If you pick up a magazine or a newspaper these days, the chances are you will read something about the evils of sugar. It’s everywhere, even in places where we least expect it, such as bread, sauces, crisps, granola, muesli, crackers and soy sauce.
It’s hard to escape it, and even if you think you have by not eating things that are obviously loaded with it, if you buy ready-made and processed food items, chances are it will contain sugar in it somewhere.
It’s cheap. It’s addictive. And some of the world’s largest companies make lots of money because of these two facts.
The frequency of the news reports, combined with the fact that we are all addicted, means that the issue doesn’t really have the weight of importance that it ought to. We all know that it’s bad for us, but we convince ourselves by saying things like ‘Oh it’s a treat’, ‘The diet starts Monday’, and ‘Surely it’s ok to just have one more…’. But with all the will in the world, your appearance or weight won’t change without you making changes to your lifestyle.
Also things that we think are super-healthy are actually not good for us in large doses, such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, smoothies and juices. Yes, fruit contains vital vitamins and minerals, but it also contains large doses of sugar, in varying amounts depending on the type of fruit. People think that because it’s natural sugar it’s ok. But our bodies deal with all sugars in the same way. Or don’t deal with them, as is the case of sugar overload. It ends up making us fat. As well as making us put on weight, sugar can also have lots of other detrimental affects to our bodies and brains.
I’m not saying don’t eat fruit at all, but most of the nutrients we get from fruit can also be gained from vegetables and other foods. SO fruit should be enjoyed in small doses.
When we eat sugar, it causes a reaction in our brain that releases feel-good hormones. This is fine every once in a while, but if this happens too often we can end up with loss of control, cravings and increased tolerance to sugar. In obese children, research has shown that their brains work differently, which indicates an elevated food reward response, which means that they may be predisposed to a lifetime of intense sugar cravings.
Research has also shown that too much sugar (particularly fructose) can also impair memory and learning skills, by slowing down the brain due to insulin resistance.
And drastic peaks and troughs in sugar levels can, cause sugar crashes which can induce irritability, mood swings and tiredness, which can in turn lead to depression and anxiety.
If you feel tired all the time, have brain-fog, have low tolerance levels when it comes to feeling irritated, or feel anxious or depressed for no apparent reason, it would be worth trying a sugar detox. Cut out all sugar for a couple of weeks and then slowly start to reintroduce fruit in small doses. You might get withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and cravings, and you may feel more naturally tired in the evenings, but in the long run you could be pleasantly surprised.
If you try it, please let me know how you get on.