Sugar is one of the most controversial ingredients we eat. Some say it’s good, others tell us to avoid it like the plague. So how do we know what to believe? What is sugar? And if sugar is so “bad” for us why do our bodies need it? To find out these answers we have to know what sugar is and how it affects our bodies. Below are 3 tips on how to control your sugar habit.
“Sugar is the generalized name for a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances, most of which are used as food,” according to Wikipedia. It provides energy for the body, but no nutrients. There are natural forms of sugar and un-natural, refined forms of sugar. Both have come under speculation, especially in recent times, as to the effects of sugar on human health. Consuming too much sugar has resulted in a plethora of health problems from tooth decay, diabetes, to various forms of cancer.
Despite the fact that sugar can create a number of health problems, our bodies do need the sweet stuff, so forgoing sugar all together is not the answer. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is of the upmost importance. Our bodies need sugar, or glucose, because sugar provides energy to our cells. This is the body’s principle source of energy.
Once our blood sugar levels go down we begin to feel desperate to eat something, this is where we often make bad decisions and end up either over doing it or eating bad refined, processed sugar. To control your sugar habit you should:
1) Look for whole, unprocessed and unrefined sugars. Extra virgin Coconut oil that is organic and unrefined is a sweet substitute. You can add this to things such as coffee or tea. You can also use raw honey. 100% organic pure maple syrup is good, as well as eating plenty of fruit.
2) Read the label. Stay away from things that say: Hydrogenated trans-fat, any trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, pretty much anything with a long name you can’t pronounce. And make sure you’re looking at the source of the sugar.
3) Don’t trim the fat. Seriously, eating whole and natural fats sounds counterintuitive because we’re indoctrinated to believe that the more fat we eat the fatter we will become. And it’s true that we can’t eat tons of fat or of course we will gain weight. But our bodies were created to know what to do with natural whole fats.
Fat alone does not impact your blood sugar, but it does delay gastric emptying and digestion. That means that food will stick around longer in your stomach and you will not get a quick drop in your blood sugar as your food will digest slower and you’ll feel satisfied longer.
While these 3 tips on how to control your sugar habit are helpful for the individual some other actions need to be taken on a larger scale. The Harvard School of Public Health pointed out that beverage manufacturers are also accountable for the consumption of too much sugar, as well as distributing processed sugars. They believe manufacturers should create drinks that are simply less sweet and smaller in portions.
Everybody has a part to play in creating a healthier environment. We must of course always begin with ourselves and work outward from there. Let us know if you have any tips on how to control your sugar habit in the comments below!