With the Christmas season upon us, it is likely we are sharing recipes and planning for dinners with friends and family. It is the perfect time to indulge in a sugar extravaganza – with mouth-watering cakes and deserts and give in to that sugar craving.
WHAT?! And undo the year-long effort of staying healthy and sugar-free?
This blog post is a reminder that sugar is ruining your health. And the further you stay from that first bite, the better it will be.
This blog post will open your eyes to sugar’s true agenda and reveal the way it works through the body.
Even so, with a large number of foods containing ‘hidden’ sugar, it is difficult and naturally confusing to keep away from all of them. So, I give you an idea of how to decide and pick the right foods.
There are always healthier options.
And we can start here:
1. Which sugar to avoid and why?
Sucrose is at the heart of the problem. And the biggest source of Sucrose in our diet is table sugar.
Sucrose hides in processed and packaged foods, and foods we know as junk foods. Cookies, crackers, tomato sauce and even the most unlikely salted foods have a high content of sugar in them. Big food organizations use sugar in their foods to entice our taste buds. And here they are extremely potent, triggering addictive behaviours. I have explained the addiction to sugar from junk foods in an earlier blog.
Interestingly, none of our bodily processes require the bursts of high energy that sucrose provides. And all that excess energy simply accumulates as fat in our body.
2. The structure of sugar
The way sucrose is metabolized in our body is decidedly different from the way other sugars are processed. And the main reason for this is the chemical structure of the sugar.
Sucrose is a simple sugar or monosaccharide (as it is called). This sugar is chemically made up of a single ring of carbon attached to an oxygen molecule. To release energy from this simple sugar the digestive processes ensure that the bond between the carbon ring and oxygen is broken. For larger more complex sugars or polysaccharides, breaking these bonds requires considerable energy.
The complex sugars are therefore better for the body, as the carbon rings are broken in time and the energy is released systematically. With simple sugars, on the other hand, energy release is instantaneous causing momentary spiking of our blood sugar levels.
3. The refining process
There are natural sugars found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Even table sugar is extracted from sugar cane. Beetroots, tomatoes, apples, bananas and mangoes are rich in natural sugar.
When we consume an apple or banana, we take in the sugar as well as the cellulose and fibre material that the food contains. In a number of cases, the whole foods also contain plant enzymes that are beneficial to our digestive process. This way the whole foods are a package deal, delivering energy as well as other essential material to our body.
The refining journey that sugar cane undertakes to become table sugar, is one where the sweetness is concentrated, the energy and calories are extracted, and the nutrients and fibre materials are discarded. When we consume sugar in this form, it becomes detrimental to our health. It wreaks havoc, causing us to put on weight, and become prone to diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and even cancer. (This link is to a blog post that lists 141 reasons how sugar is ruining your health.)
Naturally, it is hard to avoid sugar altogether. It is far easier to consider healthier alternatives. Whole foods instead of fruit juice and refined sugar, lesser processed more home cooked meals, and regular exercise. These methods are faultless. Further, go through a detox program once in six months. This is highly recommended to help cleanse your system of all remnant sugar and toxins.