Sugar – friend or foe?
There is growing evidence that sugar has an adverse effect on our health and is closely linked to the increased risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore it is crucial that we do as much as possible to reduce sugar from our diet. It is really important to be able to balance our blood sugar levels throughout the day. This isn’t as hard as it sounds and can be done effectively through eating a healthy diet. One of the biggest dangers comes from pre-packed or processed foods were sugar is often a “hidden” ingredient which is why many healthy eaters prefer to eat meals they prepare from scratch.
Sugars just like alcohol and nicotine is addictive. When we eat sugar it activates the “reward system” in our bodies. If we repeatedly activate this reward system it can lead to us needing more and more sugar to achieve the same “hit”. However you don’t have to remove all sugar from your diet. It is more a question of making sure you have a balanced intake that will provide your brain and muscles with the correct amount of fuel. Consuming natural sugars is one of the best ways to achieve this balance. These can be found to varying degrees in fruit, vegetables, beans, grains and all carbohydrate food. Unlike refined sugar which is high in calories but of no nutritional value the food sources that provide natural sugars have the added benefit of providing us with vitamins and minerals essential to our wellbeing. Eating these foods throughout the day in the right amount and combining them with protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This will give you a constant supply of energy, reduce hunger, help maintain your optimum weight as well as avoiding the unpleasant mood swings associated with sugar lows.
For some the thought of starting on a new eating plan can seem daunting and there can be a few side effects from sugar withdrawal. You may feel tired, have skin disturbances, headaches or find your digestion disrupted. However all of these tend to pass in a few days and you will feel motivated to continue as you feel the benefits. Within no time at all your new reduced sugar diet will become a way of life and you will never look back as you will feel healthier, happier and lighter.