All About Sugar

Inflammatory foods like grain products, sugar, and dairy are easy to overeat, with sugar at the top of the list. We know that avoiding birthday cake might not be something you want to do forever, but consuming inflammatory foods on a daily basis causes harm.

I believe that knowledge is power- and having knowledge about how inflammatory foods affect our bodies can help us make decisions about whether or not we want to practice them on a daily basis.

Sugar and Inflammation

Sugar is one of the first foods that people can eliminate and see results. Not only do people typically notice huge improvements in their lifestyles when forgoing sugar for a few weeks, but they also notice when adding it back in. Refined and processed sugars especially are behind fatigue, weight gain, skin issues, and are highly addictive.

Highly processed sugars, like corn syrup, are big offenders in both sugar addiction and inflammation. Most soda, commercial syrups like fake maple syrup, and even yogurt and other processed foods include corn syrup.

Intentionally cutting it for a while can be eye opening in terms of how much sugar is in everything we eat. It doesn’t get better, either, when you look for sugar free options. Even artificial sweeteners can cause major damage and inflammation, and should be avoided. We think that we’re making a better decision when opting for diet soda over regular soda, but our bodies disagree.  

Hidden Sources

Refined or processed sugars aren’t the only culprits when it comes to inflammation, and natural sugars are also inflammatory. While fruit has so many benefits (and are encouraged in the 28 Day Transformation), products derived from fruits like juices are better avoided.

According to Harvard researcher Mary E. Gearing, “Although juice and smoothie companies fairly state that their products contain only natural sugars, fruit and fruit juice are not equivalent.” Even if you consume the same number of calories from whole fruit and juice, the metabolic effects are very different. Metabolically speaking, juice is much more similar to soda than it is to whole fruit. Knowing that fruit juice is equivalent to soda, would you choose to drink either daily?

Mindful Decisions

Food doesn’t make you “bad” or “good” but there are foods that are simply not beneficial for us. It doesn’t mean that we have to always avoid it. Simply knowing the effects can help you make decisions when it comes to consuming inflammatory foods. There are still many options for sweet tasting foods, too. Fruit and starchy tubers like sweet potatoes are great alternatives to processed sugar. They also contain natural “stops”, where you’ll want to stop eating. Think of pineapple and how it burns the mouth at a certain point during consumption. An added bonus of fruit and starchy tubers is the natural, bioavailable fiber content.

There is no better expert when it comes to sugar than Gary Taubes. His latest book reads like an episode from the X-Files.  In 2017, “a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, uncovered documents showing that Big Sugar paid three Harvard scientists in the 1960s to play down the connection between sugar and heart disease and instead point the finger at saturated fat”.  I’m going to guess that most of us will be ordering “The Case Against Sugar” after reading this article!  

Your Own Experience

Knowing how you feel with or without certain foods gives you the power to make decisions for your health. We know what the research says, but personal experimentation is the biggest eye opener. Its the difference between joyfully enjoying something on occasion or grabbing snacks in the office pantry because they are there. One may be worth it, and the other is causing harmful effects. Do you see this in your own life? Where does sugar stand for you, and if you could change one thing regarding sugar consumption, what would it be?

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