Written by R. S Jacobs
Believe it or not, sugar is one of the main reasons why so many people are overweight! It is a highly addictive substance which creates a continuous cycle of uncontrollable cravings, similar to symptoms that heroin or cocaine addicts feel when they are craving their next fix. Thanks to the deceptive tactics of the ‘Fat-Free’ industry, our daily sugar intake is at an all-time high, so much so that some countries are seriously proposing whether or not to introduce sugar tax!
This clearly shows the severity of the sugar induced obesity crisis we are seeing across the globe and sadly, we are very ignorant to exactly how much secret sugar we are consuming on a daily basis. What is most alarming, is the dangerously high sugar levels that are in a majority of celebrity endorsed ‘healthy’ supplements and diets. I recently watched an episode of The Biggest Loser, where they demonstrated just how much sugar the contestants were consuming in an average year, in some cases up to 210 KG of sugar! Many of them were in denial about how much sugar was in their diet, and it wasn’t until they actually saw the overwhelming pile of sugar pouring out that they realised how serious their unknown sugar addiction had become.
I often hear people say “I’m being good, I have cut out sweets, chocolate and cakes, so I have no sugar in my diet”. The fact of the matter is that this couldn’t be further from the truth, the health industry has taught us to think of sugar as being in obvious sweet foods, and therefore everything else is considered ‘good food’ or healthy. We go out of our way to select low-fat, fat-free or no added sugar as much as possible, but neglect the deceptive tactics that the food industry uses to subliminally encourage consumers to purchase ‘Undercover Sugar “Spices”’ as I like to call them.
Check out soft drinks for example, most of them have ‘no added sugar’ on the packaging which is proven to increase sales, but when you actually read the label it is loaded with sugar (Sometimes disguise as carbohydrate, dextrose, corn sweetener, corn syrup, lactose, maltose, diglycerides, disaccharides, maltodextrin, pentose, sorbitol etc. The list goes on). Technically, as they have not added any more sugar than they normally put in their other products, they are able to add this misleading statement. To me this is a very manipulative and irresponsible tactic, used to prey on people trying to be healthy but who are unaware of the detrimental side effects of sugar in their diet.
Many manufacturers also add sugar to savoury recipes. If you don’t believe this, check out the nutritional label on the next savoury thing you buy and you would most certainly be shocked to see the sugar content. The food industry is a massive money-making sector, they will never point out any of these things, so it is 100% your duty to make conscious choices when you purchase food because you are responsible for what you put into your body! You must take a hands-on approach when it comes to your nutrition, taking the lazy option will only ever result in poor food choices and a constant cycle of confusion for the body. When it comes to what you consume, the body loves consistency, so it knows what functions it needs to perform on a regular basis, and it can work as efficiently as possible.
I always advise my clients to eat foods that are close to their natural state as much as possible. Cook your own meals from scratch, avoid any processed foods (even time savers such as Bolognese sauces) as these options are often the most guilty of being ‘Undercover Sugar “Spices”’. Avoid drinking healthy fruit juices or ‘Sugar-Free’ flavoured waters as these are also guilty culprits, loaded with processed sugar to enhance the flavour and make them your new favourite ‘healthy’ drink choice.
Why not eat some fruit instead, they are full of water and are also sweet as they contain a natural sugar called fructose, so you can still satisfy your sweet craving without the unnecessary insulin rollercoaster. Fruit contains fibers to help the body convert the fructose healthily, whereas shop bought fruit juices have been stripped of all fibers making it impossible for your body to identify the nutritional use. Another healthy alternative for sugar is natural honey, which definitely satisfies even the sweetest tooth but without the overload of empty calories.
The thing that makes sugar so harmful, is that sugar increases the insulin levels in the body upon consumption, stopping essential functions in the body that is necessary for breaking food down into energy. This sugar is then stored in fat cells, and of course the more sugar you consume the more you overwork your insulin whilst continuing to overload your body with sugar that can’t be used for anything. This results in weight gain and also in many cases, it causes your insulin functions to become less useful, which often leads to diabetes and a wide range of cardiovascular diseases.
It also sparks a high glycemic index in the body which means that when you eat sugar you instantly feel energetic, however, that feeling is very short-lived and worst of all, it is closely followed by a rapid energy crash that leaves you feeling tired, sluggish and desperate for a quick fix to boost your energy back up again (can you see the vicious cycle here!). That explains why many experience a constant yo-yo in their energy levels, even when they are trying to be ‘healthy’ by choosing a can of ‘no added sugar’ drink, rather than the regular version or buying a ‘fat free’ yoghurt….those ‘Undercover Sugar “Spices”’ are making their way into your system one mouthful at a time.
Another misconception is that many people seem to think that a calorie is a calorie, but let’s be real, that is NOT quite the case. The effect of sugar calories in the body is very different from the effect of calories that you consume from chicken for example. Processed sugar has no nutritional value, containing no useful proteins, vitamins, or essential fats – instead, it is just a form of energy that the body has no use for. The digestive system releases enzymes and hormones to start breaking down food as soon as we eat, and different enzymes and hormones are released for different food groups, making some food easier to digest. That’s why you can’t say a calorie is a calorie when it comes to sugar, as the body has no option but to store it as fat.
7 Reasons Why You Should Stop Having Processed Sugar Today
* Toxicity. When you eat sugar, the body starts to become familiar with it, which often results in insulin resistance. Too much sugar leads to high toxicity which can not only result in diabetes but also metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
* Rots your teeth. Sugar is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay. I wish I had listened to my grandparents when I was younger, my granny still has all 32 gnashers because she refused to eat any processed food and avoided sugar at all costs. It sure would have saved me a lot of money and trips to the dentist.
* Heart Damage. Studies have shown that sugar interferes with proteins in the heart muscles, which can lead to an increased risk of a cardiac arrest. It explains why there is an increased number of heart failure and general heart diseases in recent years.
* Promotes belly fat. The body’s number one place to store sugar is the hardest place to lose it – the stomach! It is stored as visceral fat, which is one of the most stubborn fats to lose due to the deep storage in the fat cells.
* Feeds cancer cells. Cancer cells thrive on sugar, it is one of their main source of energy for growth. Medical research has shown a clear relationship between insulin resistance and the growth of tumours, and the link between sugars and abnormal cells.
* Makes you age faster. Everyone wants to age gracefully and hold on to their youthfulness for as long as possible but sugar makes you age quicker. Sugar attaches itself to proteins in your bloodstream which sometimes, destroys collagen that keeps the skin tight and smooth. This leaves you with wrinkly, saggy, aged looking skin.
* Makes you eat more food. Due to the high glycemic index of sugar, you are liable to have an energy slump, which tricks the body into thinking you are hungry. This is why many popular fast food chains provide free soft drinks with their order, and how people can finish a whole pizza after a soft drink.
If you consider the above dangers that surround processed sugar, I urge you to make sugar a thing of the past. Perhaps start small and swap certain sugar sources for alternatives, for example why not use 100% natural honey in your tea instead of sugar. Ultimately, the goal is to limit your overall sugar consumption as much as possible, and my honest advice would be to remove everything processed from your house and just go ‘cold turkey’ for a month and you will be surprised at just how much sugar you actually consume, and even more so, how easy it is to quit once you start making conscious choices. By eliminating sugar, you will start to feel more energetic throughout the day and your fitness level will increase remarkably, which is a decision you will never regret.
Stay strong, warriors.
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