Lilly Babet on Health + Wellbeing summarises succinctly why sugar makes us fat. And it is all about processed refined sugar. Not fructose (which is also low on the Glycemic Index), although everything in moderation, but refined glucose and sucrose.
Here’s what Libby has to say:
You’ve heard it a million times… sugar makes you fat. In fact, with all the hoo-ha about evil ol’ sugar, you’re probably even beginning to believe that the devil himself comes in the form of a small, white, sickeningly sweet granule!
But what you may still be asking yourself is just why sugar is so bad for you. After all, it’s a ‘natural’ product and hasn’t got any fat in it… and isn’t it fat that makes you, well, fat?!
There are so many studies out there on the sugar/health connection but one man who sums it all up pretty well is Doctor Robert Lustig, a Professor in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, who has been a real pioneer in decoding the way sugar is metabolised in the body.
According to Lustig, “It’s not about the calories. It has nothing to do with the calories. It (sugar) is a poison by itself”.
But why? Here’s what Dr. Lustig has to say:
• Eating too many dietary carbohydrates, especially from sugars, causes fat to become fixed in fat tissue (rather than used as energy, or moved out of the body).
• Sugar intake raises your insulin levels, which can prevent fat from being released and ‘flushed’ from the body.
• Eating too much sugar directly causes free fatty acids to turn into triglycerides that get stored as fat (this is particularly true of fructose, a kind of sugar found in just about any processed food, baked item or sweetened drink, including fruit juice. Also found in high levels in dried fruit!)
Sugars can directly interfere with your brain’s communication with leptin, the hormone that suppresses your appetite. So your likelihood of overeating and obsessively craving not-so-wholesome foods increases.
So how much is too much?
According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a renowned expert in natural health, these are the guidelines you should follow (most of the time) to make sure your diet is balanced, foods are processed effectively and the evil little sugar monster doesn’t take too firm a grip on your health (and your bod!):
• Limit sugar intake to less than 25 grams per day. At least 15 grams of these sugars should come from fruit, which doesn’t leave a lot of wriggle room for other, more processed foods. An apple alone has between 5-10 grams of fructose, so imagine the damage a single can of Coke would do!
• Limit or eliminate processed foods, which contain hidden sugars – the worst kind!
• Eliminate as much gluten and other highly allergenic foods from your diet as possible (this includes Soy, which can be fairly sugary).
• Eat organic, locally-grown foods where possible, or give your fruit and veg a good wash! Hidden toxins from spraying can contribute to a stressed-out liver. Combine that with excess sugars flooding that same lil’ liver and it ain’t pretty!
• Eat at least one-third of your food raw/uncooked. A big salad at lunch time should do it!
• Increase the amount of vegetables in your diet. Even a little can make a big difference.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds (they’ll just make you crave real sugars and are not great for you in the first place).
• Swap all trans fats (vegetable oils, margarine etc) for healthful fats like avocado, raw butter or coconut oil. These healthy fats help to ‘flush’ stubborn fats from the body and decrease sugar’s impact.
• Take a high quality omega-3 supplement (fish or krill oil, or flaxseed oil for vegetarians): this helps your body to process sugars in a more healthful way and will increase fat burn too!
• Drink plenty of water
Optimise your vitamin D levels, either through appropriate sun exposure, eating the right foods, or with a D3 supplement.
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