What does your friendship look like with sugar?
Is sugar your friend or your enemy?
Do you control sugar or does sugar control you?
Do you work alongside sugar or does sugar tell you what to do?
I’m a pretty busy person, so I have a tendency to pick up those energy nut bars. You know those ‘Natural’ ones with a mix of nuts, fruit and chocolate? They’re very conveniently placed everywhere you go now.
It’s great to see those high sugar Cadburys snacks being displayed further and further down the shelves. Wooo to that!
However recently I’ve been looking into how much sugar I eat on a daily basis and would recommend you to do this too! I would consider myself a healthy human, however I was surprised at how much sugar I was consuming.
For example, this particular Natural, Organic Nut Bar I’ve been eating on a daily basis has 4 teaspoons of sugar and I was shocked by the fact it had 5 different sugars in it too! And this was meant to be a health bar!?
However it’s not just WHAT you’re consuming but HOW you’re consuming it too. How you eat can affects your blood sugar levels. A lifestyle that is relentless doesn’t give you enough head space to mindfully consider what foods your body actually needs. Even when they are ‘healthy’ snacks they are still convenience foods full of too many sugars, which aren’t going to make you feel your best.These sugar rides are exhausting us and the last thing we want throughout our busy days!
Now, I’m not suggesting we cut out all sugar, we need some of course! Our cells need glucose to create energy for our bodies. I’m talking about all those added sugars, those pesky little hidden ones with a variety of different names, which have no benefit to you!
There’s about 75 different names for sugar which manufacturing companies use, here are some of the more common ones to look out for…
However keep in mind eating an excess of good or bad sugar also ramps up our calorie intake, which can create havoc when regulating our blood sugar levels, our appetite hormones and not forgetting the increased chance of unhealthy fat storage.
EXCESS SUGAR FAILS TO TURN OFF OUR HUNGER MECHANISM
Understanding how sugar affects you on a daily basis and shifting your diet as necessary is so important to improving and optimising your health.
When our blood sugar levels are imbalanced, the digestive track becomes inflamed causing leaky gut (perforated gut lining), it ruins our gut flora, has an affect on our hormones, and compromises our white blood cells ability to remove toxins from the body leading to further inflammation.
SUGAR CAN CAUSE INFLAMMATION WITHIN 30 MINUTES OF EATING IT AND UP TO 5 HOURS.
So how much does the body actually need to function properly?
At the moment the UK government health guideline states on average we consume 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. The NHS has stated,
‘The new advice says children aged 11 or over and adults should consume no more than seven teaspoons of added sugar a day – 30g, equal to less than a single can of Coca-Cola, which contains 39g.’
Which means as a population we are massively over consuming sugar. Not to mention, the huge majority of the population leading stationary lifestyles, meaning we are sitting on this unwanted and unnecessary sugar, leading us further down the rabbit hole.
So, I want to help you build you awareness of how much sugar you are consuming and ONE really effective way you can help yourself right now.
Choose 1 day and throughout take notes of the following..
- What foods you ate
- What time you ate it
- Total sugar content in grams from it’s label or give it a google
- At the end of the day, add up your total grams and convert it into number of teaspoons. 4.2 grams = 1 teaspoon sugar
As mentioned above it’s recommended to have approximately 7 teaspoons a day.
This exercise will also help you realise how much you’re consuming, which times of the day you’re craving sugar and potentially other foods too!
So how can we manage this?
Crowding out has been an ongoing method of mine to knock out these sugary cravings and effortlessly bring in healthier options. Something you can easily implement into your own life too.
This method literally involves crowding out unhealthy foods with better choices. By eating and drinking foods that are good for you, you’ll naturally have less room and desire for unhealthy foods. Not forgetting, your body will be loving absorbing all those different health boosting nutrients and exciting flavours!
Here are my top go-tos I consume to crowd out sugary foods. Add some or all of them to your shopping list ready!
- Nuts (Walnuts, Pecans, Brazil)
- Seeds (Hemp, Sunflower, Linseeds, Pumpkin)
- Healthy Fats (Olive Oils, Macadamias, Avocados)
- Leafy greens (Mixture! Kale, Spinach, Rocket, Cavolo Nero)
- Sweet veggies (Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrots)
- Larger portions of protein in the evenings (Whole Grains, Oats, Pulses, Beans, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Yes even Broccoli!)
- Finally drinking at least 6-8 cups of filtered or spring water a day.
Adding these to your diet increases your intake of protein, fats, fibre, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, which all leave you feeling pleasantly full as well as removing those sweet dessert temptations.
In addition, with all this added goodness they’ll help ncrease your energy, boost your brain power, give you mental clarity and even thicken your hair!
Wouldn’t you love all of this in your life!? And imagine all the ways it would improve other areas of your life too, like giving you more energy for exercising, keeping up with your family and excelling at work.
So give it a go! Crowd out your plate with at least one of the above ideas and see how you feel.
HAPPY MOOD, HAPPY DIGESTION
Remember sometimes it’s good to treat yourself! Sometimes it’s better to eat something less healthy which positively picks up your mood, rather than forcing yourself to eat something you truly hate which brings down your mood. Your body digests food in very clever ways.
What I really want to get across here is that we become mindful of our relationship with sugar to see if it is working for us or not. Creating a healthy relationship with it can change so many areas of your life, including sleep, relationships, exercise, anxiety and feelings of joy!
To health and happiness,