All You Need to Know: Refined Sugar

If you look at the media, it seems that going sugar free is the 2015 equivalent of the slim fast shakes and fat free craze of the naughties, but sugar free is far from a passing trend and will leave you feeling so much healthier and energetic that you’d be crazy not to jump on board.  

We could talk for hours about how bad sugar is for you, but to speed things up we’ll keep it to a relatively quick bullet pointed list. 

- Added sugars such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, found in most processed foods, contain a whole load of calories with absolutely no essential nutrients. 
- There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar… just pure energy, rather than slow release, which leads to a quick burst of energy followed by a slump. 
- Eating sugar throughout the day will lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels, which means your body has to work harder to stabilise these at night, leading to interrupted sleep and less energy for more important tasks. 
- High amounts of fructose (such as that found in added sugars) cannot be metabolised by the liver and the excess amounts once the liver is full will be turned into fat. 
- Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain, meaning that you will not feel full and content after and will feel the need to eat more
- Sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain which makes it highly addictive and leaves you craving more
- Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, blood glucose and insulin levels (which you really don’t want) and increase abdominal obesity

If that’s not evidence enough to quit the sugar for good then we don’t know what is. We totally understand that the idea of a sugar free life can be quite a daunting thought though, and for those of us with a particularly demanding sweet tooth it could seem like asking the impossible to give up the sweet stuff. 

The good news is that the only sugars that will leave you feeling lousy are the processed, unnatural sugars of the commercial food world. The natural sugars found in fruit, honey and other naturally occurring products will still satisfy the sweet tooth but won’t harm your health, will actually leave you feeling full and won’t lead to further cravings and addiction. And it’s not like there’s a lack of alternative options nowadays either. 

Need sugar in your coffee? A drizzle of honey will work just the same. 
Your favourite recipe calls for white or brown sugar? Coconut sugar is the perfect replacement. 
Craving cake or muffins? Apple puree or mashed banana works just as well in a cake mixture. 
Can’t imagine your weekend pancakes without lashings of syrup? Rice malt syrup is an ideal healthy replacement.
Need something quick? Dates are naturally sweet and caramel-y, the perfect quick fix.  

We’re big advocates that we should never be deprived of something that we want, which is why we’re all about finding alternatives to keep both our body’s and our minds happy. Making such simple options will not only leave you feeling healthier, help keep your body beautiful inside and out and give you an abundance more energy, but it will also help stop the sugar addiction and over time your taste buds will adapt to less sugary foods, meaning you can continue to cut down on the sugar. Your body really is a smart thing once you start treating it right.