Sugar seems to have developed a reputation as the big bad wolf in relation to health. Numerous studies show that sugar, more than any other ingredient in the diet, may be driving some of the world’s leading killers… including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer.
Such research has led to many health experts around the globe calling for reductions in recommended sugar intake, with some saying we should cut out sugar completely. But is it really that bad for our health?
Put simply, sugar is a carbohydrate that makes foods taste sweet. There are many different types of sugar, including glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose and sucrose – also known as table sugar.
Some of these sugars, such as glucose, fructose and lactose, occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and other foods. But many of the foods we consume contain “added” sugars – sugar that we add to a product ourselves to enhance the flavour or sugar that has been added to a product by a manufacturer.
The most common sources of added sugars include soft drinks, cakes, sweets & chocolates, energy drinks, fruit drinks and desserts. Just a single can of coke can contain up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar, while an average-sized chocolate bar can contain up to 6 -7 teaspoons.
These levels are well above those currently recommended by WHO, which state we should consume no more than 10% of total daily calories from “free” sugars – both naturally occurring sugars and those that are added to products by the manufacturer.
Added sugar can have severe harmful effects on metabolism. The main reason is that it supplies a large amount of fructose, a simple sugar that is metabolized strictly by the liver. The sugar gets turned into fat in the liver, leading to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems. Insulin is a hormone that helps normalise blood sugar levels however it also stores fat… so the more sugar you eat the higher your insulin production and the more fat gets stored!
It is well known that fructose is uniquely efficient at causing the build up of visceral fat. This is fat that collects in the liver and around the organs. This is unhealthy! This type of fat is much, much worse than the fat that builds up under the skin. It actively secretes pro-inflammatory hormones into the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on your health.
The ability of sugar and refined carbohydrate to induce insulin resistance and increase visceral fat accumulation is now believed to be among the leading drivers of many of the world’s most serious chronic diseases. At Easy Health Wellness we do regular body composition analysis on our clients and visceral fat is also measured. It is truly amazing to see these levels drop as one loses weight and chooses to avoid sugar or have it in minimal amounts.
It is also known that liquid sugar (as in sugary soft drinks and fruit juices) has a uniquely fattening effect. Liquid sugar calories aren’t seen as food by the brain, so we don’t compensate by eating less of other foods instead.
Sugar is harmful to your body… but when consumed in liquid form, it is even worse.
Overall, sugary soft drinks (and fruit juices) are probably the unhealthiest and most fattening aspects of the modern diet, by far. Keep in mind that this does not apply to whole fruit, which also contain fibre and make people feel full before they can overeat on fructose.
Why sugar cravings or sugar dips?
• The time between meals and snacks is too long
• Having a high sugar drink or product elevates sugar fast and then sugar starts dropping fast as well leading to hunger and cravings
• A high carb meal will also elevate sugar and cause a sugar craving once sugar level starts dropping
• Protein portion of a meal not adequate enough to keep your sugar stable
Some tips I give my clients to avoid cravings:
• Eat meals and snacks on time
• Have adequate protein portions at all meals – at least the size of your hand palm
• Eat protein snacks in between as well – it will keep you full and keep your sugar stable
• Avoid sugary drinks and foods that cause sugar spikes and sudden drops
• Get a tailor made plan to suit your needs
• Have a body composition analysis done so that you can see what your total fat and visceral fat level is.
We want you to love your body so our body composition analysis is at half price so make sure to make a booking at the clinic and get to know your numbers. We are also launching a low carb drink for exercise that will top up electrolytes to help you with a healthy drink while doing sport …just without all the sugar! For more information call 012 997 2783