How is the post Christmas detox going? I realise that many of you have started reading the blog and some may know me but some may not. So this is a more personal look at why I gave up sugar. I’ve started with my own reasons and then I’ve tried to look at the science in a none laboratory genius, kind of way!
So for my personal reasons and I think most girls can relate to this one. Despite being generally fit, running and playing rugby I always had a pouchy belly! Despite eating healthy but bingeing on chocolates, jellies and pastries I couldn’t shift it. A couple of summers ago I cut out carbs, and upped my cardio and I never lost a kilo! I just became more tired, grouchy because I was hungry all the time. So in New Zealand I was reading a lot about how sugar just contributes to belly fat and thought sure I’ll just cut down on the biscuits and see how it goes. From here I did research and read all the food labels of food I was buying and slowly realised sugar is added to almost all processed foods. This spurred me on to cut out processed foods too. If it had more than five ingredients, you can’t pronounce it or you can’t give a decent attempt to make it; simply don’t eat it. Now I’m not saying I have a six pack but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my body shape since ditching the sugar.
Reason number two is my skin. I have always had acne problems with my skin and no matter what I tried from expensive creams to crazy home remedies (sudocream and toothpaste come to mind!) it just never cleared. I was at breaking point. Who wants to be a 27 year old with acne? So after quitting sugar my skin got slowly better, my blemishes healed and new spots stopped appearing. Now I still get the odd spot but it’s usually after a sugar treat. And this just reminds me to cut out the sugar again.
So there is some of my personal reason for quitting sugar now for a bit of science. I’ll try to explain why sugar is bad for you and hopefully this will help you to kick the habit. So maybe you know glucose is the fuel of every cell in the body? Maybe you don’t but that’s ok. Glucose feeds every cell in the body so obviously you need some sources of this in your diet. Now how do you get glucose? It’s a sugar that gets broken down in the digestive tract and then gets sent to the cells, it is found in almost all foods. Natural sources are fruit and vegetables but there are many others.
An easy example of a sugar is table sugar. Now 50% of table sugar is glucose and 50% is fructose. Similarly some of the healthy alternatives like cane sugar have the same composition as refined sugar. So if 50% of the sugar is broken down to glucose, what does fructose do? Studies show that fructose is fundamentally different to glucose. Fructose is metabolised in the liver. Most people can digest the natural fructose, like those found in fruit just fine. Fibre actually slows down the absorption of fructose and so small amounts reach the liver and are processed. However it is when fructose is processed, the fibre and nutrients removed that create problems. But large amounts like those found in high fructose corn syrup, refined sugars and sweetened drinks overwhelm the liver. Once broken down fructose is deposited as fat around your belly, the more fructose the more fat deposits. This fat also disturbs the hormones for regulating hunger. So you end up fatter and hungrier.
This is just the beginning of the research on sugar and it effects in the body. It has been linked to type 2 diabetes, cardio vascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As more research comes out the link between this sugar and ill-health will become clearer but for now maybe think of trying to reduce the sugar in your tea or leaving that muffin to a Friday treat instead?
Stay healthy X