Rediscover your health

Sugar – demon or delight?

Posted on 19 January 2024

Are you addicted to sugar? Let’s face it, many of us are! 🍬🍫

It affects us all more than we realise – in our energy, our mood, our skin, sleep, memory, clarity of thought and of course helping to pile on those pounds. 

Here are a few tell-tale signs: you find yourself eating when you’re not even hungry, you worry about cutting down on certain foods, or you constantly crave sweet treats. It happens to the best of us!

Sugar is the ubiquitous sweetener and food preservative. So it is also now incredibly hard to avoid, being present in almost all processed foods. Yes it gives you energy initially surging your blood sugar levels. But, then your blood sugar level crashes after a swift peak and you’re left feeling worse than before you ate that food / snack / treat/ drink.

Let’s see – how many of these resonate with you? It happens to the best of us!

  • You eat certain foods even if you are not hungry because you crave them.
  • You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  • You feel sluggish or fatigued (especially from overeating).
  • You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

Don’t demonise it

Going sugar free isn’t something you need to do on your own. The whole family can take part. The secret here is in how you position it. There’s no sense announcing a blanket sugar ban (cue for a rebellion). But through the challenge, I’ll be sharing some cunning tricks that I use with my own family [if relevant] to help the whole thing go smoothly.

And here’s why you’ll want to get the kids involved… 

British children are some of biggest consumers of sugar in Europe. They’re pretty much eating their body weight in sugar each year. 

A study by scientists at Birmingham University found that children are consuming an average of 75g of sugar a day (the equivalent of 19 teaspoons). That’s four times their recommended daily allowance. Small wonder that sugar has been singled out as the biggest contributing factor in the national obesity crisis. 

It’s also blamed for a rise of nearly a quarter in the number of children under four having to have one or more of their milk teeth extracted. Sugar creates imbalances in energy that can contribute to erratic behaviour and mood changes and paves the way towards type 2 diabetes. 

Think of this it as a wake-up call.

Myth busting:

Myth: Natural sugars are better than added sugars. 

Fact: While natural sugars in fruits are accompanied by fibre and nutrients, our bodies still metabolise them as sugar. Too much of any sugar can lead to health issues and blood sugar imbalances. 

Myth: Sugar-free products are always a healthy choice. 

Fact: Sugar-free doesn’t mean healthy. Some products replace sugar with artificial sweeteners, which come with their own set of concerns. Opt for whole foods and homemade treats instead.   

Myth: Children can handle sugar better than adults. 

Fact: Children’s bodies process sugar similarly to adults. Excessive sugar consumption can harm their health and set the stage for unhealthy habits later on. Let’s encourage balanced diets for our little ones! 

The diet industry is tricking you

There was a study a while back known colloquially known as the “Oreo cookie study.” It was conducted by researchers from Connecticut College and was published in 2013.

The study was designed to explore whether Oreo cookies, with their combination of sugar and fat, could trigger similar neural responses in rats as those observed in the brain when exposed to drugs of abuse. It did. 

The researchers placed the rats in a maze with two distinct sides: one side contained regular rat chow, and the other side had Oreo cookies. The rats were allowed to freely choose which side of the maze to explore.

The researchers found that the rats developed a strong preference for the Oreo cookies, similar to the way individuals with drug addiction exhibit a preference for drugs over other rewards. 

When they looked at brain activity – especially activity in the reward centre of the brain – what they saw was very similar to what is observed in drug-addicted individuals. Bottom line: the combination of sugar and fat in Oreo cookies could stimulate the brain’s pleasure and reward centres in a manner similar to addictive drugs.

Join my 7 day sugar free challenge and get help with:

  • labels / hidden sugars
  • artificial and natural sweeteners
  • recipes and tips
  • how to plan healthy eating
  • liquid sugar
  • dealing with celebrations

Find out more information about my 7 day sugar free challenge here and join the FaceBook group here.

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