January 24, 2017

Sugar: Sweet White Poison

by Amanda Box, N.D.

We all have different preferences and tastes when it comes to food.  However, in nearly every culture and every country around the world, we share a love (or rather an addiction) in common.  Sugar!  Whether you are in Paris gazing into their sweet shops or on a bustling street in Greece admiring their beautiful choices of baklava, you can find delicious desserts almost anywhere!  Sugary foods make us happy.  Unfortunately, they can do much more than just temporarily lift our mood.

We all know that eating those delicious sweet candies and desserts can expand our waistline. However, sweets are the awful culprit behind other many diseases and ailments.   When you indulge your sweet tooth too often, you risk the following health conditions and diseases:

  • breaking up with sugarDiabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Candida
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Early aging
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • And much more

The Sugar Effect

I believe sugar, in its most refined form, is one of the most toxic things you can put into your body.  And unfortunately, most people aren’t just indulging in sweets once in awhile.  They are bombarding their bodies with this addictive white poison day after day, all throughout the day! From our coffee drinks to a bottle of ketchup, you will find some form of sugar in most commercial and prepackaged foods. It is really no surprise because sugar is in nearly everything — especially here in the United States. Even a typical serving of infant formula has the sugar equivalent of a can of soda!

Americans really do seem to like their sugar treats more than most other countries and nationalities. I remember when my friend from England came to visit.  She kept mentioning how sickeningly sweet our foods were.  For most of us, our taste buds have adapted to the increasingly sweet tasting foods we eat. Then, it takes more and more sugar for us to become satisfied.  Seriously, it is no wonder we have an obesity epidemic!

Honestly, most people have no idea how bad sugar really is.  Especially if they are under the belief that a calorie is a calorie no matter what the food is.  I’ve known people who count calories and are extremely strict with their eating.  However, most of what they eat throughout the day is packed with sugar and carbohydrates.  They have absolutely no idea why they aren’t losing weight and why they feel so terrible.  They expect to lose weight and feel great because they are restricting calories.  However, sugar’s ability to cause weight gain and health problems goes beyond just calories.  What sugar does to your blood sugar and insulin level is what actually contributes to weight gain health issues.

When we eat foods on a regular basis that contain a lot of sugar, this causes a continual spike in blood sugar, which in turn causes a rise in insulin.  The more frequently that the body has to release insulin to control blood sugar levels, the less responsive cells become to insulin.  The result is called insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance takes place when the body’s cells turn off receptor sites and ignore insulin’s messages.  When this happens, both insulin and blood sugar levels remain high.  Many doctors also call this pre-diabetes, because without a change, diabetes is the likely result.

The reason people gain weight during insulin resistance is because sugar circulating in the blood that is not used by the cells as energy is stored as fat.  This is why sugar is the worst thing you can eat if you want to lose weight.  Calorie restriction or not, you will still store fat if you are regularly consuming sugary foods.

love sugarMaybe you are now wondering if you’re struggling with insulin resistance.  Ask yourself these questions below. If your answer is yes to even one of these questions, you may have insulin resistance.

  • Are you heaviest around your midsection, otherwise known as the spare tire?
  • Do you have high triglycerides and/or cholesterol?
  • Do you crave sweets?
  • Do you have a fasting blood sugar level of 100 or above?

Insulin resistance isn’t something you want to mess around with; it can only lead to something much worse. It isn’t just about losing weight.  It is about avoiding potential life threatening diseases like diabetes and heart disease!

Breaking the Sugar Habit

Quitting sugar can be a difficult task. However, eliminating sugar from your diet is worth the effort!  Not only does sugar create the perfect environment for potential diseases, but it is completely void of nutrition!  Other than the taste in leaves on your tongue, there is absolutely no benefit when it comes to consuming sugar.

I recommend quitting sugar by going on a complete sugar fast.  Though this is extremely difficult to do, especially in the beginning, avoiding sugar can reset your body so you don’t even crave sweet foods anymore.  Some call it a sugar detox.  In reality, “detox” is appropriate, as sugar is said to be more addictive than cocaine!

It usually takes around a month for your body to reset and balance out, once it’s cleared of excess sugar consumption.  So be sure and pick a time when you won’t be tempted by sugar very often.  The holiday’s would not be the most ideal time to begin you sugar fast!

When you eliminate sugar from your diet, the important thing is to read labels and eliminate sugar in all forms!  Sugar can “hide” under many other names and forms including:

  • giving up sugarCorn Syrup (high fructose corn syrup)
  • Honey
  • Agave Nectar
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Glucose syrup
  • Fruits (berries are the only exception)
  • Refined Carbohydrates (white potatoes, white flour, etc)

As you can see, even the “healthier” forms of sugar like honey and fruits are not allowed during a sugar detox.  They can be added back in moderation later.  However, when you struggle with sugar addiction, your body will crave sugar so bad that you may end up turning to natural sugar sources for the sugar rush you crave.  Try to resist! You must teach your body how to handle life without any sugar spikes. The sugar detox is about going cold turkey!

Also remember that refined carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body.  Therefore, it is best to avoid any form of carbohydrates while on the sugar fast.  Limit your overall carbs. If you do eat some carbohydrates like a piece of whole grain toast, have peanut butter, almond butter, or some other form of healthy fat with it.  Eating healthy fat with carbohydrates slows the spike in blood sugar.  Coconut oil is a nice healthy fat, as well, and would make a great addition to your sugar cleansing diet.

I’m sure you’re wondering if there is anything you can add to your sugar detox diet to “sweeten” things up.  Artificial sweeteners are a huge “no-no.”  In fact, they are just as bad or even worse than sugar!  These chemical based sweeteners should be avoided like the plague, no matter how bad you may be craving something sweet.

There is one healthy alternative you can use.  It is a plant-based sweetener called stevia.  It has no effect on blood sugar levels and even has medicinal properties, like lowering blood pressure!  However, I still recommend using it in moderation during your sugar detox.  Why? Because not tasting sweet food all the time is important to learn. If you dowse everything with stevia, then you will always have a palette for something sweet to the taste. Part of the purpose of a sugar detox is training your tongue to get used to having food that is unsweetened.

Treat Yourself To A Life Without Sugar

As a former sugar addict, I can honestly say that I rarely eat sweets anymore.  And if I do indulge in dessert or sugary foods, I can usually only take a few bites before I am satisfied.  I completely cut sugar out of my life and did a sugar detox. It was insanely difficult the first three days.  My body was crying out for something sweet.  But, I pushed through and I have never regretted it!  You won’t regret it either.  You’ll never feel better! The benefits of giving up sugar are too numerous to count.  Say goodbye to ADD. Say goodbye to extra weight. Say goodbye to feeling tired all the time. Awaken your potential for greater focus and energy by eliminating that sweet white poison, called sugar, from your diet.

Is sugar messing up your life?

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Amanda Box

Amanda Box is a Doctor of Naturopathy and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 10 years and currently has a Naturopathic consulting practice in Sioux Falls, SD.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic doctor to turn to for your personal needs, Dr. Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

Got a Sweet Tooth?

This One’s For Your Sweet Tooth

Your sweet tooth has gotten you into lots of trouble over the years.

All those diets you abandoned for a slice of cake, all the extra calories you took in ‘just to have a taste of something sweet‘ before bed.

Where has it gotten you?

Into pants that are another size larger. Into your doctor’s office for another lecture. Into a body that you no longer enjoy.

Yes, sweet treats sure are tempting, but the life-long repercussions far outweigh the momentary pleasure.

To help you conquer your sweet tooth, I’ve identified the 5 sweet traps you should avoid, as well as a healthy substitute for each.

Sweet Trap #1: Candy

Nothing gets refined sugar circulating through your body quicker than a fistful of candy—and if you’re in the habit of eating candy daily then your body will crave it.

Candy has virtually no nutritional value, other than caloric energy, and will quickly end up stored on your body in the form of unwanted, annoying fat.

Try This: Swap your sickly-sweet candy out for a handful of unsalted nuts, a few pieces of unsweetened, dried fruit, or a small square of very dark chocolate (at least 72% cocoa content).

Sweet Trap #2: Baked Goods

Cake, cookies, brownies, pastries, donuts, and pies are popular vehicles for sugar consumption and satisfying your sweet tooth. While these may not taste as sweet as candy, the combination of refined sugar and white flour will spike your blood sugar just the same.

Very much like candy, regularly eating baked goods may become a habit. Break yourself of this and you’ll find the number on your scale going down rather than up.

Try This: Put down the cookie and reach for a piece of fresh, seasonal fruit. Fruit is nature’s candy, and is every bit as blissful as a slice of cake. Serving a beautiful fruit platter to guests can be as delightful as any baked treat.

Sweet Trap #3: Ice Cream

Nothing makes you feel as happy and carefree as a bowl of creamy ice cream…until that ice cream makes its permanent home on your waist. Very much like candy, ice cream has few nutritional benefits.

Try This: Let’s face it, cold, creamy and sweet makes a delicious combination. Create a healthy protein-packed ice cream with the recipe below.

Sweet Trap #4: Soda Pop

A regular can of soda pop contains the equivalent of 10 packets of sugar. That’s more sugar than you should consume in a week’s time!

Soda pop is something that you get into the habit of drinking, and do without thinking. The good news is that a craving habit can be broken and then replaced with something healthier.

Try This: Take soda pop out of your diet. Period. There are plenty of other, healthier, beverages available to you. Try the recipes for Spa Water below.

Sweet Trap #5: Blended Drinks

Smoothies, blended coffee drinks and milkshakes are all tempting sweet tooth treats, especially in hot summer months. Don’t give in to the temptation!

These items are even more deadly than most treats since they are consumed through a straw and don’t make you feel full. Let me assure you that even though you don’t feel full, like you would after a piece of cake, you’re still taking in a boatload of sugary calories.

Try This: Make your own healthy blended drinks at home by using natural sweeteners like stevia, or simply by using fruit. Take the ice cream recipe below, add non-fat milk and mix in the blender for a high protein milkshake.

Eliminating refined sugar from your diet will do so much for your health, as well as your weight.

A great thing to remember is that once you’ve fallen out of the habit of eating sugar, your body will no longer crave it.

This means that each day spent in discipline will bring you closer to the day that sugar no longer has a hold over you. Imagine how much slimmer and healthier you will be!

Eating healthy is half of the battle when it comes to fitness and wellness. The other, equally important, side is maintaining a regular, challenging exercise program.

For an exercise program to be challenging it must always be changing. That’s why my workouts are never the same.

Beyond Soda

You know that soda pop isn’t good for you…and yet you still drink it. I understand that plain water gets boring – especially when you’re having a party or gathering.

Use the recipes for “Spa Water” below and quickly turn plain water into an exciting and refreshing treat without added sugar or chemicals:

  • Citrus: Slice an orange, lemon, and lime into a large pitcher of water. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Raspberry Lime: Slice a lime into a large pitcher of water, add a handful of raspberries. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Strawberry Basil: Slice 10 strawberries into a large pitcher of water, add 5 leaves of basil. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Watermelon Rosemary: Place 1/2 cup of small watermelon chunks into a large pitcher of water, add two sprigs of rosemary. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.
  • Pineapple Mint: Place 1/2 cup of small pineapple chunks into a large pitcher of water, add 15 mint leaves. Add ice, allow to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Guilt-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

Here’s a recipe that allows you to indulge in something sweet, cold and creamy without the craving for a sugar rush. Non-fat Greek yogurt is packed with protein, which makes this delicious snack even more beneficial for your body. Feel free to add Stevia In The Raw to increase the sweetness as described below.

Here’s what you need…

  • 20 organic strawberries
  • 2 cups non fat Greek yogurt
  • optional *1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw*
  1. Wash and hull the strawberries. Mix in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add yogurt (and Stevia In The Raw, if using) and blend well.
  3. Pour into an ice cream maker and run until yogurt is frozen and creamy.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 87 calories, 0g fat, 53mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 13g protein.  Servings: 4

Motivate your friends, family and co-workers who have a sweet tooth of their own! Use the “comment” box below for healthy eating tips of your own or share these Sweet Traps article with your friends.

 

Nordine Zouareg is a former Mr. Universe, an International Fitness Coach, Speaker and Author of the book Mind Over Body: The Key to Lasting Weight Loss is All in Your Head! He offers world-class advice on health and fitness, inner balance and stress management, and achieving one’s full potential the inner keys to extraordinary performance. An inspiring message of hope and achievement, based on his own extraordinary story. For more information, visit: www.NordineZ.com

Candida and Weight Loss

Candida overgrowth can be a significant barrier to weight loss. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast in the intestinal tract, and is vital for healthy digestion. However, when Candida overgrowth occurs, it can create problems, both with digestive function (gas, bloating etc) and more systemically with fatigue, headaches, brain fog and so on.

In looking at the association between Candida and weight gain, the first thing we need to examine is the fuel source for yeast (and subsequently Candida). Yeast feeds off sugar – that is its preferred fuel source. Subsequently an individual with a hefty yeast overgrowth is going to crave sugars and carbs, as that is what the yeast is craving.

Part of the dilemma is that the sugar/carb phenomenon is a catch-22. Yeast feeds off sugar, so a diet high in sugars and carbs will perpetuate Candida overgrowth; and yet Candida overgrowth will set of cravings for more sugars and carbs. See how this might be a hard cycle to break?

Furthermore, yeast will crave not only sugar, but more yeast. What is alcohol? Sugar and yeast. And a bunch of empty calories. I know many individuals who crave wine or beer – not because they have a drinking problem – but because they have a yeast overgrowth and they’re predisposed to that because of it. High yeast foods can be a trigger also – vinegars, mushrooms, breads to name just a few.

Anti-fungal treatment can often help curb cravings for sugars, carbs and alcohol, and these are three things that will be very helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Also, treating yeast overgrowth can help reduce intestinal bloating which makes one more feel more rotund, even if it’s not true body fat. Addressing yeast overgrowth will also boost energy levels making exercise a more viable and appealing proposition.

Candida overgrowth also compromises proper absorption of nutrients. It is associated with “leaky gut,” which means the gap between the intestinal cells widens. This then leads to nutrients not being well absorbed, as well as larger-than-normal food molecules escaping into the blood stream triggering immune reactions and inflammation.

Addressing Candida overgrowth can be done through diet, although even the most rigid anti-Candida diets are rarely enough to eradicate the problem. The more balanced option is moderate dietary modifications, coupled with anti-fungal remedies, which can range from herbal medicines all the way through to strong prescription medicines. Many people find that once yeast overgrowth is addressed, cravings for sugars and carbs are reduced and weight loss is much easier.

 

Nicola McFadzean, ND is the founder and Medical Director of RestorMedicine, http://restormedicine.com. She practices holistic medicine specializing in Lyme disease, hormone balancing, autistic-spectrum disorders, pre-conception health care and digestive disorders.

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