The more I am learning throughout my holistic journey, the less I understand how sugar could take such a big place in our daily food consumption, knowing how harmful it is.
For those of you who prefer watching a short video resuming this article, please GO WATCH IT HERE.
For the other ones, here we go:
No, Fats are not the evil. Healthy fats are necessary and great for you.
Sugar is the one that should be avoided as much as possible... And no, I am not exaggerating. Sugar is one of the primary causes of our generation becoming chronically fatigued, stressed, sick, suffering from any form of chronic inflammation and metabolism dysfunction (diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and other autoimmune and brain disorders….).
You might think: oh, but I never add sugar in my food or beverages. This is not for me.
Well, I would suggest you check the labels of all the foods you are eating, especially of course all processed foods. Sugar is hidden in more than 74% of processed foods, and in many non-sweet foods! Check your tomato sauce, your salad dressing, your tonic water, your marinates, your condiments, your mustard, your Worcestershire sauce, your ketchup….. your crackers, and even your meat, your smoked salmon!!! Yes. It is everywhere. If you go to www.sugarscience.org, you will see the list of all ingredients labelled, that are sugars with all sort of different names! Like for example: Fructose (most of names ending with –ose actually), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Agave, Grape Sugar, Glucose Solid, Fruit Juice concentrate, Cane Juice, Dextrin, Dextrose….. and so many more.
Educate yourself and ban all those ailments from your home.
Sugar is TOXIC, more ADDICTIVE than Cocaine, and DEADLY.
WHY? You think I am being too extreme here? Ok well let’s see why:
1. Naturally occurring sugar vs. added sugar
Natural Sugar itself is not that bad. Because it never exists by itself. Sugar in nature is in wholefoods and mixed with a variety of minerals, nutrients, fiber…. Nature allows you to absorb and digest this natural occurring sugar in the best way because it comes with plenty of nutrient-dense foods altogether.
The problem is the added sugar, this extra isolated component that is added in so many foods to make them taste better. It is also this taste that gets you addicted to certain foods. So the real question here is: where does it come from? In what form are you taking it?
Sugar triggers inflammation, and inflammation is the basis of 96-98% of all diseases. Maybe one more reason to double think about it.
2. Fructose can be very harmful and toxic to your body
Because it is cheaper and 20% sweeter than regular table sugar, industrials started using Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup in most of the processed foods as their best alternative to other types of Sugar. To them, it is a great way to save money. But this goes at the cost of your own health.
Also, Fructose is the type of sugar in fruits. People tend to think that they can eat as many fruits as they want to. After all, it is natural. So when they want to be healthy and calm down their sweets craving, some people choose fruits and feel free to eat as many as they want. Well there is problem here too.
Human body is not designed to consume such an amount of fructose. Your body can not metabolize more than 6 tsp of sugar per day. But the average today (with all added or hidden types of sugar everywhere) is about 19-20 tsp per day (in the US and Europe).
Unfortunately, our body isn’t able to metabolize so much sugar! So what happens, is that the excess sugar gets converted into fat, wreaks havoc your hormones, inflames your body and leads you to a higher risk of debilitating chronic metabolic diseases like:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- Lipid metabolism problem
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
3. Dangerous hormonal imbalances
Excess Sugar disturbs your hormonal balance, especially regarding Insulin, Leptin (satiety hormone) and Ghrelin (hunger hormone).
Especially excess fructose: it turns off your body’s appetite control process. Fructose is not metabolized the same way as other types of sugar. It fails to stimulate Insulin, and therefore the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger” hormone, doesn’t know it should stop. So people go on eating because they are still hungry. And they don’t get satiated because the hormone ghrelin, the one that tells you that you had enough, is not activated neither. As a consequence, you eat more and more in general and your body doesn’t understand what is going on. You create and develop an Insulin Resistance that is the start of many metabolic problems, in particularly type 2 Diabetes. This is a downward spiral that can lead to many harmful diseases.
The metabolic dysfunction that results leads to weight gain, obesity (mostly abdominal), imbalanced ratios of cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure…..
4. Heart health damage
Sugar may affect the whole pumping mechanism of the heart, increasing your risk of heart failure.
5. Brain damage
Sugar increases drastically your aging process. There is a strong correlation between your sugar consumption and the aging of your cells. More particularly regarding your brain cells. When you are eating too much sugar, your brain is constantly using glucose as a fuel and this can cause major brain disorders like dementia or Alzheimer for example.
6. Sugar and Alcohol: same thing
Sugar and Alcohol have the exact same toxic effect on your liver. The way your body metabolizes sugar is the same as how it metabolizes ethanol (the alcohol contained in most alcohol beverages).
Sugar increases the risk of the same chronic diseases as alcohol does. There are 3 common harmful pathways sugar and alcohol lead to:
- Sugar increases insulin resistance, leading to a fatty liver (called “non alcoholic fatty liver disease” or NAFLD). This is turn disrupts the fat levels in your blood. Alcohol has the exact same effect
- Sugar causes excess production of free radicals, resulting in high aging speed and inflammation: this can also be caused by acetaldehyde (derived from ethanol)
- Sugar can stimulate the brain and induce habituation / dependence exactly as ethanol does
And this concerns everyone. Even tiny, skinny people can develop a fatty liver due to excess sugar intake or alcohol intake! And often, there are no warning bells for that, if you are not taking care of it…
7. Cancer cells love sugar
Cancer cells feed on sugar and their formation might be triggered by excess sugar in the intestines. To them, fructose is readily fuel that increases their proliferation. So what happens is that cancer cells feed on this sugar you are eating, it promotes cells division and speeds their growth. Yes, you got it: cancer spreads much faster and thrives in such an environment. So it makes sense to decrease this sugar absorption: make them starve and at least, don’t help them survive.
Bad bacteria and fungus also thrive in a high sugar environment. So stopping feeding them and letting them starve is a very efficient way to kill them....
Hope this gives you a good idea of how detrimental for your overall health sugar is. Many people experience emotional roller coaster, mood swings, lack of mental focus, energy ups and downs, fogginess, or are even hyper-energetic, and don’t think that their food can have such an impact of actually who they are. They live like this and don’t even realize what is going on. Those symptomatic behaviors are quite common in people eating too much sugar. Unfortunately, things that are common nowadays don’t necessarily mean that they are normal.
Excess sugar shortens your life. A 2013 study shows that nearly 180 000 deaths worldwide could be attributed to just sweetened beverage consumption. There’s an evident correlation between sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk (diabetes, heart disease, cancer…).
HOW TO MANAGE OR LIMIT SUGAR CONSUMPTION?
Because Sugar is highly addictive, people who are used to their daily sugar consumption can struggle quite a lot when trying to reduce it. But step by step, they can get there. It’s all about understanding and realizing how better they feel without it.
1. Spend at least 90% of your food budget on Organic Fresh Wholefoods. Vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild caught salmon, Organic nuts and seeds…. So many great things. So many flavours to discover. Increase you daily consumption of good fats. Those will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and with time your body will be able to use fat for fuel instead of sugar.
2. Limit refined carbs (cereals, bread, pasta, cookies, pastries….) as much as possible. There is always a better alternative to start with: quinoa pasta or even lentils pasta, all organic raw oatmeal instead of processed cereals, dark wholegrain organic bread (without sugar added of course…) instead of white bread…. Ask for advice if you don’t know how to switch your “bad” foods for better
3. Increase your healthy fats consumption, your Omega 3, saturated and mono-unsaturated fats: Organic raw butter, Olive oil, Coconut oil, raw nuts (pecans or macadamias), free-range eggs, avocado, wild-caught salmon…… Those fats won’t make you fat! They will just flush out the bad fats. Just enjoy them (see BLOG about them)
4. Add fermented foods in your daily menu (see BLOG here). They will help support and heal your digestive system and restore your gut flora. Think of kimchi, organic coconut kefir, fermented vegetables (sauerkraut…)
5. Drink enough water. Help your body function properly by keeping a good level of hydration. You should be drinking your body weight in kg * 0.033 (in L).
6. If your sugar cravings are related to any emotional challenge, you should understand why you reach for those foods when you feel low. Often, overeating “helps” isolating you from your own emotions and feelings: you feel full and heavy physically instead of empty emotionally. So you are not as sad or as depressed anymore…. But this is a downward spiral as you feel very bad for eating so bad not that long after. Find another source of comfort: a friend, music, a relaxing bath. Think of yourself and of how you should be treating and respecting yourself. A technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) can help quite a bit here. If you need more help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
So, SHOULD WE LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT ANY SWEET TREAT EVER?
Now, I am not saying that you can not have anything sweet anymore in your life! I am just saying that you should be aware of what you are eating, and especially of the amount of sugar you are having, without even realizing it. Often we don’t realize the impact it has on ourselves, our relationships, our mood, our energy, our life…. Many people don’t really know what feeling great and being healthy truly means. It is sadly all too common to be fatigued, depressed, in a bad mood, or suffering from any chronic disease.
So, WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
Everybody’s level of sweetness is different. It depends on your chemical individuality. Some people might find that blueberries are not sweet at all, whereas some other people will find them way to sweet.
One thing to always have in mind is: always choose your sweet ingredient in its complete whole form: whole fruits (better than juiced, see BLOG here) for example.
But we saw that too much fruit is not good either, so how to satisfy a sweet tooth?
- Pumpkin or sweet potatoes are great natural sweeteners. You can use them in your desserts as well!
- Raw unpasteurized honey
- Molasses: even if quite high in glucose content, it is quite nutrient-dense so more balanced for you
- Dried fruits: when dried, fruits sugar content goes up, but if you mix them with good healthy fats, you can balance the effects
- Stevia: it is ok, but in small amounts
Those things can help you satisfy your sweet cravings. But I think it is important to keep in mind that the most important is to be able to spend a day without having any of them: don't get addicted to it. You can get used to this sweet taste quite easily, and your body produces insulin as soon as it detects something sweet coming up, whatever that is. So to balance out your whole system and to give it some time for repair and rest, I would suggest you first cut all bad sugars and only go for great sources. But then I think you should slowly get off from sweets for a while. Yes, you will have some withdrawal symptoms at the beginning. But the way it will make you feel after 1-2 weeks is so much worth it.
I will soon post some nice recipes that can help you get over your sweet craving without harming your whole body. Organic, healthy, yummy recipes. So many out there!
So stay tuned :-)
In Health and Happiness,