The Low-Down on Your Diet’s Worst Offender
Don’t you love it when a documentary like Fed Up comes out and gets you to see things with a whole new perspective? Sugar is indeed getting a bad rap lately, and I think it’s all for good reason. In fact, I’d argue that it’s probably the most important thing to remove from your diet.
Now when I say sugar, I’m really referring to refined sugar or processed sugar. So we’re talking about the stuff that’s added to food, not the kind that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables.
With all this in mind let’s use these 7 deadly truths about sugar to take our knowledge of food to the next level. Knowing more about hidden sugars and how to eliminate them from your diet could make a pretty massive impact on your waistline and overall health.
7 Serious Reasons to Remove Sugar from Your Diet
- Refined Sugar Isn’t So Simple
The first truth about sugar is that it’s actually made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Table sugar, the white stuff that’s added to food, is called sucrose, but it’s essentially this combination of glucose and fructose. The problem is that your body processes these 2 ingredients very differently, which can have a number of side effects that I’ll explain below.
- Fructose is Basically Fat
This isn’t entirely true, but unlike glucose which is used by our cells for energy, fructose gets transferred to the liver. Once there, some of it is stored for energy while the rest gets turned into fat. With too much sugar in your diet, you end up with a lot of extra fat that never gets burned off.
- Fructose is Toxic for the Liver
New research is showing that too much fructose in your diet is linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease, fatty-liver disease, obesity, and insulin resistance. Think about all the sugars hidden in cereals, sauces, and almost anything you buy that is in some way processed
- It’s Worthless Without the Fiber
Processed sugar is derived from plants, but everything good from the plant (like the fiber) has been removed. This not only makes it of no nutritional value, but it also allows the sugar to be absorbed by your body too quickly. Fiber would normally slow down the process and help stabilize blood glucose levels, which is why some natural fruits in your diet are okay.
- Calorie Count and GI are Flawed
When it comes to processed sugar, you should really just pay less attention to the calorie count and glycemic index. The problem is that refined sugars are included in the carbohydrate category, but not all carbs are created equally. Table sugar is a simple carbohydrate and is digested very differently from complex or complex fibrous carbohydrates. So you need to worry a lot more about the actual ingredients.
- Sugar is Addictive
Research in the last couple of years is pretty clear – sugar is addictive. And it’s not just a little addictive, but it seems to be as addictive as drugs like heroin and cocaine. It affects the same pleasure centers in your brain as some of these harder drugs, which is why you can actually experience a form of withdrawal when you remove sugar from your diet.
- “Natural” Sugar is Misleading
It’s true that fructose occurs naturally in fruits, veggies, and even nuts, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you once it’s separated and processed. You’ve probably heard that sugar substitutes like agave nectar and honey are good for you, right? Think again. They’re pretty much as bad as high-fructose corn syrup when it comes to their actual effect on the body. Molasses is probably the best option when it comes to these alternatives to table sugar, but they should all be avoided in the end.
How to Cut Out Sugar Once and For All…
When it comes to actually doing it, cutting out sugar is more of a psychological challenge than it is a physical one. In the beginning, you might feel irritable and tired, so you really have to work through that early phase by making sure you have balanced complex carbs like yams, whole grains, beans, legumes, or brown/wild rice in your diet to prevent you from feeling like you need several coffees to get you through the day.
To do it right, check out my article on How to Quit Sugar in 30 Days. And for more tips on how to tackle the cravings, read these 7 Tricks to Ditch Sugar Cravings.
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