There is no way to sweeten the unpalatable truth: too much sugar has a devastating toll on your health, your waistline, your skin and your teeth. So much so that medical experts have described it as the “new tobacco”. Read on to see why a sugar free life is so much better for you!
BENEFITS OF A SUGAR FREE LIFE
Going sugar free is one of the best things you can ever do for your health. Not only will reducing or removing sugar in your diet improve your health and help you to better manage your weight, but it will also lower your risk of serious illness, disease and reduce dental problems. In short, you will be a much healthier person. It can change the way you live by eliminating the sugar cravings that may be running and ruining your life.
SUGAR ADDICTION IS REAL
Sugar is highly addictive. Just like drugs, it hijacks the brain and keeps people hooked. The more the brain’s pleasure centre is stimulated by sugar the more of it we crave. Sugar addiction is a real phenomenon. Food is everywhere and most of it is full of added sugars. Eating junk food has become a habit. It is important to recognise you may be addicted to sugar and set your body up to take control of overeating and cravings.
THE DEMON IN YOUR DIET
For years, scientists have been warning us that sugar is a dietary demon. We were told as kids that it was the root problem of tooth decay, and now, study after study is linking sugar with even more health problems. The list includes heart failure, obesity, high blood pressure, liver damage, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
According to some doctors, it is sugar and not fat that is responsible for the global obesity epidemic. Sugar sabotages blood sugar and insulin levels and bulks out the body by promoting fat storage.
Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, energy, and sports drinks, and even fruit juices are loaded with sugar and provide no nutritional content at all! On average, a 600ml bottle of soft drink, contains 16 teaspoons of sugar?
Sugar is found in nearly everything we eat and while it is an essential part of a normal balanced diet, providing the fuel that powers the body’s cells, there is a world of difference between the naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and vegetables and the refined and hidden sugars that either we and/or commercial food manufacturers add to our food.
The body can only handle a finite amount of the sweet menace and when you sprinkle it on your breakfast cereal or have a can of fizzy drink, you are already taking in too much.
SUGAR AGES YOUR SKIN & DAMAGES COLLAGEN
A natural process called glycation causes sugar in your bloodstream to attach to proteins which then form harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs for short). The more sugar you eat, the more damaging AGEs you develop. As AGEs accumulate, they damage the proteins around them. Collagen and elastin, the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic, are easily damaged by AGEs, causing skin to dry and become brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging.
There are different types of collagen and a diet high in sugar affects what type of collagen you have.
SUGAR AND OBESITY
Obesity statistics for Australia show that a staggering 14.56 million Australians are overweight or obese. That is 57.3% of the entire country’s population. You can go into these figures in more depth, and it only gets worse…2 in 3 adults are obese or 67% of the adult population. 1 in 4 Aussie kids or adolescents are overweight or obese, that’s more than 1.46 million of our kids.
We rank 5th highest as a developed country, but Australian men rank 2nd highest globally!!!!!
Obesity stats for Australia show that it costs the taxpayers 11.8 BILLION DOLLARS in food and medical expenses, put bluntly…. Australia has an obesity epidemic….and we need to do something about it!
There is no need to stop enjoying sweet foods, or a sweet cup of tea or coffee, as there are delicious all natural sugar free alternatives to regular sugar that are not harmful effects to your health. Xylitol and Monk Fruit are 2 of my favourites. They have all the sweetness of sugar and have no bitter aftertaste or any aftertaste at all. Can xylitol be used in baking? Yes, you can bake cakes and cookies, delicious desserts, and make salad dressing and marinades. How much xylitol do you use in baking? Wherever you use sugar…replace it with a healthy all natural sugar free sweetener!
I do not believe in depriving yourself of birthday cake, sweet treats, or whatever dessert you love to eat. Just replace the sugar in your recipes with a natural sugar free sweetener and enjoy without your blood sugar levels skyrocketing and leading to more cravings and more servings! Remember that these favourite sweet recipes are occasional treats to be eaten in moderation, NOT your everyday diet.
When you eat sugar laden treats like cakes and sweet cookies, your blood sugar levels skyrocket and fall dramatically. We pretty much know what happens when your sugar levels rise, but what happens when sugar levels drop? This is when you get cravings, a feeling of not being satisfied and these feelings lead to you reaching for a second helping.
Be selective though, as there are sugar free artificial sweeteners on the market that are detrimental to your health. Artificial sweeteners’ sweet taste, signals your pancreas to release insulin, causing your body to expect a rush of sugar. When there is no sugar delivered, the body starts craving sugar and many people eat more to satiate that desire.
SUGAR AND ORAL HEALTH
Tooth decay is a diet-related disease that develops when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars to produce acid that demineralizes the hard tissues (enamel) of the teeth.
Why is xylitol good for the teeth? The sugar replacement, xylitol, increases saliva flow and alkalinity, which helps neutralise the acid and cuts off ‘acid attack’. Xylitol also strengthens tooth enamel and repairs small emerging cavities. A clean tooth doesn’t get sick, and chewing with a sugar free xylitol gum can also help with oral hygiene. Which xylitol gum is best? PUR chewing gum with xylitol is made in Switzerland and is a leading brand for taste and quality.
SUGAR – HOW TO GET IT OUT OF YOUR DIET
Your intention creates your reality.
- Make a commitment to yourself to honestly look at what you are eating and be prepared to make a change. Start slowly. It can be difficult to quit sugar all at once, start by replacing the sugar in your tea, coffee or drinks with xylitol or Monk Fruit sugar free sweeteners. Make it a habit to read the nutritional labels and look at how much sugar is in the foods you are already eating.
- Get rid of the sugar and the high sugar supposedly “healthy snacks” in your pantry. Remove the temptations, out of sight, out of mind. Added sugar is not a necessity and can be removed from our diets, our minds, and our kitchen cupboards.
- Drinks – do not buy fresh juice, sodas or diet drinks – at all! Eat a piece of fruit instead and you will be getting the full nutritional value in fibre and nutrients. Drink water and add a little lemon juice, or mint if you desire.
- Some research has suggested if you can incorporate bitter tasting foods into your diet, it will reset your taste buds to a less sweet taste preference which can help with the cravings.
- You may have some physical symptoms of sugar withdrawal, like headache or fatigue…stay with it, this will pass, and you will begin to feel better and better. Drink filtered water, do gentle exercise and try for 7-8 hours’ sleep a night. This can help get you over that initial hump.
- Protein is the most important food category to focus on at first, with fibre right behind it. Both will make you feel full longer, help curb your cravings and keep your energy levels up. Make sure you have a source of protein with every meal.
- Do not eat a meal in front of TV. This is mindless eating, and you will want to eat more. Taste every mouthful of food. Wait 20 minutes after a meal before you think about eating more. This gives your brain time “to catch up” with your stomach.
- Aim to change your eating regime, diets don’t work forever, you need to change your “food lifestyle”. Plan meals you enjoy with good health in mind and build your shopping list around it. Vary your meals and try foods from different cultures, there are fabulous herbs, spices and different ingredients in the stores now.
If you are reducing sugar or cutting it out of your everyday diet don’t let it overtake your life. Remember stress hinders weight loss and happiness. Do not dwell on what you eat, do not make it your life, incorporate the changes into your days slowly and easily. Enjoy your life and live for now.