Monday, 7 April 2014

The Importance Of Avoiding Sugar!

I've always had a pretty healthy diet, ever since I was little I never had a high fat or high sugar diet and I've always been sensible with what I eat. Recently, however, I've started taking healthy eating a lot more seriously and I really think it's important for other people to do the same. Nowadays nearly everybody eats rather bad food, and I think a big problem of that is they don't actually realise what harm the ingredients they're eating is doing to them. I could go on about the absolutely disgusting effects of 'food' from McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast-food chains, I could rant about being people so many processed foods, but today I'm focussing on an evil thing called sugar.

Like I said, I've never had a high sugar diet. I've always preferred savoury over sweet and I've never been a big pudding eater, however occasionally I would have a pudding, or ice cream, or things like granola bars bought from the shops (very high sugar contents)…even fruit juice isn't good in large quantities. But recently I've almost completely cut sugar out, and I always make sure I check the labels of foods I think may have sugar in - some people roll their eyes when I tell them this, but it's just sensible and I have quite a few reasons why, which I will get onto shortly.
I'm not saying never treat yourself, of course you can have foods with added sugar every now and again but consuming them regularly can have huge effects on your body.

The first thing to know is sugar IS addictive. Fact. I was talking to someone the other day who said she was trying to eat healthily, but found it impossible to not have sweet things because she craved them. This isn't down to 'just having a sweet tooth', it's down to addiction. When we eat sugar dopamine is released in the brain, which gives us a feeling of pleasure - the same way drugs like cocaine work, our brain is then programmed to seek out the sugar to get that feeling of pleasure again, and again. The less you consume sugary foods the less you will crave them, honestly, try it for even a couple of weeks and you'll see what I mean. When I first started this cutting out of sugar I stopped drinking squash, after a couple of weeks I tried it again and couldn't even finish the glass because the taste of sugar was SO strong.

Sugar itself doesn't contain any vitamins, minerals, protein, essential fats or beneficial things. It's empty calories. So if you eat things like chocolate bars, Pringles, Coca-Cola (evil drink) or other fizzy drinks, biscuits, cakes, ice-cream, etc you're filling your body with very little nutrients and you're bound to end up deficient in many important nutrients.

• Too much sugar can overload the liver. Fructose sugar can only be metabolised by the liver, eating a little bit or from good foods like fruit is fine (also eating fructose sugar after a workout is better as the body deals with it in a healthier way), but in other cases the sugar overloads the liver and turns the fructose sugar into fat - some of this fat is shipped out around the body but some will remain in the liver, where it builds up over time and can lead to liver disease.

Too much sugar can cause insulin resistance, which creates a whole load of problems, including diabetes. Insulin allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells in the bloodstream, and gets the cells to burn glucose instead of fat. If too much insulin is being produced then the body becomes sort of immune to it, and it stops working as it should.
Fact - people who drink beverages with added sugar regularly have a 83% higher risk of developing type II diabetes. So, stick with water!

Avoiding sugar will reduce your risk of developing cancer. There is a lot of evidence to back up this point. Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulates the growth of cells, so increased levels of insulin  which make the body immune to the effects of the hormone can contribute to developing cancer. Also, the problems sugar consumption can have on the metabolism can drive inflammation in the body, another cause of cancer.

• Sugar raises your cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease - the biggest killer in the world. Saturated fat is obviously not good for you, but actually sugar has more of an effect on cholesterol levels. In just 10 weeks of regularly consuming bad sugars you could increase the hormones in your body that lead to heart disease.

Sugar rots your brain. No, really, it does destroy your brain. It even contributes to the degenerative brain damage disease Alzheimer's.

• Sugar actually robs your bones of vital minerals. Sugar depletes your bones of key nutrients like calcium, magnesium and copper which are vital for your health.

So, after all those horrible facts why would you want to eat sugar? You'd have to be mad!
If you eat sugar a lot you should think of it like an addiction, because that's what it is, and it's doing an insane amount of damage to you, so cut it out! Just stop consuming it. Try it for just a couple of weeks and your craving will significantly decrease.
Do remember sugar is added to a ridiculous amount of things these days, whenever I go shopping and look at the labels on foods I'm always shocked to see what products have added sugar in them, even foods that are marketed as being good for you contain SO much sugar - including those yogurt drinks and Naked smoothies. Try to avoid these foods, eat clean, natural foods - which are more delicious (I think), better for you in every way and will satisfy your hunger more.
FACT - In 1850 the UK consumption of sugar was about 8kg per person a year, by the year 2000 it had risen to over 65kg per person a year.

So, avoid - biscuits, sugary cereal (go for no added sugar muesli, pure porridge oats which you can add fresh fruit to, flax seeds or almonds for more taste, or fruit and plain yogurt), crisps, fruit juices, squash, cereal bars, ice cream, etc.
To satisfy any strong cravings for sweet foods opt for fresh fruit - pineapple, mango, apples and blueberries are among my favourites, you can make no-bake oat bars at home with coconut oil (I might post a recipe soon), peanut butter and apple, Quakers oat biscuits are low in sugar, greek yogurt, soya yogurt, nuts and homemade ice-cream using just bananas (google recipes) are among the yummy snacks to try.
I think it's so important to eat healthily, both for the body and the mind and it makes me quite angry and sad that the importance of this isn't taught, and people don't take it seriously. If everyone ate fresh, natural, clean food we'd have a health epidemic!

Do you eat sugar regularly?
Will you be cutting down?


1 comment

  1. this was a really interesting post! please could you check out my blog: and maybe comment

    thankyou xo


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