So you probably know sugar is basically the devil but still find some sort of excuse in the name of “balance” to still keep it in your diet. “I mean, it’s not like I’m adding actual sugar to my foods!” you justify.
Well I don’t think I’d be the first to tell you that sugar is practically in everything in the supermarket aisles. That chai latte mix, the salad dressing, the flavored yogurt, the marinara sauce, the granola bars.. All contain sugar. And it adds up.
Sugar comes in many names today, from “evaporated cane juice” to “brown rice syrup” so it fits in with the healthy community. Sorry to say it, but it’s basically the exact same thing to your body. Yes it may have a slight nutritional advantage but it’s still going to spike up your insulin levels, feed your Candida and have a host of other side-effects I’m going to discuss below. Sugar, you still can’t sit with us.
Now we even though we are educated about the dangers of sugar and most people are careful not to add any to their coffee, we still are consuming more than ever. In fact, average American consumes 16% of their daily caloric intake just from added sugars, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And I’m not talking about the natural sugars found in fruit but the sneaky sources of sugar I mentioned above, plus the biggest culprit- high fructose corn syrup.
We all know the USDA is pretty lax about their nutritional guidelines (umm food pyramid anyone? Thanks for that obesity epidemic!) but even their criteria is not being met. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons, or about 25 grams, of added sugars per day for women, and nine teaspoons, or about 36 grams, for men. To put that in perspective, more than 70 percent of Americans eat at least 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Similarly, the World Health Organization has recommended we consume no more than 5% of our daily calories from sugar per day, but my recommendation- you don’t need any. Humans have lived for thousands of years without sugar and it was just introduced into our diets in the past few hundred years, making us hooked. In fact, countless studies show our health deteriorates as our sugar consumption increases.
Here are just ten of the countless explanations of why sugar needs to go.. Like now. Like 10 minutes ago. Like out of your pantry and life forever. You can thank me later when you’re vibrating so high you won’t know why you didn’t do this sooner.
1. Weight Gain
It’s nothing new- everyone knows that ice cream, cookies and cake pile on those extra pounds. But even those seemingly “healthy” foods you’re eating to lose weight, like protein bars, vegan snacks and yogurt may be packed with more sugar per serving than you need per day. Read the labels, people!
Eating too much sugar can alter the environment in your gut and encourage pathogens like Candida albicans to grow (check out my free Killing Your Candida Webinar!). Throwing off the important balance of microorganisms in your gut flora can affect your digestion and your immune system, causing bloating, yeast infections, chronic illness and so much more stuff you don’t want to be dealing with.
3. The Blues
After the sugar rush that comes with sugar consumption, the body releases stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which cause increased stress levels and lead to long-term health issues if elevated for long periods of time. Some studies have also shown that increased sugar consumption can be linked to depression, as well. So a little bit of candy everyday isn’t making your happier, it’s actually making you sadder.
4. Bloody gums and tooth decay
Not only is sugar consumption linked to tooth decay, this saccharine ingredient can also contribute to gum disease. If your gums bleed every time you floss, chances are there is too much sugar in your diet (and you need to floss!)
5. High Insulin levels
Too much sugar raises your insulin levels, causing your smooth muscle cells to increase and artery walls to become tense. This causes weight-gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and even heart disease/ stroke. Even if you’re young and not thinking about that stuff, remember, disease doesn’t happen overnight but from long-term dis-ease with your health!
6. Premature Wrinkles
Our skin is the mirror to our health. If you want that mirror to be clean and clear, ditch the sugar. Glucose in the bloodstream attaches to amino acids that create free radical damage to your collagen and skin elasticity. We can’t fight age, but we can fight the wrinkles and sagging skin that is “supposed” to come with it. My own grandmother is 90-years-old without a single wrinkle and her secret– no sugar!
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarion Syndrome) causes increased insulin levels, which cause irregular periods, increased hair growth and inability to lose weight. Cutting sugar out of your diet can treat PCOS, helping regulate your periods and shed those stubborn pounds.
9. Low Chromium Levels causing Cravings
A whopping 90% of Americans do not get enough Chromium. In fact, 90% probably don’t know what it is. Chromium is as a trace mineral known for balancing blood sugar levels in the body, so if you don’t have enough, your blood sugar levels can go wack, making you crave more sugar. Chromium is negatively affected by increased sugar consumption so if you are eating too much sugar, it can’t do its job! The less sugar you eat= the less sugar you will crave. It’s like pulling a bandaid and will get easier with time.
10. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Modern research has shown us that too much fructose (not the type found in fruits but rather that found in high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar) can damage the liver, causing fat globules to build up around the liver and potentially lead to fatty liver disease. When fructose enters the liver, it causes a series of complex chemical transformations. One remarkable change is that the liver uses fructose, a carbohydrate, to create fat, in a process called lipogenesis. Give the liver enough fructose, and tiny fat droplets begin to accumulate in liver cells. This buildup is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, because it looks just like what happens in the livers of people who drink too much alcohol.
10 Unstable Blood Glucose
Experiencing constant fatigue or mood swings? These highs and lows are often caused by the swings in blood glucose that occur when sugar intake is too high. People who do not excessively consume sugar have significantly fewer sweet cravings and significantly higher control of their behavior and cognition. Instead of reaching for sugar to keep you awake in the afternoon, have some healthy fats instead like nuts or avocado, which will actually make you more alert!
So now that I just burst your sugar-bubble, let me build it back up. You can still eat things that taste sweet, just not sugar!
Super Sweet Alternatives
My favorite sweetener is organic, liquid stevia because it is plant-based (made of a cactus) and has NO impact on our blood sugar levels! A little bit goes a long way and it is a slightly acquired taste but I promise you it will change your life.
Birchwood xylitol is also an amazing option, especially for baking, because it looks and tastes almost identical to sugar, but is actually made from birchwood and has no impact on our blood sugar levels as well!
There are also natural sources of sugar such as raw honey, coconut sugar and date sugar, which you could use to sweetened a recipe. These have nutritional benefits and are made from actual real foods, so they’re much better for your body than a sugar that is completely nutritionally stripped. I often just use a banana to sweeten up recipes as well!
It’s super easy to live your life sugar-free! I carry my Stevia with my everywhere I go so I am by no means tempted to eat something sugar-rich just to get that taste in.
If you are constantly craving sweet foods– look within! It’s a sign that your body is off balance. You are probably lacking in healthy fats or protein, so eat more of that instead and watch your sugar cravings disappear.
Remember, it takes 10-14 days for your taste buds to redevelop so even if you are a sugar-addict, you CAN entirely change your cravings just by not feeding them!
LIFE is sweet- you don’t need sugar!
Stevia, spice and everything nice,