It is crazy to think that sugar started to get a name for itself back in 1972 when a scientist published a book showing the effects sugar has on how our body functions. If this was taken more seriously and had not been ridiculed by various health professionals and nutritionists then maybe we wouldn't be looking at stats such as: The average American consumes around 152 pounds (68kg) per year of sugar!! This is scary considering this is more than I weigh!
This has happened because sugar isn't just in the foods we associate it with. It now forms a large role in preserving foods and you will find different types of sugars in foods you just wouldn't expect to find it in. There is a list of 61 different names for sugar and there are probably even more than this.
So what does sugar do to us?
- It activates the production of insulin in the pancreas.
- Influences and fuels the brain
- Fuels the muscles, nerves and is the periphery energy source for all bodily functions
- Excess sugar can cause havoc on these processes, plus: can affect calcium metabolism, B vitamin balance, can deplete other minerals and affects blood sugar balance which in turn affects many other processes in the body.
When natural sugar is refined it loses its integrity and the nutrients that it did contain get dispersed. The more refined the product, the quicker it enters the blood stream. This causes a large influx of insulin to be released from the pancreas to help bring the sugar in the blood stream back to a normal range. Check out this link for more information on blood sugar balance. As blood sugar becomes more and more disrupted, we become more acidic, which in turn starts to deplete our minerals. In this same spiral, our digestive system can also become affected. Doesn't sound great does it!
Refined sugar gives us a greater amount of energy quickly, so why wouldn't we want this? Because of all the information I have given you above!!!
What is your daily sugar intake?
0-5g per day = LIGHT USER: You are within a healthy daily levels.
6-10g per day = MODERATE USER: You are getting close to an unhealthy daily sugar intake and it is time to cut down.
11-15g per day = HEAVY USER: You really need to reduce your intake of sugar to reduce health risks.
16+ = VERY HEAVY USER: This is dangerous to health and it is important to get on top of this straight away.
How can you check your levels?
There are some great apps, which you can download onto a smart phone. If you just want to look at sugar intake, I would recommend one called sugarsmart. If you would like to look at your overall diet including protein and fat, My Fitness Pal is a great app and will also show you sugar intake.
How can you balance your sweet tooth?
- Prepare meals at home so you can control how much sugar is in the foods you eat. The food industry hides sugar in foods such as: breads, cereals, salad dressing, soups, cured meat, canned foods, amongst the foods that are obvious too.
- It is important to consciously reduce your intake yourself. Self-discipline is an art. You will need to reflect especially when you have slip ups.
- Increase dietary protein to help you stabilise your blood sugar.
- Eat sweet vegetables such as: Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, sweet potato, and parsnips to help train your brain away from artificial sugar.
If you would like any more information, please email me: