As regular readers will know, we’re all about an 80/20 lifestyle at Little Soap HQ. We believe in letting our hair down and enjoying life, but we like to do it with a clear conscience and a healthy heart. So it’s little wonder that when it comes to sugar we’re firmly in the less is more camp – we do still have a biscuit tin in the office, we just try and hide it to avoid temptation! There are so many ‘sugar detox’ diets out there and so many reasons why you should/shouldn’t eliminate the white stuff from your diet once and for all… it can be hard to know what to believe sometimes. That said, there is no disputing now that there are a host of reasons why we need to at least cut back on the amount of sugar we consume and there are more and more of us saying goodbye to the sweeter life for good. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons to quit sugar today…
Low moods, fatigue, even depression has been linked to over consumption of sugar in recent years. The more we eat, the more we crave and the worse we feel when we experience the inevitable crash afterwards. It’s a viscous cycle that can become harder and harder to break. But does sugar really make you depressed?
Studies have found that sugar causes inflammation in the body and this can lead to the body struggling to cope with stress. The reason for this is that sugar gives you a temporary high when you consume it and after this high your body then fights to stabilise hormones and chemicals to maintain an even mood. If you constantly consume high levels of sugar your body will be constantly fighting to ‘even out’ the highs and lows and this is something that just cannot go on forever. Eventually the body becomes unable to fight stress and anxiety levels rise. This can lead to low moods and depression – not a great advert for another can of pop is it?
Sugar is addictive
Has anyone ever told you that you’re addicted to sugar? And have you ever laughed it off, assuming that if sugar was that bad, that addictive, it would be controlled or restricted in some way from consumers? Think again! Sugar is very addictive and the danger is that it is so widely available. Sugar is not only free to buy in the form of cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks and sweets, but it’s added to a lot of foods too. Things like bread and low fat yogurt have sugar added to them so you could actually be consuming a lot more than you realise. And yes, it is addictive. Very addictive.
The reason why our bodies come to depend so highly on sugar is simple. Sugar releases dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that makes us feel good. And because we feel good, we enjoy eating sugar. We then feel like we need sugar when we feel stressed, sad or anxious. We crave it when we’re tired or upset. We reach for it when we’re hungry or in need of a ‘pick me up’ at the end of a busy day. Sugar is the one thing we know will make us feel good.. so why is that so bad?
The problem is that the high we experience after eating sugar never lasts and our body ends up craving more and more just to get a glimpse of that good feeling. And so the cycle continues. Think you might be addicted to sugar? Some of the signs include:
- You eat more sugary foods than you originally intended
- You crave carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and pastries
- You crave salty foods – your body’s way of desperately trying to balance things out!
- You consume sugar even when you don’t want to
- You eat sugar until you feel sick
If ever there was a reason to quit! Sugar is one of the reasons why so many of us are obese and yet because we’re addicted, we still cannot stop consuming it. Sugar is almost instantly digested into the body, which means that it goes straight into your bloodstream the minute you eat it. As a response, your pancreas then starts to secrete insulin (in very large doses) into your blood stream, which prompts your body to turn the sugar into fat. Put simply, sugar makes you gain weight!
If you really do crave something sweet, go for fruit as the naturally occurring sugar is digested a lot more slowly, giving the body chance to recover and recharge. Fruit is also low in calories and high in fibre, so always a better choice all round if you’re trying to lose weight. Go for berries – the darker the fruit and the thinner the skin, the lower the sugar content – and no adding sugar!, you are sweet enough!