Is sugar REALLY that bad? Yep!
Photo: Mixed emotions as I eye up the sugar bowl...
Don’t eat fat. Don’t eat Carbs, Don’t eat Sugar. Don’t eat anything because it’s ALL bad for you.
Oh, right OK…
For decades there have been mixed messages from doctors, physicians and media outlets about what we should and shouldn’t be eating.
First of all we were told to cut out butter and eat low fat, processed (dare I say it, foul -tasting) spreads. Then we were told “Hang on, we need fat…so maybe eat butter… but now you should stop eating carbs.”
But, the truth of the matter is we can’t live without carbs. We can’t live without fat and we can’t live without Protein.
So, what CAN we live without that will also GUARANTEE weight loss and all around better health?
There’s no way around it. Sugar is the devil.
A sweet, sweet, delicious little devil, lurking around every corner…
I’m not one to lecture people. If I believe something I will chat about it when asked no problem. But generally, as a rule of thumb, I don’t preach.
And I'm no health expert, doctor or otherwise superior keeper of the world's most elusive dieting tips (I wish I was).
HOWEVER…I am SICK of hearing people who consume an abundance of sugar on a DAILY basis say:
“I can’t lose weight”
“I’ve tried everything”
“I’m on a diet”
“Why can’t I budge these extra few pounds”
“Yes, I take sugar in my tea. How many cups do I drink a day? Oh about 4.”
For every teaspoon of sugar we add to a cup of tea, we are getting around 18 calories. So, times that by 4 and that’s 72 calories of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). That's just in your tea/coffee...
A rough guide to calories is:
Women: 1,800 per day
Men: 2,000 per day
Of course, this varies if you are a ‘sit down most of the day and not exercise’ type or an ‘active job, big exercising’ type.
BUT the question is, are the calories we consume from eating sugar actually any good for us?
Let’s get down to business
The simple and honest answer is no.
Sugar has no health, nutritional or other benefits to the human body. Are we shocked? Probably not.
We eat sugar because we are addicted to it. Just like any other addiction, eating sugar triggers a chemical release in our brain that says, “Yep, I’m happy now.”
A recent survey by ‘Canderel Sugarly’ found 48% of people in the UK confess they can’t live without sugary treats.
Despite 78% of us attempting to give up sugar at some stage, we are often quick to cave.
Swansea Sugar Fiends
Almost a third of people here in Swansea couldn’t last more than a few days before needing a ‘sugar fix’, and just 3% have managed to cut sugar from their diets for good.
According to the research, more than a third of people chew down a sweet treat just to cheer them up, while almost a quarter believe stress is the driving force behind their sugar indulgence.
Recent research has found obesity levels in the UK have more than tripled in the last 30 years and by 2050 more than half of us will be obese.
Just look at our ancestors, they weren’t fat! So what’s changed?
Well, in the 1970’s & 1980’s we were told to stop eating fatty foods (because a bit of unrepresentative research at the time showed that fat might cause weight gain)
Low-fat will make me thin right? Wrong.
So the ‘low-fat’ products started hitting the supermarket shelves.
Dieters went MAD for them thinking it was the solution to all their weight gain problems.
But, over the years we’ve somehow become fatter. You know why?
Because the ‘low-fat’ foods that are hailed as being so good for us are packed full of SUGAR - to replace the taste lost by removing the fat!
Trust me! Go have a look at some ‘low-fat’ packaging you probably have in your cupboard right now. I bet if you compare that to the full fat version the sugar increase will be noticeable.
Why is sugar bad?
Addiction – Sugar is as addictive as anything (drugs, alcohol included). It causes physical AND mental addiction that can often seem unbeatable. Sugar is essentially a drug.
Diabetes – Every year the number of people in the UK with type 2 diabetes is on the rise. This is caused by sugar.
It makes you FAT – In the simplest of terms. Our bodies do not need sugar. Our bodies do not understand or have the capabilities to break down sugar and use it in a nutritional way. (except Glucose – listen to the interview below to get a better understanding) Sugar enters our bloodstream and eventually (skipping all the scientific stuff) gets turned into fat. Sugar = Fat.
Promotes Leptin Resistance – Leptins are what make you feel full and say, “Put down the fork”. Eating lots of fructose found in things like fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate may make you leptin resistant.
Tooth Decay – Obviously
Weakened immune system - Excess sugar consumption also weakens immune function. Research has shown, consuming the equivalent of 8 tablespoons of sugar can reduce white blood cells ability to kill germs by half.
Anna Richardson off the telly
I recently did an interview with Broadcaster, presenter and sugar campaigner Anna Richardson off the telly. (You might now her from that dating show – Naked Attraction - where people are naked from the waist down and somebody picks a them for a date after judging their ‘bits’).
We were also joined by Doctor David Lewis who is a psychologist.
We discussed the growing ‘Sugar-epidemic’ that’s pulsing through the Western World.
An interesting point made was how we are driven by advertisements. Everywhere we look sugar is thrown in our faces, promoted as a staple part of our children’s lunchbox and a delicious, well deserved treat because… [insert excuse here].
Listen to the full interview here:
Why do I care?
I’ve seen results.
I myself managed to lose a stone and half by quitting sugar. I lost this weight in eight months without increasing my exercise from my usual daily dog walk. Before quitting, I was feeling sluggish and tired and if I didn’t get my two hour afternoon nap on a regular basis, I was hell to be around.
When I stopped eating sugar I had cravings. For two weeks I wanted nothing but sugar. Chocolate bars were mocking me in the supermarket and my world felt like it was ending (dramatic but true). After two weeks I honestly stopped even wanting sugar. And If I had it, I was able to eat (for example) a bar of chocolate and then not eat another one for a whole week!
I am not 100% sugar free and when I feel like it I do still have sugary treats. I am just 100% aware that when I eat sugar, it is no good for me at all and is so easy to become addicted to.
How easy is it to quit sugar?
It’s not THAT easy if you don’t have much time to prepare food.
Most things we eat and drink have sugar in. It’s sad but true. The best thing you can do is keep your diet as raw and natural as possible.
The sugar we get from fruit for example is OK because we are also getting fibre and micro/macro nutrients.
As a rule of thumb, I check the back of food packets and I won’t put anything in my basket that has more than 5-10 grams of sugar per 100g. This seems to have worked for me and although I am still getting unwanted sugar, I’m not limiting myself from eating absolutely everything.
Shocking Sugar Foods:
Sauces - like ketchup, sweet chilli and BBQ. All of these have a lot more sugar than you’d think.
Cereals – Sugar, sugar, sugar! Most of them have a ton of sugar per bowl. Following my less than 10g of sugar per 100g grams ideology, the only cereals I can eat are Weetabix, rice crispies and porridge. Sad times.
Bread – even healthier breads like wholemeal might contain more sugar than you think.
Soups – Tomato soup in particular! Have a look at the label.
Fruit Juice – Stay away from fruit juice. It’s essentially like drinking a glass of sugar with none of the fibre benefits found in fruit.
If you take anything from this article, then let it be this…
Sugar is making the world obese. You can argue that other food groups are contributing but just take a look at our ancestors and compare their diets to that of today’s Western World. Be more aware of what you’re eating and I promise you will feel so much better on the inside and out.
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