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Want to get healthier fast? Give up sugar


Young woman drinking a sugary drink outside

Credit: 123RF

Sugar is something we are all probably eating on a daily basis, even if we’re careful to keep it out of our diets. Many people are still not aware how damaging sugar can be and turn a blind eye to the high sugar content in packaged foods. Or, they simply try to sneak it in, thinking it won’t harm them and forget that a bit here and there can add up to a mountain of sugar. Meanwhile, while we’re busy keeping an eye out for cookies and cakes, we often forget the high sugar content in such foods as dried fruit and fruit canned in syrup — even bread.

Most Australians are eating at least three times more sugar than they should be and that brings health risks.

Think that it’s OK to replace refined sugars in processed foods with fruit? Many people are sensitive to fruit sugars and can overload on these by eating lots of fruit. Fructose can make your liver start to store fat. Stored fat around your organs can be dangerous and cause heart attacks, heart disease and liver disease. Sugar also gives you high insulin levels, which causes the muscle cells around blood vessels to grow at an abnormal rate, which leads to high blood pressure and this, in turn, leads other Health risks.

Sugar is highly addictive. This is because it makes the body release chemicals such as opioids and dopamine, which make us feel good.

Sugar overload can also contribute to high cholesterol, a state which can lead to strokes, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. High cholesterol is when the blood vessels outside the heart and brain are diseased and fatty deposits build up in the walls of the arteries, affecting the flow of blood.

Further, you may not realise that diseases such as Alzheimer’s are what is known as metabolic diseases, which are affected by the brain’s ability to use glucose. That ability is damaged so the glucose is metabolised in a way that is bad for the person, resulting in many metabolic illnesses.

Sugar consumption also causes hormones like leptin to be less effective, which leads to overeating. Your body does not register when you have eaten enough so you still think you are hungry.

Sugar affects more than just physical health; it can also wreak havoc on your mental health. Sugar is highly addictive. This is because it makes the body release chemicals such as opioids and dopamine, which make us feel good. As a result, we develop a tolerance to sugar which then causes us to need more to satisfy our cravings, like a drug addict.

Once you have a sugar fix, just like coming off a drug, about an hour later you “crash” because the sugar rush is over. Accordingly, people loading up on lots of sugar have a higher chance of feeling down more often, which adds to feelings of depression.

3 ways to nix sugar addiction

Don’t be discouraged if you have a sweet tooth: there are ways to deal with the sugar addiction our society is experiencing.

  1. Start by eating higher protein foods, having a good breakfast and avoiding sweet, fatty foods as much as possible, that way you’ll feel less desire for such sweet foods in the first place.
  2. Choose healthy snacks. There are also many healthier snacks out there that you can have which will not cause as much havoc in your body.
  3. Begin a good exercise routine. Exercising raises your endorphins so you will feel good from that without needing to resort to sugar.

The first week you start to cut down on sugar, you will feel it as you are detoxing and coming off a drug. After that initial downer, though, if you stay away from sugar you will find the cravings get less and less.

You will also notice your taste buds will start to change and other foods will taste better. If you must have something sweet, try natural Stevia, but do not go for the diet sweeteners as they are synthetic chemicals and bad for your health. If you are still having issues, check with your natural therapist as there may be other underlying reasons for those cravings: hormones, stress, emotional issues.

Cutting sugar from your diet will help stop your sugar cravings, help you lose weight and make you feel healthier. By cutting out sugar, you will also start to eliminate toxins, assist with candida and leaky gut issues, and help to keep in check other illnesses that may be creeping up. That makes a good start to being a healthy, fit, balanced person who can enjoy life to the fullest.



 

Jenetta Haim | WELLBEING COMMUNITY BLOGGER

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website.