There are over 60 different names for sugar!
Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose just to name a few.
So how do we avoid sugar when it’s becoming harder to even know what’s inside the things we consume?
The answer is awareness!
First of all, it’s important to understand why sugar is so addictive. Some studies have shown it’s up to 10 times more addictive than cocaine, so it’s really our recreational drug of choice. I mean can you imagine saying, “I need to cut down on my cocaine” without thinking you had a major lifestyle issue?!
Our roots come from cavemen time when it was imperative for us to like the taste of a sweet thing so that we could put on and store fat for the coming winter season (remember, fruit used to be seasonal!). This drove us to binge on those foods and give us a quick and easily digestible energy source.
The main difference is those sweet things were mainly fruit, which came with nutrient-packed flesh and fibre that slowed down the dose of sugar entering our bloodstream
Sugar nowadays mostly originates from the sugar cane, but its heavy processing has stripped away the plant-type elements of the substance.
You might still see people in developing countries that chew on the raw, natural fibres, but for most of us now sugar has become a white crystal or a not much better, brown variety of such. Therefore the only thing our body gets from this is a surge of energy which, without the fibre, is closely followed by a crash as it unbalances our blood sugar levels.
The recommended total daily intake of sugar is no more than 6 tsp or 25 grams so why is it that a chocolate bar itself can have 25g? A single biscuit 18g, an energy drink 27g and research is clear that sugar also causes yeast infections that feed off the sugar in our diets, causing mood swings as our mental health is impacted by this huge surge & crashes of blood sugar.
Diabetes as a result of a resistance to insulin released to balance the blood sugar is now one of the most common ailments in the western world, yet 50 years ago was almost non-existent.
One clear picture we see is by taking advantage of this addictive nature we have for sweet things, food manufacturers are able to increase sales of their products almost directly in line with the quantity of sugar they contain. You remember what cookie dough ice cream tastes like right?
The main strategy I have used with my clients is to consider ‘swaps’. Mentally it’s much easier for us to consider not removing foods but swapping them instead to healthier alternatives. Therefore, coconut sugar, raw honey, rice syrup, cinnamon & coconut and of course, fruit are typically high on my recommendations as fibre rich, unrefined alternatives. I never recommend highly processed powder versions of stevia or sweeteners that are artificial as we then make a swap that can have other side-effects.
At the same time as making these swaps, I recommend to my clients to eat more sour, bitter & pungent foods. This trains the palate to be more balanced and makes it less enjoyable to eat sweet foods. An example of this can be 80%+ chocolate, lemon water & dark green leafy vegetables.
When we take charge of our health by making ourselves more aware and using our spending power to invite change, we also have an impact on what consumers want to see sold in the market which ultimately will lead to the change we want to see in the world as well as in ourselves!
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