Sugar is one of the more addictive foods that is prevalent in our western diets, and you may not even realise that you have an addiction to this sweet ingredient! If you can’t imagine going without that spoonful of sugar in your morning coffee, or having that tub of chocolate ice cream for dessert, then it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship with sugar!
It is possible to live a life free from sugar, and the potential health benefits of doing so are not to be ignored.
The Benefits of Going Sugar-Free
There are many great benefits to a diet free from sugar. Once you have cleansed your body of sugar, you will likely feel lighter at the beginning, with a refreshed level of energy. Your awareness of your own willpower could also become more evident, as you prove to yourself that you control the food that you put into your body - it does not control you! You may also find that you feel more inclined to eat naturally sweet things, such as fruit. This is because your body will be looking to get that sweet kick somewhere else!
When you cut sugar out of your life you will certainly soon notice how much of it there is in everything! From the packaged and processed foods that you get at the supermarket, to the takeaway meals that you order to your door, the sugar content can often be surprising! When you make an effort to cut sugar out of your diet, you will also often find that you pay closer attention to the ingredients in everything that you eat, which helps you to make all-round healthier choices!
Sugar contains no nutrients, no healthy fats and no beneficial enzymes! Beyond the sweet taste, there is absolutely no benefit to consuming it! However, as a nation it is fair to say that we are hooked, and although this is partially the fault of those food manufacturers who add it in abundance to the foods that we eat, we are also of course to blame as well! Only when we take responsibility for our own eating habits can we come closer to being fully responsible for our own health and wellness!
So, why is sugar so harmful to the body?
First of all, sugar can be extremely detrimental to the health of the teeth. It is estimated that sugar-damaged teeth earn the dental industry over $54 billion each your in the United States.
Eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and cause cavities to develop. Your saliva is constantly working to protect the teeth against sugar and acids that seek to cause harm! There are minerals in your saliva, such as calcium and phosphates, that enable your saliva to do this. However, there is only so much that your saliva can do to protect your teeth against sugar, especially if you are eating too much!
When sugar is present it can actually deprive the body of essential minerals. It can wreak havoc with the hormones, and actually lead to hormonal imbalances in the body. It has been estimated that Americans consume, on average, around 160 pounds of sugar every year! When we break this down to daily intake, this means that sugar accounts for approximately 17% of daily calories.
When people talk about the adverse effects of eating too much sugar, there is often a reference to how fruit also contains high levels of natural sugars. Although this is true, there is much evidence to suggest that the high content of fibre in fruit slows the release of the naturally occurring fructose. This means that eating fruit does not cause the same issues in the body as consuming refined sugar does.
Sugar is a known cause of weight gain, and carrying additional weight can lead to a huge number of adverse health conditions. Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are two such serious diseases that can be caused, and exacerbated, by weight gain.
When sugar enters the body, the majority of the fructose will be metabolized by the liver. Once in the liver it will be converted into fat, and before long it will be secreted into the blood stream.
Ending Your Relationship With Sugar
Now that you know how harmful refined sugar is, it is time to make a decision as to whether you want to continue consuming it. The sensible choice is of course to eradicate it from your life entirely, or at the very least to only include it in moderation.
Opting for whole foods in their natural form is the best way to ensure sugar doesn’t make its way into your food. Cooking or preparing the majority of your meals at home is a great way to know what you are putting into your body.