I’ve talked a lot on this blog about sugar and how a diet high in added sugar can have devastating effects on our health. How it is one of the main reasons behind the obesity and disease epidemic we are experiencing in our society today. How it has wriggled its way onto the ingredient lists of many of the foods lining supermarket shelves (even the ones you don’t expect). And how a seemingly healthy diet may actually turn out to be one high in added sugar.
Sugar is sneaky, it is deceptively delicious and keeps us coming back for more.
Sugar is a topic that I am extremely passionate about. It wasn’t until l truly understood the impact that sugar had on my health that I grasped how it is so important to keep added sugar to a minimum in our diets.
When I finally broke the cycle of cravings it was like my head came out of a cloud. My emotions leveled out, I lost some unnecessary weight I previously hadn’t been able to shake, and I felt like I finally had energy for the first time in a while. Real energy, not the kind manufactured with the help of a steaming mug of coffee (served by your local barista with a heaping dose of added sugar).
I teamed up with my close friend and fellow health coach Laura LaBeau and we launched our very first 21 Day Sugar Detox last summer with a group of awesome participants. It was a joy for me to teach others what I had learned through my own experience. After all, teaching about nutrition and using food as medicine and nourishment for our bodies is why I write and what I strive to do as a career someday.
So what’s all the fuss about sugar anyways? Why is it so bad? Why should you entertain doing cleanse to help eliminate it from your diet?
Well, here are 5 very excellent reasons:
1. Consumption of high amounts of sugar can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Sucrose, or table sugar, is made up of equal amounts glucose and fructose. Fructose is the kind of sugar you find naturally in fruit and is also what gives sugar its sweetness. While your cells metabolize glucose, fructose is processed primarily in the liver. If you eat too many simple sugars, which are quickly digested (soft drinks, candy), your liver breaks down the fructose and produces fats called triglycerides. A lot of these triglycerides are pushed into the blood. Over time blood pressure increases and cells become progressively more resistant to insulin. The pancreas responds by producing even more insulin to try to make up for this resistance. Eventually a condition known as metabolic syndrome kicks in, which is normally characterized by obesity. If not addressed, Type 2 Diabetes will develop.
2. Research has shown that sugar stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain as heroine and cocaine. And just like heroine and cocaine, it is highly addictive. So why do we crave sugar? Let’s take a trip back to caveman times, where sugar was extremely rare and only found in naturally growing fruit. Due to its scarcity, our bodies became efficient processors of fructose, storing it all as fat to help the body survive during the lean winter months. Additionally, sugar provided the body with instant energy to survive in the wild.
3. Fructose is stored in our bodies as fat. Fructose can only be processed by the liver. When the liver is overworked (say when you are consuming a sugary beverage), it relies on the pancreas to help it out. The pancreas then releases insculin, an energy storage hormone which stores the sugar your body is processing as fat. At the same time, insulin blocks messages from getting to your brain that you are full. The result? Excess fat is stored while at the same time your body feels hungry, tired, and cranky.
4. Insulin resistance in our cells has also been found to impact the health of our brains. We all need insulin. It is produced and released by our pancreas to help our cells absorb the blood sugar (aka glucose) they need for energy. Insulin resistance develops when cells are called upon to absorb glucose from the blood too often, as I described above. Insulin keeps the blood vessels that supply the brain healthy and encourages brain cells and neurons to absorb glucose, allowing them to grow and become stronger. Low levels of insulin lead to reduced brain function but, on the flip side, too much insulin damages the blood vessels that supply nutrients to our brain. In addition, just like the rest of the cells in our body, our brain cells can become insulin resistant from a steady diet of too much sugar and processed junk. When this happens, our brain cells stop absorbing the levels of glucose they need to thrive and grow, resulting in decreased brain function, loss of memory and disorientation.
5. Fructose is making us sick. In addition to Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s, research has shown that fructose inhibits our immune system’s ability to fight infection, can mess with fertility, speeds up the aging process and can cause a rapid rise in adrenaline, which can lead to hyperactivity, anxiety and loss of concentration.
So why am I sharing this with you today? Well, Laura and I are back at it and are launching another round of our 21 Day Sugar Detox, running June 6th-26th.
The cost is just $30, which includes daily inspirational emails straight to your inbox, invitation to a private Facebook group for accountability and support, a packet of cleanse-friendly recipes and weekly shopping lists to make your grocery outings less stressful. You will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Laura or I for a discounted rate of $50 (a $75 value!).
Interested in joining us and making this investment in your health? Click on the link below to sign up today!
~Peace, love and veggies~
Photo credit: Image courtesy of CeresB on flickr