Excess sugar damaging our health is becoming harder to ignore. Davina McCall has written a sugar free recipe book, and Jamie Oliver has launched an attack on the fizzy drinks industry.
Personally, I became sugar free following treatment for breast cancer. At the age of 38, I was, and still am, trying to heal my body, and there are strong links between sugar and cancer. I'm now a huge advocate of sugar reduction, and have written a book, Sugar Snub Food Guide, which lists over 7000 supermarket foods in order of sugar using the traffic light system. I want to help others shop and cook sugar smart.
We need sugar in our diet to function, but what happens to our bodies when we consume too much?
1 It's addictive
Sugar and junk foods can cause massive releases of dopamine in the reward part of the brain. This, for many people, can become strongly addictive. Are you a sugar junkie?
2 It makes us FAT
When our stores of glucose in our muscles and liver are full, any extra sugar, particularly fructose, is converted to fat. We can deal with fructose in fruits for example (don't stop eating fruit!), but food manufacturers have created Fructose Glucose Syrup and filled fizzy drinks, junk food, and many supermarket foods with it.
3 Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone released from the pancreas when we eat sugar. If we consistently have too much sugar in our blood, the pancreas can't keep up with demands, insulin stops working effectively, blood sugar levels skyrocket, and this is a leading driver to Diabetes. Experts forecast that unless we change our diet habits, 70% of the population will have this illness by 2026!
Elevated insulin levels and metabolic problems associated with excess sugar can cause inflammation in your body. Both are potential drivers for cancer.
5 Uncontrolled Appetite
We have evolved without an off switch for fructose. Your brain will not tell you you've had enough fizzy drink, or biscuits. It can't, only will-power and cutting back on sugar can.
It takes just 30 minutes to go from a chocolate bar sugar high to a sugar crash.
We know sugar causes inflammation, this can spread to the brain and cause depression. Some psychiatrists are now treating depression with diabetic drugs!
8 Raises cholesterol and risk of heart disease
For years saturated fat has been blamed, but sugar is now thought to be a major contributor. Studies show large amounts of fructose can raise the bad LDL cholesterol.
A 2013 study provided evidence that it could also affect the pumping mechanism of your heart.
Potentially soon to be called Type 3 Diabetes. Links are being discovered between insulin resistance and Alzheimer's.
10 Premature ageing
Overeating sugar damages collagen leading to dull and wrinkled skin.
Learn how to shop and eat sugar smart with the Sugar Snub Food Guide. Available as an eBook from Amazon, and paperback from November at www.sugarsnub.co.uk, and Amazon.