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Have you heard the expression lately that sugar is the new tobacco? Well, it could very well be true. The average American consumes over 100 pounds of sugar per year, and considering it has no nutritional value whatsoever, that’s a lot of empty calories.
Sugar can be found naturally in fruit, dairy products and even some vegetables, and that’s not such a bad thing. But, the sugar I’m talking about is refined sugar, and we need to cut down on the amount we are consuming.
Let’s talk about the logistics though.
The first thing I think of when I think of sugar is treats. Cake, cookies, candy, donuts, chocolate, puddings and pies. And what about at Christmas? Candy canes, shortbread, tarts, gingerbread and Christmas cake. And Easter? Chocolate bunnies!
So, if we cut these things out of our diet, we are cutting out sugar. Right? Well … no … not totally (it is a great start though!).
Sugar is everywhere, and in almost everything we buy at the supermarket. Jarred sauces, yoghurts, ketchup, fruit juice, salad dressings, breakfast cereal, peanut butter and almost any processed food.
So, if we’re going to make the cut, it goes deep and takes a little work!
Here’s 8 good reasons to eat less sugar:
Sugar is high in calories.
And if you don’t burn those calories, sugar consumption will result in weight gain. Eating a diet low in sugar can be a tool in maintaining a healthy weight.
Processed sugar is nutritionally empty.
There isn’t anything in it that provides a benefit to the body – other than to provide short-lived energy.
Eventually our pancreas will get tired and won’t produce as much insulin.
Every time we eat, our blood sugar rises and our pancreas releases insulin which carries the sugar from our bloodstream into our cells. This gives us energy and lowers the sugar in our blood. This is a very efficient system, but if we eat too much sugar over time, our pancreas can tire out … and stop releasing insulin. With nothing to carry the sugar out of our blood, the result is high blood sugar, or diabetes.
Sugar is highly addictive.
When sugar is eaten, a neurotransmitter called dopamine is released in the brain. Dopamine is a “feel good” neurotransmitter, so it is not surprising that our bodies would crave sugar when the result is satisfying … and keep going back for more.
Consumption of sugar in excess can cause obesity.
Which in turn can cause symptoms of high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This is known as metabolic syndrome and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Yeast isn’t just used to make bread rise.
We all have something in our bodies called candida, or yeast. When levels are low, we don’t experience problems with this, but when it grows out of control it can cause many symptoms including chronic fatigue, depression, and gut problems. It’s favourite food? Sugar. But, if you take the sugar away, it starves.
Eating a lot of sugar can zap our energy.
Sure, it provides a spike of energy for a short time, but once the spike drops and the fuel is gone, we’re tired again.
Cutting down on sugar consumption regulates blood sugar levels.
When sugar is consumed, it causes a lot of sugar to go into our blood very quickly which in turn causes the body to release a large amount of insulin. The insulin lowers the blood sugar, but because there is such a high amount of it, it can make your blood sugar too low, which makes you hungry again. It’s almost like your body needs more food to “use up” the insulin. This causes food cravings to combat the hunger, and then the cycle starts all over again. It’s like being on a rollercoaster.
And here’s 1 great one:
A recent news article, as recent as this morning in fact, on Global News cites a study in Belgium which has linked sugar to cancer growth. Check it out here: Scientists make breakthrough in linking sugar to cancer growth.
Here’s the overall gist:
Sugar has been a big part of most people’s lives since they were young children, when a trip to the corner store or the local supermarket resulted in a sweet treat. It is probably one of the most common things in everyone’s pantry, but more and more research is showing that we have to use some common sense and restraint in consuming it.
There are lot’s more benefits to eliminating sugar than are mentioned here, and I think these benefits are very real.
Are you ready to give up sugar – even if just part-time? Try it, I think you’ll be surprised at how little you miss it.