January 8th, 2018
Your Diet Isn’t Healthy Unless It’s Low Sugar
Here’s the Science…
It is estimated that the average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons per day. This adds up to a staggering 70 pounds of sugar each year! The American Dietetic and Diabetic Association believe that increased sugar consumption is the leading contributor to degenerative disease such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease and Osteoporosis. YIKES!
While most people know that sugar causes weight gain, many people are not aware that consuming too much sugar can also contribute to:
- Suppressed Immunity
- Hair loss
- ADD/ADHD & Allergies
- Depression, stress and anxiety
- Lack of energy
- Increased risk of heart disease and insulin resistance
Sugar, in certain forms, can be used as energy for our body, so its not necessarily all bad. So what’s the problem? Overconsumption of added sugars and refined and processed carbohydrates.
Here are the culprits: sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks and juice, candy, white bread, white flour, dessert treats like cake and ice cream, and processed snack foods like chips, cookies, and crackers.
The serious health damage being caused by sugar is preventable, and cutting back on sugar will show immediate, positive effects on your overall health and wellness.
Sugar Detox? Here are the benefits…
You Feel More Full and Satisfied and Reduce Cravings.
We’ve all done it; we tell ourselves we’ll only have one cookie or only a handful of chips and a few hours later we’ve eaten half the bag in one afternoon only to feel miserable after. The addiction is real! Sugary, processed foods are addictive because they stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain as cocaine and heroin. In fact, sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. As you decrease your sugar intake and increase foods with healthy fat, protein and fiber, you will actually feel full and know when to stop eating. Detoxing from sugar empowers you to break up with the addictive powers of overly processed food “products.”
Most people needing a pick-me-up reach for a Starbucks or a Snickers and experience the sugar high but also a crash later. Ditching the sugar will help your blood glucose levels to normalize rather than constantly spike, and allow your energy to actually stabilize so that you don’t feel the afternoon slumps. The release of cortisol is also triggered by sugar, which can affect sleep patterns. Give up added sugar and you will be more energized throughout the day and get a better night’s rest.
It’s not dietary fat that makes us gain fat, the real culprit behind weight gain is sugar. Sugar and processed carbohydrates stimulate addiction and overeating, which increases insulin, making your body store fat and interferes with your ability to feel full. Overtime this cycle causes weight gain and potentially obesity. Replacing your sugary, processed foods with whole, nutrient-dense foods such as quality protein, healthy fats and fresh fruits and vegetables balances your insulin levels, heals your gut lining and is a satisfying way to reach a healthy weight.
You can Reduce Pain and Brighten Skin.
Sugar depletes the immune system and triggers inflammation that can manifest in muscles, joints, nerves and even cause skin breakouts and wrinkles. Cutting down on added sugar and increasing healthy fats, primarily omega-3 fatty acids, is one of the best steps you can take to reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin. For those experiencing chronic pain, arthritis, swelling, stiffness and acne, cutting out sugar would greatly improve your symptoms.
Your Digestive System Will Thank You.
Excessive sugar intake causes the liver to produce fat which eventually can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. We all have bacteria in our digestive tract, but increased consumption of sugar feeds negative bacteria which can result in several health conditions like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas and malabsorption.
Here are some tips…
Long story short, if you want to feel great, the sugar has to go. While there is no instant fix to make the sugar cravings go away, you can increase certain foods to help lessen the cravings.
Have a serious sweet tooth? Increase your PROTEIN with foods like grass-fed beef, lentils, wild caught fish, and organic or pasture raised chicken + eggs! This will reduce your cravings AND balance your blood sugar.
Don’t fear the fats! Prevent your blood sugar from spiking, feel full, and fuel your cells by increasing the HEALTHY FATS in your diet like coconut oil, avocado, fish, and nuts + seeds.
Get your fill of fiber! Foods high in FIBER like avocados, lentils, brussel sprouts, berries, celery, and quinoa take longer to digest which will keep you full, longer. They also help to regulate your digestion and promote detoxification in the body. If you are really struggling, eat an extra serving of fruit, which naturally has the ‘good stuff’ sugars your body is craving along with fiber but in a MUCH better form than fabricated sugars people normally eat.
Make the switch! Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, and stevia are great natural alternatives to white sugar.
Stay hydrated! Many times when you’re craving something, your body is actually trying to tell you you are thirsty. Try drinking a large glass of water or herbal tea to keep the sugar cravings at bay.
In all honesty, it’s not easy at first when you drop your added sugar load, but the sugar cravings will pass with time, and the reward is worth it! Putting less sugar in your body is a fantastic goal that will translate into better health. Just remember the detox symptoms aren’t forever, and if you can get over the hump, you’ll be rewarded with better health, more energy, glowing skin and often weight loss.
Written by Bailey Horner, Certified Nutritional Therapist
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