Why You Need To Avoid Sugar

Last night I watched a documentary called ‘Fed Up’.  It’s about what’s really causing the obesity epidemic: sugar.  The information wasn’t new to me.  I’ve been studying nutrition for years and I know first-hand the damage sugar can do.  Watching this documentary got be pretty fired up though because it reminded me how the food companies are misleading people into eating foods that are not just making them too fat, but also slowly killing them.  These food companies particularly like to go after kids because they’re an easy target.  Let’s look at why you need to avoid sugar.

Why You Need To Avoid Sugar

  1. Sugar causes insulin resistance.

When you eat a diet high in sugar/carbs it causes your body to overproduce insulin.  Basically insulin takes sugar and turns it into fat for storage.  If your body is overproducing insulin you’ll be storing more fat and also possibly develop type 2 diabetes.

  1. Sugar causes heart disease.

I’ll bet you thought fat was responsible for heart disease.  Well guess what?  Too much sugar has been linked to fatal heart disease even in those who don’t appear to have a weight problem.  By the way, skinny/lean does not equal healthy.  There are a lot of skinny people out there who are struggling with the same health issues as obese people from eating a diet high in sugar.

  1. Sugar affects your cholesterol.

There is significant evidence that sugar will lower your HDL (your good cholesterol).  A high sugar/high carb diet will raise your triglycerides which is a better predictor of heart disease than total cholesterol.

  1. Sugar causes tooth decay.

Bacteria loves sugar.  If you’re eating a high sugar/high carb diet your feeding bacteria in your mouth that will cause cavities.

  1. Fructose causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

For the first time ever, kids are developing fatty liver disease.  Normally fatty liver disease is a problem caused by too much alcohol.  Not anymore.  Fructose is fine when it’s consumed as fruit.  Fruit contains the necessary fibre, vitamins and minerals to allow your body to process it for energy.  It’s when fructose alone is added to foods that it becomes deadly.

  1. Sugar is linked to cancer.

Cancer cells can only survive off of sugar.  Eating sugar feeds cancer.

  1. Sugar makes you more hungry.

Sugar causes you to release more insulin (basically the fat storage hormone) and less leptin.  Leptin is a hormone that signals your brain that you’ve had enough to eat.  It suppresses the release of leptin so your brain is unaware that you’re actually full and will drive you to eat more.

  1. Sugar suppresses your immune system.

Sugar depletes your body of the nutrients it needs for a healthy immune system.  It also reduces your body’s ability to fight infection.

  1. Sugar can cause depression.

There is a direct link between blood sugar and mood.  If your blood sugar is going through spikes and lows daily your mood is going to be affected negatively.  A high sugar and therefore low nutrient diet will not provide the essential amino acids and vitamins you need for a stable mood.

  1. Sugar affects your gut flora.

Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut and kills the good bacteria.  Your gut flora impacts your immunity, serotonin (your feel good hormone), allergies, bowel function, metabolic function and more.  Sugar throws your gut flora out of whack causing a myriad of problems.

  1. Sugar can cause macular degeneration.

Eat too much sugar and you’ll be needing glasses soon.

  1. Sugar causes wrinkles.

Did that get your attention?  Basically sugar attacks the fibres in elastin and collagen.  Elastin and collagen is what makes your skin supple so if they’re being destroyed by sugar the result is wrinkled skin.

  1. Sugar causes inflammation.

Inflammation is basically the root of all disease including cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, arthritis and many more.

  1. Sugar can affect your child’s IQ

There’s evidence that children eating a poor diet high in sugar and therefore low in essential nutrients may be associated with reductions in IQ in later childhood.

  1. Sugar can cause estrogen production in men.

Listen up men!  MOOBS (man boobs) are on the rise!  Don’t let it happen to you.

  1. Sugar causes kidney disease.

Sugar damages the microvascular vessels in the kidneys.  This affects your kidney’s ability  to regulate excretion of harmful wastes among other important things that healthy kidneys do.

  1. Sugar causes high blood pressure.

Most people blame salt for high blood pressure but in fact sugar is more strongly associated with hypertension.

  1. Sugar promotes acne.

When you eat too much sugar more oil is produced on your face leading to acne.

  1. Sugar can affect fertility.

Eating too much sugar can cause polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which can lead to infertility.

  1. Sugar can cause a drop in libido in men.

Guys!  Sugar can affect the ability for blood flow and cause nerve and hormone damage.  These are common causes in erectile dysfunction (ED).

Sugar Is Sugar Is Sugar

The processed food companies are just as bad as big tobacco used to be.  They’re producing and promoting a product that they know does extreme damage and may even cause death and their only concern is making more money.  They’ll put a healthy spin on sugar by naming it cane sugar, natural sugar, agave nectre or whatever.  In the end your body reacts exactly the same to any source of processed sugar.  Get your sugar from your fruit and treat the processed foods like the poison they are.  It’s time to take control and get healthy!

How To Recover From A Sugar Binge

Certain holidays such as Easter tend to be filled with sugary treats.  It’s fine to indulge once in a while but you usually pay for it the next day.  Here are some steps to help you recover from a sugar binge.

  1. Don’t beat yourself up.

You’ll probably feel like crap the next day and that’s probably punishment enough.  It won’t do you any good to beat yourself up over something that happened yesterday.  Keep in mind that it’s not what you do on one occasion, it’s what you do the majority of the time that matters.

  1. Don’t try to undo what you did by not eating the next day.

You might be tempted to not eat the next day to make up for the calories you had from all the sugar.  Never do this!  Your blood sugar spiked when you consumed the sugar and if you starve yourself the next day your blood sugar will crash.  This not only feels bad but can do damage.  Instead you want to stabilize your blood sugar by eating protein, healthy fats and food with fibre such as fruits and vegetables.  Your body needs that healthy food to help it recover.

  1. Drink lots of water.

After a sugar binge your body is left dehydrated and acidic.  Drink lots of water and also try drinking water with some fresh squeezed lemon juice.  The lemon has an alkalizing effect which will help bring your body back into balance.  You can also try drinking a green juice for the same effect.

  1. Take magnesium.

Magnesium is essential to help process sugar and most of us are low in magnesium.  It also aids in insomnia, digestion and mood.

  1. Get rid of the bloat.

A sugar binge can leave you bloated because the sugar disrupts the good and bad bacteria balance in our gut.  Make sure to use a good probiotic supplement to help restore balance.  Not all probiotics are the same quality.  I use my favourite shake to make sure I’m getting a healthy dose of high quality probiotics.

Keep Moving Forward

As you work toward improving your health and fitness there will most likely be times that you don’t adhere to your healthy plan.  That’s okay!  That’s part of life!  It happens and all you have to do in order to be successful in reaching your goals is move on and keep your goal close to your heart.

Sugar Is Bad!

Do you LOVE sugar?  I used to have a really bad sugar habit.  When I decided to try cutting sugar out it didn’t take long before my asthma and allergies almost disappeared!  This was a life changing moment for me!  It was one of the things that got me really interested in learning more about nutrition.  Don’t get me wrong, I still crave it, but not as much as I used to.  I still indulge every now and then but I do it knowing that the next day my asthma and allergies are going to bother me.

Sugar is really bad for you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s High Fructose Corn Syrup or cane sugar, when you consume sugar the effects it has on your body are disastrous.

Within the first 20 minutes or so, your blood sugar level spikes as the sugar enters your bloodstream. It arrives there in the form of glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy.  This sudden rise in blood glucose stimulates your pancreas to start pumping out large amounts of insulin.  Insulin is the hormone that helps your cells take in the available glucose.  Some of this glucose is used immediately for energy.  But the excess stored as fat by insulin, to be used later.

The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces.

When you consume sugar your body releases insulin so the sugar can be taken into your cells.  The problem is that these high levels of insulin are not healthy.  This extra insulin in your blood stream signals to your body that you need more glucose, which causes you to crave even more sugar.  Where things really get bad is that  after repeated exposure to high insulin levels, your cells begin to become insulin resistant, which is a precursor to diabetes.  When your cells no longer respond properly to insulin, the sugar in your blood stays in your blood.  This is what is known as a ‘high blood sugar level.’

When the sugar stays in your blood and doesn’t get into your cells you have no way of accessing the energy from the sugar.  Symptoms of this are feeling weak and tired, and having trouble concentrating.  Chronic high blood sugar leads to widespread damage in your body.  It causes inflammation which will exacerbate such things as arthritis, asthma, allergies, heart disease and your organs begin aging at a faster rate.  It also results in you being more susceptible to viruses and infections.

For the few minutes of pleasure you get from eating sugar, are the consequences really worth it?

Replace sugary snacks with these healthy alternatives.

You don’t want to feel deprived so here are some great alternatives to your sugary snacks:

  • Dried fruit (eat with a protein such as nuts)
  • Very dark chocolate (look for something that’s at least 70%)
  • Fresh fruit (add some to yogurt or cottage cheese so you get some extra protein)

When you just have to have it!

If you just can’t help yourself and you need a sugar fix, save it for right after your workout – your muscles will use up the majority of it right away.  This doesn’t mean you should go on sugar binges after your workouts, it just means that you need to be realistic and know that every once in a while you’re going to need to indulge and after a good workout is the best time to do it to minimize damage 😉