An Unsweet Look at Sugar. Healthy Tips from The Superhuman Diet
Sugar is not as sweet as you may think, and you already know it is not healthy for you and that it won’t help you become superhuman. To help you improve your health and finally start reducing your sugar intake, I thought that, today, I would share an extract from our eBook, The Superhuman Diet. A healthy diet can do far more than you may think in terms of helping you get to a superhuman level of health.
“Eating sugar sends signals to the brain, and triggers the release of dopamine, which is part of why we love it so much. When sugar reaches your stomach, your body separates the sugar into two types: glucose and fructose. Most sugar sources consist of a combination of both. We know that sugar is bad for us, but we also need to understand why.
During digestion, glucose seeps through the small intestinal wall, and signals the pancreas to start secreting insulin. This hormone allows the body to use the glucose in your bloodstream for energy. However, eating processed sugar usually causes a spike in insulin, leading to a surge of energy, followed by a sugar crash.
Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas over-produces insulin, due to excess sugar intake, and the cell walls become resistant. As a result, the excess glucose remains in the bloodstream, and can lead to diabetes.
When the pancreas produces too much insulin, it can also become overwhelmed and create excess inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation can show up in the form of acne, joint pain, digestive problems, and other health problems.
Too much insulin also prevents the production of the hunger hormone, named leptin, which is responsible for signalling your brain that you are full. Therefore, too much insulin leads to overeating and excess fat storage.
Even though fruits contain healthy nutrients, they contain fructose. Too much fructose is really bad for you, and perhaps even worse than the more commonly recognised sucrose. Fructose enters the bloodstream, and goes straight to the liver, where it gets metabolised.
Too much fructose overwhelms the liver, and can trigger fat production in the liver, which in time, can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fructose is a dose-dependent hebedo toxin. Fructose is found in foods, such as fruit, candy, sweetened yogurts and milk, fruit juice, honey, molasses, agave, and coconut sugar.
Sugar damages the collagen and elastin in your skin, and decreases the effectiveness of both, making your skin age faster. This is due to a process called glycation, during which, sugar attaches to proteins, and forms harmful new molecules that damage other proteins in the body.
Sugar also has some other side effects. It:
· is one of the biggest causes of inflammation in the body.
· can contribute to anxiety. Blood sugar levels rise rapidly when consuming high-sugar foods, which is often followed by a blood sugar crash. Low blood sugar triggers the production of cortisol, the main stress hormone. It also triggers an adrenaline response, which can make you feel jittery.
· lowers testosterone levels, which is important for burning fat, building muscle, and maintaining a healthy libido.
· damages your gut lining, so the body cannot absorb nutrients efficiently.
· raises cholesterol, and can lead to heart disease.
How to Quit Sugar for Your Health:
· Start by cutting out obvious sugars like candy, cakes, pastries, etc.
· Watch out for “health foods” like low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, cereal bars, muesli, fruit juice, etc. as they are loaded with sugar. When fat is removed from products, sugar needs to be added in order to make it taste good.
· Read labels. When you first start cutting sugar, avoid foods where one of the first three to five ingredients listed is sugar. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so the main ingredients are listed first. Another approach is to avoid foods with more than 10% sugar. That means that you should avoid foods that have more than 10g of sugar per 100g.
· Watch out for common synonyms for sugar, such as fructose, dextrose, lactose, saccharin, sucrose, and glucose.
· Increase your fat intake. It helps keep you satisfied, and will make quitting sugar a lot easier. Also, eat enough protein and fibre, as it will help keep you full and stabilise blood sugar levels. Blood sugar crashes leave our bodies craving sugar as a pick me up.
· Substitute xylitol or stevia in place of sugar, and avoid artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners stimulate sugar cravings.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Having stable blood sugar levels can ensure that you have sustained energy to excel at your daily tasks and improve performance. Higher blood sugar levels have been linked to a reduction in brain volume, diabetes, heart disease, and fatigue. Here is how you can help balance your blood sugar levels:
· Cut out sugar and avoid smoking. Sugar and nicotine can cause drops in blood sugar due to the adrenaline rush.
· Avoid high-GI foods, such as white rice, pasta, cakes, pastries, and white bread. Instead, eat slow-releasing carbohydrates like sweet potato and vegetables.
· Eat protein and fat with carbohydrates to lower the glycaemic index.
· Have green tea with carbohydrate-rich meals, as it lowers the GI.
· Add some vinegar to meals that contain carbohydrates. It can improve insulin sensitivity with meals, and interfere with starch absorption thanks to the acetic acid content.
· Add cinnamon to your daily diet, as it can help control blood sugar. A teaspoon a day is good.
· Get enough sleep, as insufficient amounts can disrupt fat metabolism, and reduce the effectiveness of insulin regulating blood sugar. Even just losing 30 minutes of sleep a day can have significant effects (Patel and Hu. 2008).
· Up your intake of chromium-rich foods, as this type of chemical element can help stabilise blood sugar levels by helping to control the amount of sugar the body takes in. You can find it in broccoli, basil, grass-fed beef, turkey, green beans, red wine, and cinnamon.”