We’ve all heard it most of our lives, “sugar is not good for you” but have you ever explored why? Or have you ignored the reasons why so you don’t have to stop eating sugary foods and drinks? Well, life doesn’t have to be that boring! We can avoid processed sugar but still enjoy sweet desserts and drinks. One of our experts, Nancy Desjardins, holistic nutritionist, is very knowledgeable about this subject and spent years researching it. Read below about her thoughts and research on sugar.
Sugar is the legal narcotic?
By Nancy Desjardins, R.N.C.P.
Our life can be full of paradoxes, sometimes representing our collective way of turning our back on problems and our approach to sugar addiction is one such area. We place a considerable amount of time, effort and resource (and rightly so) in the war against illegal drugs and in a battle to try and get people to turn away from smoking. Smoking is surely the biggest single addiction in our society, we are told and is directly linked, quite vocally so, too many serious illnesses. However, when it comes to sugar very little is said in the mainstream about its ability to create a significant addiction, ticking away in the background of our lives and causing its problems over time.
Holistic nutrition experts insist that our diets be balanced and that we remove any ingredients that are known to be counter-productive or even harmful. Government nutrition experts however do little to point out the significant problems caused by our over reliance on sugar and how this rather simple and unassuming product can cause an addiction as bad as some of the items listed within restricted schedules.
Like any addictive substance, refined sugar has little or no value for your body. Quite the contrary, ingestion tends to draw on vitamins and minerals present within your bloodstream for processing. We can see quite an analogy between some of the most addictive and dangerous banned substances and our innocent act of eating or drinking sugar. Each has the consequence of creating an unnatural “high” and each can cause long-term organ damage over time.
When we add sugar to foods or drinks or rely on processed items that are heavily infused with simple sugars, then we are choosing that initial boost of energy and reward because of our “sweet tooth” with a subsequent crash and a conversion of the ingredients into stored fat. While some of the protected, scheduled drugs may be known to create problems for our major organs, an overreliance on simple sugar intake can lead to an excess of insulin production and the onset of diabetes. All that stored fat will invariably lead to obesity and all the problems that condition brings with it.
When sugar was first introduced to our diet it was touted as the purest form of food and one which required very little in the way of preparation. It is this very simplicity that has undoubtedly caused simple and refined sugars to become one of the scourges of our modern diet. Drugs often represent the easy way out within any situation and sugar represents an easy, every day, “acceptable” fix.
Holistic health solutions focus our attention on eating a balanced, natural diet, leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising and avoiding any kind of excess. Moderating our sugar intake ranks very highly on a list of concerns and requires us to realize that our sugar addiction can be very damaging indeed.
It can be really difficult to focus on holistic nutrition when you suffer from cravings for those sweet, sugary products. It can be even more difficult when we see those temptations all around us. We only have to travel to the gas station or the corner store for something totally unrelated and right before our eyes we see those enticing donuts in the checkout line or candy bars right next to the cash register. Cravings can be particularly difficult to deal with, especially if you haven’t eaten a balanced meal for several hours. The combination of a hunger pang and that sweet tooth can be tough to resist and before you know it you have fueled your sugar addiction once again.
A variety of imbalances within the body can be responsible for spurring a sugar craving, especially when it comes to insulin production. If, for example, you are used to drinking sugary coffees or cans of soda at any opportunity, your body may have been accustomed to significant spikes in glucose and consequent insulin production, leading to a constant level of anticipation.
It’s important to take a really balanced look at holistic health solutions in your life if you find that you are constantly having to fight off those sugar cravings. One of the more important areas for your attention should be the balance of your overall diet. Sometimes you may not be getting as much protein as you should and you may need to realize that what your body is really asking you for is protein and not sugar.
As we said previously, temptations are everywhere and often you can do little about their location. However, you can certainly clean your house of these temptations, where you have overall control and this means not stocking up on those tempting “after dinner” treats, or that carton of “Ben and Jerry’s,” sitting in its special place in your freezer!
You should know that there is a difference between simple processed sugar and sugar that is already contained within foods. Processed foods and candy bars, processed juices and soda drinks all contain sugars that contain zero calories or nutritional value and these are responsible for that “high” and subsequent low. Fruits, on the other hand, contain naturally occurring sugars which interact with your body in an entirely different way. We know that nutritional experts are always preaching at us to eat more fruits and vegetables and if you can get into the habit of eating an item of fruit every day, you will get beneficial fibers, vitamins and minerals as well.
Do not underestimate the power that this sugar addiction can have over you. You will need to make significant dietary changes and have a lot of willpower to be able to get through the early stages. Pay attention to everything that you buy in the grocery store from now on and read the labels to reveal your best buying choices. A sensible approach to holistic nutrition will soon help you overcome the worst.