As human beings, we all have certain weaknesses when it comes to food, and for many of us, anything that contains sugar satisfies our cravings and gives us comfort when we need it most. If you go into any store nowadays and simply read the labels on packaged food, you’ll find it contains sugar in some form, and usually in ENORMOUS amounts. For example, a bottle of soda can contain more than 50G of sugar, which far surpasses the recommended amount of sugar for the average adult.
In today’s world where we can get a sugary concoction of man-made ingredients at any corner store or restaurant, staying away from this toxic additive in food can become quite the challenge. However, trying our best to at least cut back on sugar can prevent diseases such as diabetes, strokes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity and more. In recent years, food companies have replaced added fats with sugars in an attempt to follow health trends, but research proves that sugar, not fats, have contributed far more to the decline of people’s health at large.
However, even if you’ve been consuming sugars all your life, you can easily reverse the harmful side effects by severely cutting back your sugar intake. Many diets take a while to show results, but cutting out added sugars can bring results in as little as 10 days. In a new study that included children, researchers saw dramatic improvements in the childrens’ health in just over a week.
THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO YOUR BODY WHEN YOU GO WITHOUT SUGAR FOR 10 DAYS
Dr. Robert Lustig and his team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, noticed a decrease in triglyceride levels by 33 points on average, and the LDL (bad) cholesterol dropped 5 points, as well as diastolic blood pressure. In only 10 days, all of the children who participated in the study dramatically decreased their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Even though this study only includes children, we can only assume that this would work on adults as well.
However, before we move forward, we’d like to clear something up. Many people assume that ALL sugars cause negative health, but we do actually need sugar in order to survive. The key is to consume the RIGHT kind of sugars from whole, plant-based foods. These sugars occur naturally, and our bodies can assimilate and digest them perfectly. The problem exists when we start to extract sugars from plants, and put these “food-like substances” into processed foods. Added sugar simply does not have any nutritional value whatsoever, so the body recognizes the calories, but does not know how to convert the energy into a usable form. Thus, we see rampant cases of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc in modern society.
Also, not all calories perform the same way in the body. Added sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which happens even with natural sugars. However, over time, your insulin response will become damaged after consuming added sugars in large amounts, and cause inflammation in the body. On the other hand, if you consume the same amount of calories in the form of broccoli, for example, your body will process it as actual energy since it contains the right alkalinity and nutrients for us.
Food companies spend millions per year trying to convince us to buy their products, but truthfully, many of the food substances they sell simply have no nutritional value whatsoever. To put things simply, we should all make an effort to eat mostly whole, plant-based foods that our bodies have been designed to consume, and try to steer clear of processed foods. Even if something says “low calorie” or “fat free” on the label, it does not necessarily point to a healthy option. In fact, many companies simply substitute sugar in an attempt to conserve the flavor without adding extra calories or fat.
SO, HOW MUCH SUGAR SHOULD YOU CONSUME?
For an average 2,000 calorie diet, the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that only 10% of the calories we eat come from sugar, or about 12 grams. Many products you find on the shelves, including sauces and dressings, come very close to or even exceed that amount with just one serving. So, when you go grocery shopping next, pay attention to the labels, and opt for whole foods as much as possible. While the processed food comes at a cheaper price, you can’t really put a price tag on health. Sure, it might cost significantly more to purchase fruits and vegetables, but think of it this way: you will save THOUSANDS on medical bills later in life, so which would you rather have?
Keep in mind as well that added sugars can hide under many different names and labels, so look out for the following when you go to the store: glucose/fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, beet sugar, glucose solids, cane sugar, dehydrated cane juice, dextrin, and maltodextrin, among others.
Also, bear in mind that our brain responds the same to sugar as it does to certain drugs, and some studies have even found sugar to be eight times more addictive than cocaine! With this in mind, hopefully you will aim to make sugar a very small part of your diet, and fill your cart up with more living foods. Your body will certainly thank you in the long run!