary drinks, as they have in Mexico, to try and improve the health of the population – especially children. So if you need help with sugar avoidance and dealing with a ‘sweet tooth’ here are a few pointers.
Aside from not adding sugar to your tea and coffee and avoiding sugar laden desserts, cakes and cookies you should start checking labels so that you can find how much hidden sugar is in your diet. If you have children then checking sugar intake is vital to their health as well as protecting their teeth. A third of children leave primary school already obese!
1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 g
Daily recommended maximum intake is 50 g (1.7 oz) for Women and 70 g (2.5 oz) for Men but 28 g = 1 oz (7 teaspoonfuls) would be better. Many people average nearer 130 g a day which is equal to 32 teaspoonfuls!
First of all sugar is disguised by so many different names, anything that ends in ‘ose’, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, then cane sugar, cane crystals, corn syrup, fruit concentrates, honey, Maple syrup and Agave.
High Fructose Corn Syrup seems to add more fat around the middle and around vital organs (visceral fat) -the most dangerous kind.
Soft drinks are the worst for hidden sugar, even ‘enhanced’ water can have 15 g per 500 ml. Pre-packaged food – even savoury foods like Pasta Sauce and coleslaw can be loaded with sugar; bread, biscuits, energy bars, low fat yogurt often has more sugar than regular yogurt.
Processed Cane or Beet sugar doesn’t contain any nutrients and is often called ’empty calories’ but other sugar types are also devoid of nutrients and even heavily processed using chemicals. When I want to sweeten something I would usually choose a little honey, Pure Maple Syrup or molasses sugar because these do also contain some nutrient benefit and are not over processed.
It is not a healthy option to swap your sugar for artificial sweeteners as they have many additional problems.
- they may taste sweet but they have no useful energy
- they have no appetite suppression effect, unlike sugar and so can cause overeating and weight gain.
- Many sweeteners may be toxic to the body
- if you really feel you need them -do your research. At present Stevia seems to be the least toxic but definitely avoid Aspartame which has been linked to mental problems, brain tumour and epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia and diabetes plus possibly cancer. Avoid Sucralose which is sucrose that has been denatured using Chlorine.
How to Cut Down on Sugar
If you have become aware of just how much sugar you are eating and have started reading food and drink labels that is a huge step in the right direction. We can all be caught out – my son is hooked on mince pies at the moment and 1 mince pie has 22.5 g sugar which is nearly 6 tsps of sugar and only 1 tsp off his healthy daily limit. So my tips are:-
- Do it slowly over about a month, cutting down by about 25% a week.
- Eat more real food and not highly processed or pre-packaged food. Drink water or teas and a maximum of 2 coffees a day.
- Try eating 3 meals a day within a 12 hour window. Although there has been a trend to recommend regular snacking this is not how our digestion is designed to work. It takes 3-4 hours for food to be fully processed in the stomach and if we add extra food in during this time it is likely to pass into the intestines only partly broken down and this is known to cause digestive problems like SIBO, overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeasts, food intolerances, bloating and gas.
- Each meal should contain protein – meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans or nuts; some good fat or oil included because it satisfies our hunger for longer, plus a good quantity of vegetables or salad. Breakfast should definitely contain protein rather than just cereal and toast or muffins. Egg, bacon, fresh fruit with some nuts, unsweetened yogurt (or low sugar not low fat) sweetened with fruit or cocoa or cinnamon and stewed apple and this will help stabilise your blood sugar during the day.
- Replace sugary snacks at home and work with healthier alternatives to be available if you are delayed getting a meal or feel shaky (due to low blood sugar). Raw vegetable sticks, apple plus a few nuts and seeds, oat crackers with peanut or almond butter are some ideas.
- Get some exercise. A walk outside, take the stairs rather than the lift. Increase your exercise over the month.
- Get enough sleep – sugar is not a treatment for exhaustion.
- Take good quality supplements. A multi vitamin, minerals especially containing Chromium which helps stabilise blood sugar, Omega 3 fish or krill oils and Vitamin D3 3,000 – 5,000 iu. Nutrient deficiencies can make sugar cravings much worse. If you have severe cravings try taking 1G of the amino acid L-Glutamine up to 3 times a day, the brain uses it for energy and it will help you adjust.
Eating too much sugar can reduce our reaction to Insulin and this is called insulin resistance and this can also be made worse by stress. When you have reduced your sugar intake and are not feeling the cravings too much you can work on making your body react better to insulin.
Try a half day intermittent Fast. Skip breakfast and lunch but drink plenty of water and unsweetened herbal teas. Then eat a normal meal early evening. Varying calorie intake has an effect on the insulin receptors and also gives the body a chance to burn some fat stores and detox. Toxins are frequently deposited in fat stores around the body when the liver is not able to break them down and eliminate them.
If it works well for you then you can do it 2-3 times a week. Even people with type II Diabetes can benefit from this and may be able to reduce their medication. Work with your Doctor on this and monitor your blood glucose more frequently when starting to do this.
The results should be more even blood sugar and moods, loss of extra weight, better sleep, more energy, clearer thinking and much less chance of suffering from Diabetes, Heart Attack, Stroke, Cancer, Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
Believe that it is worth doing and that once you have kicked the habit (Sugar is very addictive) you will feel so much healthier, you will not crave it and you will find it much easier to make healthier food choices and enjoy your food.
Testimonial from a client (and Sizzling Minerals customer).
“I know that I am in much better health now. Work has been very full on recently & everyone who I have been working closely with has been taken down with flu/colds/viruses…it hasn’t touched me! I’ve always been pretty healthy but now that I have cut out anything processed/fizzy/refined sugars I would NEVER go back. The weekend proved to me the difference in how it makes me feel.
Whenever I have intense filming times with work the hours are long and draining. From Friday to Monday we are working from 5am -midnight. Everyone’s default is to reach for the diet Coke/Haribos/crisps and unsurprisingly they crash soon after. Of course I was tired but, despite lack of sleep, I was able to keep going and my energy levels were more stable than they’ve ever been! xxx”
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