Refined White Sugar - is it evil? Should we all be avoiding it?
It’s really important that we speak about sugar a moment and how it truly isn’t the root of all evil. Refined white sugar doesn’t agree with me, it makes me vomit within about 15 to 30 minutes. I don’t have any refined white sugar in my diet at all but this doesn’t mean I believe that others shouldn’t either. The subject of refined white sugar is a tricky one, everyone has an opinion on it and there have been so many studies, all with varying results. Why does refined white sugar in particular cause me to vomit and have an upset stomach? I really don't know and years of research, reading studies, books and taking nutrition courses haven't really provided me with all too much clarity or concrete evidence on the why. Most importantly. I know that it doesn't agree with my body, so I avoid it completely.
Ultimately eating the foods that make YOU feel good is all that matters.
Most bodies are very well equipped to deal with refined white sugar, if we listen to our body telling us when it’s had enough and are able to stop, we’ll have a healthy relationship with it. However it is highly addictive. Refined sugar has a drug like affect, it’s a powerful stimulant, don’t expect to be able to not feel the NEED to eat foods containing the sweet stuff overnight. Addiction to sugar or any food for that matter involves the same areas of the brain which are used by those who are addicted to drugs. Food addiction is not a lack of willpower, it’s caused by intense dopamine signals highjacking the biochemistry of the brain. When sugar is consumed, the brain releases the same chemicals as it does when narcotics such as cocaine or heroin enter the body, so it’s no wonder we find it difficult to stop eating sugary foods even if we know they don’t make us feel good.
When sugar enters our body our blood levels spike, dopamine is released in the brain and we get that energetic fuzzy feeling of loveliness. In order for our blood sugar levels to regulate, our body releases insulin, then our blood sugar levels fall rapidly which is that low you get after eating something sugary. Low blood sugar levels cause increased appetite and cravings, so you crave sugar again and the cycle starts all over again.
Three Tips For Choosing To Follow A Refined Sugar Free Diet:
When eliminating refined white sugar from your diet sweeteners such as honey and agave syrup are brilliant, however be aware of how much you use. Our body signals to us when we have had enough glucose, which is the sugar you pop into tea. BUT fructose, found in honey and agave syrups actually bipasses the natural satitation signals of the body so we can’t recognise when we have had enough.
If you fancy something sweet have some fruit - I love a cut up apple, strawberries or a clementine. Fructose is found in fruit however the fibre in the whole fruit balances out the sugar levels, we generally tend to know when we’ve had enough fruit.
Be aware of foods labelled free from or healthy looking smoothies or juices. If you find you have a negative reaction to refined white sugar check the back of the packet - I have been caught out quite a few times with "dairy free ice cream" or "dairy free sweet snacks" only to find the amount of refined sugar added to the food is pretty impressive in itself!
A few questions to consider:
After eating refined white sugar how good do you feel?
What is your favourite food containing refined white sugar?
Do you enjoy the food you’re thinking of as you eat it?
No answer is correct or incorrect, but asking yourself these questions can raise awareness of how you react to certain foods, how they make you feel and if you're enjoying the foods that make YOU feel good.
If you're new to following a free from lifestyle, I've written an ebook where I share all of the things I wished I'd have known when I first started out. You can download the book for free in my resources.