Today I want to share 3 things about sugar, why it is "bad for you", how to avoid cravings, and the hidden names used for sugar on labels.
We all like sweets, at least once in a while.
We also know (hopefully) that it is not healthy for us. There are tons of reasons why but I would like to highlight the two characteristics that have the most impact in my opinion 1) it is addictive and 2) it makes you fat.
Number 1- Sugar is addictive.
Sugar is addictive, and when you are trying to cut back you may experience withdrawal, here’s why:
Sugar causes the body to release opioids and dopamine, which have an effect on body chemistry (much like a drug), and your body likes that. Your body wants more, and more and more. When the chemical (in this case sugar) is taken away it goes into withdrawal. Some people experience fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and other detoxing effects as they are coming down off of sugar.
A study conducted by James Cook University, found that cocaine-addicted mice preferred sugar-water as a reward over cocaine. Although mice are not people this fact is scary. The euphoria from sugar can be an intense driving force to reach for it often and obsessively.
Number 2- Sugar makes you fat.
Back in the day it was thought that fat makes us fat. Now we know better, IT’S THE SUGAR!
Too much sugar puts the liver into overdrive, and it has to work frantically to re-balance your system. This causes your liver to quickly store sugar as fat so your insulin and blood sugar rates can stabilize. If you don’t consume sugar as often your body automatically will balance itself out…..on the other hand if you consume sugar all the time, your body will end up with too much belly fat.
As I mentioned above, there are tons of other reasons not to consume so much sugar. If I didn’t get your attention with the addiction and the fatness keep reading. Without going into detail, here are some other reasons to stay away:
• Sugar causes you to crash
• Makes you tired
• Causes you to consistently be hungry
• Sugar feeds cancer cells
• Makes illness more common and suppresses your immune system
• Leads to type 2 diabetes and heart disease
• Spikes blood sugar releasing insulin- resulting in “hanger” you eat again, and it becomes a vicious cycle
• Precursor of moodiness: insulin is a hormone, which affects other hormones, including adrenal fatigue which leads to a moodiness roller-coaster as they body tries to re-balance
• Linked to memory loss and cognitive decline, and prematurely ages the brain.
So sugar is addictive. You now realize you are an addict.....so how to do cut back or quit? Here are a few foods to fight the cravings.
Sour and fermented foods-
In addition help fight cravings, if you happen to eat something sweet the probiotics in fermented food helps “eat up” the sugar and reduces the damage that sugar does in your body. Think sauerkraut, kimchi, mustard greens, olives, and green apples.
Foods high in the mineral chromium-
Chromium helps to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels and helps to reduce sugar cravings. Tomatoes!!! They are one of the foods highest in chromium, and are a great source of serotonin (low levels lead to sugar cravings). Broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, whole grains, and pastured eggs are all high in chromium.
Kale and arugula are detoxifying foods and complex carbohydrates so they keep you satisfied for longer and take longer to digest. Stay away from bread and pasta. Bread is quickly converted to sugar in your body, creating the same cycle.
Pure dark chocolate - 100% cacao chocolate.
You get endorphin release without the sugar spike.
Drink more water-
You will feel fuller and it helps to flush out excess sugar, helping to reduce the cravings.
Foods high in magnesium-
These include raw cacao, nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, brown rice, quinoa, and avocado. If you are low in magnesium you tend to crave more sugar.
High protein, fat and fiber foods-
These also keep you fuller for longer, try to make sure every snack or meal contains protein, fat and fiber. Think veggie omelets, nuts, avocados, olive or coconut oil.
There are two ways fish help to curb the sugar cravings. It makes the body more sensitive to leptin which is known to promote the development of gray matter in the part of the brain responsible for cravings. In addition, it is rich in protein and the good fats as well as the amino acid (glutamine) which helps to give the brain energy and maintain muscle mass in addition to stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Sugar is EVERYWHERE.
Another big issue is that even the “healthy” foods have hidden added sugars in them. These days, companies are catching on that the healthy population doesn’t like sugar. Be aware of the hidden names for sugar, here are the main culprits:
beet sugar, barley malt, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diatase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, refiner's syrup, sorbitol,
sorghum syrup, sucrose, sugar, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar
On labels, often the word “sugar” won’t be included as above, so for instance turbinado may be in the ingredient list and you would have no idea it is sugar.
I also found a guy on facebook who is keeping up an ongoing list of names of sugar…he is up to 318. YIKES!!!!! That is a lot of hidden sugar.