The dialogue and research surrounding sugar and carbohydrates are probably the most controversial among the food and diet industry.
With an abundance of information and little direction, anyone would find it exhausting trying to understand it all. Yet it’s pretty simple. It comes down to being conscious about the difference between refined/processed and unrefined/whole foods or at best minimally processed.
The Lowdown On Sugar
What sweet satisfaction sugar brings. But with those small pleasures follows long-term effects sneaking underneath the surface. It can be tricky because sugar is literally found in everything. The differences between the good and the bad however lie the knowledge.
Sugars are classed into two types: simple (refined) and natural.
The simple or free sugars are found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.
Natural sugars are those that naturally occurring in fruits, milk, and vegetables.
The consumption of the names listed below has been considered to pose the most health risks.
- Sucrose – commonly known as table sugar originally found in plants such as beet sugar or sugar cane. Used as an additive
- Glucose – body’s preferred energy source
- Fructose – naturally found in fruits and vegetables
- High-fructose corn syrup – NY Times claims it “ the most demonized additive known to man”
- Aspartame – Artificial sweetener
Filled with empty calories, sugar provides absolutely no health benefits. Regardless of how it’s consumed, our bodies essentially react the same way once it enters the body. Many health experts insist that sugar alone is considered to be poison.“Fructose sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco.” –The Telegraph Click To Tweet
To put things in perspective, the hazard lies in the fact that any added sugar is processed and in excess can lead to a string of health issues. The Council of California states that “high sugar consumption is not consistent with a healthy diet.”
Many health organizations agree that the recommended daily limit of added sugar should be:
9 tsp 6 tsp
36 gm 25 gm
150 calories 100 calories
If 1 teaspoon equates to 4 grams of sugar and let’s say you have 1 cup of milk which consists of 12 grams of lactose (sugar), by morning your already halfway there.
“Yet, the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) every day which translates into about 66 pounds of added sugar consumed each year, per person.”
Any refined sugar is slow releasing and the body is not wired nor designed to take massive amounts of refined sugars or fructose. It goes straight to the liver to be converted to fat. In order to maintain a healthy body and keep diseases at bay, it’s important to be aware of this addictive ingredient.
The Sugar and Carbohydrate Connection
The link between sugar and carbs is closely related in that “simple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. Simple sugars are those found in refined foods such as pastries, pasta, cookies, candies, etc…“ –The 2 Week Diet
Acting as our arch nemesis, the fact is that sugar and simple carbohydrates which eventually turn into sugar in our bloodstream are the leading causes of diabetes and obesity, diseases all too common in Western societies.
The problem really is that there is little education, copious amounts of available processed foods, not enough healthy restaurants and minimal regulation in terms of ingredients.
Complex carbohydrates are known as the more health-promoting kind. Especially found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. They are easily digested, absorbed and are an excellent option for weight loss as they manage blood sugar spikes.
The China Study notes that unfortunately, most Americans consume voluminous amounts of simple refined carbohydrates and processed rich foods and paltry amounts of complex carbohydrates. Now even more evident by the looming obesity epidemic in countries like the Mexico, Kuwait, Samoa and more.
Reasons To Give Up Sugar
Jamie Oliver is a huge proponent for the eradication of added or refined sugars and is coming up with some excellent solutions for doing so, like placing a tax on soda drinks in all his restaurants hoping that the UK government will follow suit. Well, we’re right behind him, unfortunately, “people who are determined to eat and drink unhealthily will find ways to do it.”
It’s understandable that the difficulty to quit sugar may lie in the fact that it was a considerable part of your childhood. As we get older it’s wise to demystify some of those beliefs and be open to change because of those long-held ideas, in the long run, do more harm than good.
Rest with this thought for a moment. Refined sugar or in excess has the ability to…
- Decrease mental activity
- Compromise your immune system
- Destroy your liver
- Disrupt proper kidney function
- Triggers hormonal imbalances
“I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet and eat as little as I possibly can because I believe ultimately it’s something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer.” –Anonymous
To find out more on Jamie Oliver’s campaign against sugar check out his short documentary Sugar Rush and join the movement.
What You’ll Gain When You Eliminate Sugar
1- Blood sugar regulation
2- Stronger immune system
3- Mineral and gut flora balance
4- Brain health
5- Skin clarity
6- Weight loss – (consumed in excess contributes weight)
7- Lowers risk of diabetes significantly
8- Your palate will adjust to healthier foods – goodbye addiction!
9- No more energy slumps
Toxic beyond its calories, sugar is known to be the primary sources and causes for obesity and diabetes. Cancer Research UK explains that “robust scientific evidence shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer.” In response the World Health Organization says, we need to cut back.
If you begin by reducing refined sugar intakes like surgery drinks, pastries or any refined carbohydrates or eliminating it all together you will do yourself a lifetime favor and the visible results are extraordinary. Focus more on the natural, clean food alternatives, complex carbs, and fruits which will not just digest faster but won’t cause harm to the body.
How To Breakup with Sugar
If you make a more conscious decision to be healthier, you won’t see quitting sugar as an uphill battle. It will be a more fluid transition that you feel good about. Being aware and educated about what we put inside will affect us whether we witness it now or later. More than just quitting sugars out of your diet—it’s ultimately the respect you have for your body.
Start slowly. Being informed and mindful is key.
- Eliminate sugared beverages (from concentrate, added sugars or anything not made from something real)
- Opt for healthier alternatives
- Quit sugary junk foods
- Reduce simple carbs like bread, pastry, crackers etc.
- Check for hidden sugars – read the labels
- Don’t give up and don’t give in. The more you wean yourself off of sugar the fewer cravings you have
If you find cutting sugar and carbohydrates out of your diet is hard either present or past and you need a proven way to help you get there all while losing weight–head over to The 2 Week Diet and stop struggling.