10 reasons to give up sugar
I’ve been recommending my clients to give up added sugar and fruit for years. I’ve always been challenged about this, particularly the latter advice. But times are changing and what you are going to see with the food industry in the next 30 years, is exactly what we’ve seen with the tobacco industry since the ’80s.
It’s pretty confusing for consumers, particularly in light of the current media frenzy out there that is kicking off the anti-sugar revolution. Everything you’ve been told in the last 30-40 years about eating a low fat, high fibre and high fruit diet is now being brushed down the drain. Not just by people like me, but scientists and heart disease surgeons too. One top American surgeon recently stated, ‘We’ve got it wrong and we’ve had it wrong for some time’.
As always, the information available to people is conflicted slightly, depending on the individual’s take on it, and I feel the consumer’s pain! I’ve been astounded to see that people are choosing to eat bacon and white rice noodles because they have read they are low sugar – just because something is low sugar, it doesn’t mean it is healthy. You have some people promoting agave nectar and promoting it as a no sugar food. It is a sugar food and in some cases contains over 90% fructose, the most addictive kind of sugar. You have people jumping on the band wagon of, well if saturated fats are ok, I can go back to eating bacon sandwiches everyday. That would be silly, because processed meat and white bread have a negative impact on the body if eaten regularly. So where do you start understanding sugar?
In the first part of my ‘Understanding Sugar’ blog series, here are my top 10 reasons to give up sugar…
1. Added sugar is playing havoc with our bodies. The World Health Organisation has just lowered it’s recommended daily sugar guidelines from 90g for a woman, to 50g for a woman, with a longer term target of 20g. There are 4g in a tsp of sugar, so what this means is right now they want you to eat a maximum of 12.5 tsp of added sugar with an optimum added sugar level of 5tsp of added sugar a day. To make this super confusing, current traffic light labelling on products is built on the 90g a day guidelines which is 22.5tsp per day. So just because you see a green light on your food label it’s unfortunately out of date and may be for some time.
2. Sugar is not just sugar as we are led to believe, mainly because of the way our body metabolises sugar. Fructose in particular has a negative effect on the body as the entire burden of metabolising fructose falls on your liver and it is not the preferred energy source for our muscles or our brain. Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain, especially abdominal fat and also creates non-alcoholic fatty liver damage when eaten in excess.
3. Fructose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and fructose also counts for 50% of sugar. High fructose corn syrup which as the name suggests is high in fructose is what was invented by the food industry and added on mass to most processed foods, sweets, chocolates, drinks AND diet products, with mass production kicking off in the ’70s as the food industry changed.
4. Fructose tricks the body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism. It turns OFF your body’s appetite control system and turns ON your fat storage. Yet most diet products and dietary advice from slimming clubs is to eat these exact products, with Weight Watchers making fruit free from 2012. As the former finance director of Weight Watchers revealed recently, ‘the success of the company is built on an 84% failure rate’, so with some low fat yogurts only having half a point yet being packed full of added sugar AND fruit being free, you can see why people like me can’t help but think whether this is a ploy to keep women hooked on sugar, keep them hungry and keep their bodies in fat storing instead of fat burning mode.
5. If you go back to pre the industrial revolution, humans were only really designed to, and only tended to, have fruit, grains and honey for a couple of months a year, typically towards the end of summer. The fact these foods make us hungry and want to eat more and help us store more fat, was a perfect survival mechanism to help us get through winter when food was scarce. Now fruit, grains, honey, not to mention HFCS and sugar itself is available 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
6. Sugar is more addictive than heroin and cocaine, proved in numerous studies. So why do people who are addicted to sugar think it’s funny? Let’s face it, we can all say we’re a chocoholic or addicted to sugar and people laugh ‘me too!’. But if someone said they were an alcoholic or couldn’t get thought the day without a vodka or a glass of wine and they’d be looked down upon and sent to AA. Is it time some sugar addicts looked at how addicts give up the very think they can never get enough of by being an addict? I think so.
7. On that note, wine is fructose free. That is not to say we should be drinking lots of wine with a free pass, but when people say liver disease is on the increase (three fold in the last 20 years), you can be absolutely sure that it is not just those who drink to excess who fall into these figures. Far from it. Millions of people with liver disease do not drink alcohol and tens of thousands of children who have never touched a drop of alcohol have liver disease. A 250ml glass of wine a day is much less toxic to the body than 40 tsps of sugar every day that’s for sure. Moderate wine drinking has been proven numerous times to be more beneficial for health than not drinking at all. You do not want to be messing around with your toxin expeller, that’s a fact.
8. Many women I work with spend their entire lives failing to get the body they want and more seriously end up with a body that doesn’t function properly. In my professional opinion, it’s because they have too much sugar, eat too much fruit, eat too many carbs and not enough raw vegetables and essential fats. My friends who are doing weight watchers refuse to eat avocados as they are 8 points (only ¼ tsp of sugar per large avocado I might add), but will happily eat 2 low fat yogurts that have ½ point per pot but contain over 11 tsp of sugar between them (which keeps them wanting sugar too). When are people going to realize that calories are not just calories. That the very thing they eat when on a diet, keeps them on a diet. As a former sugar addict, and someone who’s been on every diet out there before I joined the industry, I know only too well how being on the sugar cycle makes you feel like you are actually going mad. Why is it you’re on a diet but still hungry and always thinking about food? Until you get your sugar and fructose consumptions right down, you’ll stay in exactly the same place. If that’s not powerful enough, when you fuel your body with sugar and free fruit, you are likely to have a bloated gut, candida, leaky gut syndrome or worse.
9. You see, sugar ruins people’s guts. I work with women who have had IBS for decades, taken all the medication under the sun and nothing works. Take them off sugar and fruit, reduce or cut out the wheat and dairy from cows and bingo, no gut issues. Did you know that between 70 and 90% of cancer patients (the figure varies depending on what type of cancer it is) have candida in their guts. A healthy gut means good immunity, an unhealthy gut is usually caused by things like stress, too much sugar, too much caffeine, too much alcohol, not chewing your food properly or scoffing down your food – typical habits brought about by modern living. Many people’s excess sugar (and toxicity) stems from an imbalance in life OR the fact that we’ve taught ourselves that sugar makes us feel good and fixes things. It might do temporarily, but long term you’re playing Russian roulette.
10. We know that cancer cells thrive in acidity and sugar is one of the most acidic things we can consume. In addition, it is now becoming main stream knowledge, not just from alternative practitioners but oncologists too, that by cutting out sugar, tumour and cancer cells can be starved of foods as they ‘feel a special appetite for glucose’ New MRI research reveals that cancer cells thrive on processed sugar; ‘processed sugar is one of the primary driving forces behind the growth and spread of cancer tumors, so much so that the future of cancer screening could rely on scanning the body for sugar accumulation’ It’s not just cancer and it’s not just processed sugar. Too much fructose (and remember that 50% of sugar is fructose) elevates uric acid (and uric acid is what typically kills you when you starve to death, ironic or what). Uric acid elevation damages kidneys and causes inflammation – the very thing at the cause of most of modern day illnesses and diseases.
It’s time for a change and as a former sugar addict, I can tell you that beating sugar is a lot easier than you think. In fact, I’d go as far to say that beating sugar and cutting back fructose, makes so many food management choices and habits effortless.
You get fuller quicker, you become so sensitive to sugar, that even if you think you want something sweet, you often can’t handle it as your body treats it as poison!
Hand on heart, cutting back sugar changed my life. If you had told me ten years ago, I wouldn’t be craving sweet things after every meal or not wanting to have desserts in restaurants or having an Easter egg free Easter and not feeling deprived as a result, I would never have believed you. If I can do it, anyone can do it!
In part 2, I’ll be revealing 10 ways you can start giving up sugar now and introducing you to some of the psychological aspects behind not wanting to give it up.
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Hope this blog finds you happy and healthy!