If you’ve listen or watched anything on TV or via social media lately you would’ve seen that sugar is finally taking responsibility for so many of the health concerns that affect us these days. Back in the 1970’s fats were getting a bad rep for the increasing number of people becoming overweight and getting various health diseases. This lead the food companies to create foods that are low in fat but high in sugar to compensate for the flavourless foods. It’s no wonder that my generation and the one after me are such sweet tooths and cannot imagine a life without sugar.
There are many different types of sugars including fructose (mainly from fruit), glucose (which you see in lollies) and lactose (seen in dairy products). Each of these sugars are made naturally in fruits and vegetables, however food companies are able to refine and process these natural sugars to make a cheaper form of sugar with no nutrients readily available. These refined sugars are the deadly sugars and are eaten daily in the form of table sugar or found in both sugar foods including fizzy drinks, cereal, fruit juices etc.
Our food may have revolutionised with science and technology but our bodies metabolism takes hundred of thousands of years to change, therefore our bodies do not have the mechanisms or processes inside to be able to eat, digest, and use the food that we as a society are currently consuming.
For a lot of us it’s not our fault. We have been brought up with messages around us that we need to be eating a low fat diet which in turn is a high sugar diet. Growing up we always had at least one 1.5L coke in the fridge at all times along with various soft drink cans in the fridge, with potatoes chips, crackers and biscuits in the cupboard to help ourselves with. This is the normal for so many families, and its also a lot cheaper to be eating these foods making it the ‘better option’ for families.
We are lucky that now that society is beginning to become aware of the consequences of sugar on our health, and looking at serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes and the cause sugar has on these diseases.
So how do we change?
Every little step and every little change counts. There is no way I could cut sugar out of my life completely (I had a cruffin today), and I don’t expect you too either. It’s about making healthy choices on the types of sugar we are eating and how to use sugar as a treat.
Start small with removing that fizzy drink out of the fridges! Buy a nice big bottle of water that you can refill from the tap and keep in the fridge. This is such a cheap way to keep yourself hydrates without having to drink fizzy drink. You can add fruit to your water for flavour such a lemon juice, or buy a no-sugar water flavourer from the supermarket.
Make your own cereal or find a lower sugar option in the supermarket. Alternatively have a ‘paleo big breakfast’ fill of eggs, veggies and bacon.
Eat enough protein and good, healthy, unsaturated fats in each meal and snacks to ensure that your brain and your body is satisfied. Protein and fat allow the body to feel full and satisfied easier and for longer, preventing those sugar cravings or feeling hunger half an hour later.
Treat sugar as it should be and as a treat. What you eat every now and then won’t kill you or make a significant difference. Trust me! Sugar and me do not agree but I still managed to eat a yummy passionfruit cheesecake cruffin today for a treat. Its when we start eating these unhealthy foods every day that it becomes a problem to our health and wellbeing.
What are your small food swaps for sugar?