As someone who doesn’t add sugar to my coffee, rarely drinks soft drinks, and doesn’t load up their shopping basket with biscuits, cakes and chocolate – I don’t seem like the kind of person who needs to take on the challenge of quitting sugar. I mostly stack up my shopping kart with things that grew, ran or swam and cook pretty much everything from scratch. But I will not sit here and lie to you. If there’s chocolate in my mom’s house, I’ll have some. If I’m offered cake at a party, it’s unlikely I’ll say no to a slice, and so on. But sugar is no good, sugar is BAD! It’s a white carb that offers you nothing good in return, while other carb sources are much better for the human body.
Let’s talk about sugar then.
WHY IS SUGAR SO BAD?
Sugar is everywhere; in fact, it’s in 80% of packaged food. It’s highly addictive and it wreaks havoc on the body. Not only does sugar send your energy levels up and down, it can also do the same to your hormones. Over time, the constant fluctuations will leave them unbalanced and not working as they should. When we eat sugar, insulin is released by the pancreas in order to remove glucose from the blood. Eventually, this constant request, mixed with high levels of insulin and glucose, leads the pancreas to produce less insulin over time, which causes insulin resistance – the precursor to diabetes. Also, if the energy from sugar isn’t burned soon after consumption, it’s converted into fat and gets stored in the body.
4 THINGS I LEARNED IN A NO SUGAR DIET
1. SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE
Sugar is lurking everywhere. Check the products next time you go shopping, read the labels of a range of items and you’ll find out just how many of them contain sugar. Sugar comes in many forms. The label might not say “sugar”, but if the words end in ‘ose’, it means it is still a sugar. A “healthy” breakfast of cereal, yoghurt and fruit with a glass of orange juice can contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar – the recommended daily amount is 7 teaspoons.
2. MORE ENERGY AND NO ENERGY SLUMPS
In a no sugar diet, my energy levels have gone up and I’m no longer looking for a sugary treat to give me a boost. I wake up feeling more refreshed and have higher levels of energy. That’s all-day energy too; that 3pm afternoon slump is gone and I’m no longer looking for a sugary fix to remedy it.
3. IMPROVED SKIN
Since quitting sugar, I’ve noticed I have a less oily T-Zone (the forehead and nose). Excess sugar intake can cause oily skin, so instead of applying products to the outside, maybe looking at what’s going on in the inside is the answer to skin problems (sugar can also cause spots and even wrinkles!).
4. LOVE OF COOKING
I regained my love of cooking. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I always cook relatively healthy meals. Since most sauces were out the question and a whole range of products no longer allowed on my plate, I needed to cook pretty much everything from scratch. This got me making old recipes I’ve not made in a while, as well as researching and cooking new meals. You know exactly what’s in your meal if you make it yourself! I really feel that this is the key on how to detox from sugar.
Will I eat products containing sugar again? Yes. If someone brings birthday cake into the office? Sure. If there’s cheesecake on the dessert menu in a restaurant? You bet. But will I be more mindful of products containing sugar and aim to limit my intake? Absolutely. A sugar free diet is not my aim – education and creating awareness is!
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