Benefits of Reducing Sugars
An estimated 275 Australians develop diabetes every day. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is classified as a lifestyle disease which is impacted by environmental factors. It is associated with the individuals' diet and activity level. The population who are most at risk are those who adopt a sedentary lifestyle at a young age. Those with pre-diabetes were 10-20 times more likely to develop diabetes than were those with normal blood glucose levels. (Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study,2015)
With more and more children sitting in front of screens consuming high sugar foods and drinks, it looks like these figures are only going to get higher! But diabetes isn’t the only disease that correlates with high blood sugar levels and dietary habits.
In my 40’s I developed chronic fatigue, along with several other symptoms including bleeding gums, mood swings and digestive issues. Even though I wasn’t a sugar lover and would describe myself as having a savory tooth, when I really looked into what I was eating (with a food diary) I discovered that I was taking in way too many sugars. I discovered I had an overgrowth of yeast (Candida Albicans) and Leaky Gut Syndrome.
My stress levels were high, which I combated with wine (a huge sugar). I loved cheese and yoghurt taking in large daily amounts, (more sugars, in the form of lactose). Thinking I was being healthy I ate fruit and drank fruit juices, you guessed it (more sugar, in the form of fructose). In fact, any food that ends in ‘ose’ (glucose), will contain sugar in some form. Being fairly health conscious, I knew not to intake chemical sugar substitutes. Always check food labels for hidden sugars.
Giving up sugar was the best thing I ever did for my health. Even though I wasn’t over-weight, if I’d carried on the way I was living I probably would be by now! Food and drinks high in sugar tend to be higher in calories without the nutritional benefits that fill you up and give your body fuel it can use. Experts say sugar – or more specifically, fructose – can encourage fat storage. Sugary foods can also make you hungrier more quickly, due to the changes in blood glucose, so if you are snacking on chocolate, you’re likely to end up eating more throughout the day overall. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for at least 13 types of cancer, including breast, liver and colon cancer.
Reducing sugar can help minimise symptoms of mental health conditions, boost your energy and improve your resilience to stress.
My moods were all over the place, one minute up and the next down, down, down! Sugar sends your energy levels on a roller-coaster. When you eat something sugary, your blood sugar levels spike rapidly, giving you that boost in mood and alertness - then fall shortly after insulin is released into your cells. This big, sudden drop in blood sugar can make you shaky, weak, hungry and moody. Research shows that a high-sugar diet can impair the body’s ability to cope with stress, which can make you more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety. Some studies also suggest a link between the spikes and crashes of blood sugar levels to symptoms of mood disorders such as depression.
Bleeding gums indicate either tooth decay or severe ill health. If you like having bright and shiny pearly whites, cutting back on sugar is an excellent idea. The naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth thrives on sugar. When sugar from food and drink ends up on the surface of your tooth, the bacteria uses the sugar as energy to grow. Over time plaque can build, which eats away at the tooth enamel, encouraging cavities and gum disease.
Blood sugar spikes and falls create inflammation or internal stress in the body, which can lead to breakouts and dull-looking skin. Sugar sucks all the water out of your cells, dehydrating your skin and leading to puffiness and under-eye circles. Choosing a variety of nourishing foods and drinking plenty of water will help you to look and feel fresher and more vibrant.
Better Digestion and Heart Health
Sugar inflames the stomach, ferments in the gut and doesn’t digest efficiently, because it can’t be broken down into nutrients other than simple glucose. When your blood sugar surges, the stomach becomes a toxic place that can cause you discomfort and encourages the growth of yeasts like Candida Albicans which can eat away at the gut lining.
Sugar that doesn’t get used as energy converts into fatty acids that become triglycerides – a type of fat that circulates in your blood. High levels of triglycerides increase your risk of developing heart diseases and stroke, so reducing your sugar intake may help protect you from cardiovascular problems later in life.
Cancers need glucose to grow. Every cell in your body uses blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But cancer cells use about 200 times more than normal cells. Tumors that start in the thin, flat (squamous) cells in your lungs gobble up even more glucose. They need huge amounts of sugar to fuel their growth. In my experience with cancer patients, stopping the intake of sugars along with chemicals in food and in hair and skin care, can halt the tumors
Always seek the advice of a health professional before changing your diet, especially if you have a serious health condition or are on any medications.