Our population has never eaten more sugar than what is consumed now, and the truth of it is, the more sugar and sugar substitutes you consume, the more you are hurting your body.
The most considerable change in our food sources, from as little as 20 years ago, is the refining of sugar and starches, concentrating the sweet flavour you crave. When you are constantly consuming sugary products you create an addictive cycle of eating to feel full, yet still feeling empty. The biggest issue we face with regards to our foods is the over-saturation of fructose in our diet.
Over-consumption of Fructose
Fructose is the carbohydrate found naturally in foods such as fruits, corn and honey. The negative impact of otherwise healthy foods is our over-consumption of fructose. Sucrose, commonly known as table sugar is made up of half fructose and is added to many processed foods. Our consumption as a population has never been higher. When your body processes sucrose it is separated into glucose and fructose. Your body uses the glucose for energy purposes and, although it is harder on your body, you can use fructose too. However if there is excess fructose that you don’t need for your daily energy requirements, this gets placed into your fat synthesis pathways. These put continual stress on the liver causing a number of different health issues including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Fructose, when consumed in conjunction with fibre, is far better than consuming processed products. This combination occurs while eating fruit. It allows your intestine to process the sugars at a slower rate. We would recommend consuming no more than two pieces of fruit daily to keep these levels low enough that your liver doesn't become stressed. Your best option is to choose foods as you would find them in nature; in season and sourced as locally as possible.
Beginning a sugar-free journey isn’t a quick fix or fad, it’s about eating real food. Sourcing nutrient dense foods is vitally important to ensure you get back in touch with your body, health and life. The most challenging part of starting this journey is identifying the food products that contain high levels of these sugars. When looking at the ingredient lists on your food products any ingredient that has “ose” in it’s ending will likely be a form of sugar. Hidden names for sugar also include dextrose, fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, fruit juice concentrates, lactose, molasses and cane syrup.
We all too frequently hear of people who eat exceptionally at breakfast and lunch, but once that mid afternoon slump hits this all gets blown out of the water! There are a number of different factors that contribute to these cravings including stress, caffeine, fatigue and emotional health and they play a huge role in how we metabolise sugars. Therefore kicking those sugar cravings can require a multi-faceted approach.
the art of being healthy starts in your attitude:
Do you want your health to be convenient, stable, hard work, lonely or motivating? No one get’s to decide this – and carry it out but you. For this we are incredibly lucky – we get to choose how we eat, think, move, breathe, believe and perceive. This is powerful.
to start – identify what your triggers are in three different areas.
1. Food triggers – when you open your pantry or fridge – what do you see? If it is sugar laden, separate it into a box and see how much food you have that fits into a sugar type.
2. Time triggers – if you know you eat poorly when your busy (we all are!) prepare for this. Make nutritious food ahead of your tummy’s timeline.
3. Emotional triggers – Boredom, stress, happiness, sadness – we all find a reason to eat what we want, find yours and get ready to change your mind with, well your mind (not food).
being well nourished doesn’t have to be complicated:
shopping can be as simple as sticking to the outside aisles
– veges (lots)
– fruit (local and in season)
– meat and fish (ranges of cuts, as clean (chemically) as you can)
– small amounts of wholegrains such as rice/quinoa/buckwheat
– good quality unadulterated dairy and nut milks
– varied raw nuts and seaweed
– unbleached herbal tea (but water is cheaper, and better than anything)
This is what your bodies know and trust and better yet, can use to fuel your tank to reach your goals in life. No matter how big or small. Your health and energy is limited only by you.