I’ll give it to you bluntly; sugar negatively impacts just about every organ in our body. It’s that bad.
I should clarify that. I don’t mean natural sugar like fructose found in fruit. I mean refined sugar, the added sugar, the nasty white stuff.
I see a lot of people, particularly on Instagram, post about how everyone has demonised sugar and it’s not as bad as people think. Even a leading Nutritionist has told her followers that sugar in moderation is fine. What?!
Now, if we are talking from SOLELY a weight loss perspective, then perhaps I could agree. A little bit of sugar here and there isn’t going to cause you overnight obesity. But as a Nutritionist, talking about our health and nutrition, then that’s completely wrong. There, I said it.
Is it easy to give up sugar? No. Is it practical to stop eating sugar forever? No. Is it fair to expect everyone to cut sugar from their diet long-term? Also no. But that doesn’t mean we should say it’s okay to eat it, just because it’s inevitable we all will. Sugar is not healthy, it never has been and it never will be.
Let’s look at heart disease for example;
Most people blame dietary fat for heart disease. And while certain industrial, inflammatory fats like trans fats do cause heart attacks, sugar is the real culprit. In analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a team of researchers from the University of California outlined how they unearthed documents and evidence busting the sugar industry for funding Harvard research. Despite emerging evidence back in the 1950s that sugar caused coronary heart disease, the sugar industry paid Harvard to downplay that link and instead focus saturated fat’s link to heart disease.
These corrupt studies led to recommendations that influenced people away from butter and towards a diet full of more unnatural, manufactured fats like margarine and low-fat, sugar-infused snacks. This has given manufacturers a whole new area to market; those looking (but sadly failing) to find healthier alternatives and raking in the profits as a result.
When it comes to our gut health, which as we know is linked to our overall health, sugar is one of the biggest enemies. Researchers are now beginning to discover that sugar changes the gut microbiome in a way that increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome). That’s because sugar feeds the yeasts, moulds, fungus, parasites and bad bacteria in the gut, which helps them multiply quicker and thus results in digestive issues.
Sugar offers us no nutritional value. Not one single thing. But it tastes damn good and it’s very cheap. Manufacturers have used this to their advantage and put sugar in just about everything that isn’t fresh produce. We’re becoming more and more addicted. The more we eat, the more we want. So is it any surprise obesity levels are where they are? And then they blame the individuals – but is that fair when sugar creeps into endless products? Many people are just being outright tricked. Not to mention the long list of names sugar can fall under. Unless you know every single one, how can you ever be sure you’ve avoided added sugar?
Interestingly, when you abstain from sugar for a few months, your cravings disappear. This often coincides with gut repair which begs the questions – is it you craving the sugar or the bad bacteria and parasites? What is it that makes our cravings so strong we make ourselves feel guilty, destroy our health and form unhealthy habits, just to get our daily fix of chocolate? (Hint: I don’t think it’s you!)
Research has also proven that sugar suppresses the immune system, as it prevents the cells from being able to attack bacteria. Every time we consume sugar we reduce our defences during the digestion period and leave ourselves vulnerable. If you find you’re always battling colds then perhaps it’s time to lay off the sugar!
There are many other connections such as with Type 2 Diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver and in fact some cancers. Studies in mice have found that sugar speeds up the development of tumours – scary!
One of the best tips I can give anyone trying to stop consuming sugar, is to make a morning smoothie. I always recommend having a higher ratio of vegetables to fruit to prevent a spike in blood sugar. Green, leafy vegetables are particularly good! Having something sweet like a smoothie in the morning sates your cravings and weens you off needing the refined version.
For any further information or a private chat, contact me on the following;