Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bin the sugar and eat real food

Right: Chocolate covered Cream Filled Krispy Creme- 86g donut- 347 calories, 21g fat, 39g carbs (23g sugar).

The simplest way I have found that I can give advice to people who ask about improving their diet is to:

Avoid processed foods and simple sugars (going for lean protein, fresh fruit and vege, low fat dairy and low GI unprocessed grains).

Sounds simple enough doesn't it! People love to get into long conversations about low fat, low carb, raw diets, meal replacement shakes, macros, calories, carb cycling etc etc, see it all as too hard and do nothing which is such a shame!

The longer I have been eating this way, the more benefits I find and could never go back! My diet has slowly evolved over the past few months so that i only use natural ingredients to spice/flavour foods and I only use protein shakes/bars* where necessary.

Sugar is a particularly nasty beast and is added to almost all processed foods- you wouldn't think of it if you didn't check the labels! Eg tinned beetroot! Why not eat fresh?

Here are some reasons to avoid it:

1. Sugar has no nutritional value, studies have shown that sugar, caffeine and alcohol produce a chemical reaction in the body that creates enjoyment, but only for a moment. This results as a depression or that desire to get “high”. Doctors call this a “crash”. Dr. Janice Keller Phelps has researched the addictiveness of sugar. People would start out as sugarholics and then they’d become victims of depression. Because of that, people get stressed and want to eat more because of their chemical imbalance and they tend to get overweight.

2. Refined carbohydrates and sweets enter our blood stream rapidly. Our pancreas is attacked by the sudden urge of sugar. It releases too much insulin since it’s doing more work than it usually does. Because of this chemical confusion, there is a big drop in blood sugar. This causes feelings of hunger!

3. Sugar can suppress the immune system's ability to remove foreign debri and fight bad bacteria in the body.

4. Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance. With just 2 teaspoons of sugar, micronutrients in the body can change radically, throwing the blood chemistry out of balance. Some mineral levels increase, some decrease, and delicate ratios are upset. This may cause calcium deposits to increase which could lead to arthritus and other bone diseases.

5. In 1976 the sugar industry found it was less costly to make sugar from corn than from beets or sugar cane. Since then, high fructose corn syrup has replaced sucrose as a sweetener in processed foods and sodas. It has been shown that fructose causes the white blood cells of the immune system to become inactive and unable to protect the body against damaging intruders.

6. A sugar addiction speeds up the aging progress. When sugar is consumed on a regular basis the pancreas can become over stimulated and secrete too much insulin. Excess insulin can cause a drop in normal blood sugar levels, and hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may develop. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can involve tiredness, memory failure, quick heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, headaches and depression. These may sound like diseases of the old, but more and more young people are experiencing these warning signs daily.

I have the pleasure of turning down sugary/fatty treats at work on a daily basis. Today when offered a Krispy Creme donut, I checked out all the different varieties in the box- glazed, jam filled, every colour under the rainbow and said "Oh they look really pretty, but no thanks- they're not really food are they? Just fancy sugar!" (Well, if you want to be perfectly honest, they are a lethal recipe of sugar coated fried bread (donut) with a cocktail of artificial additives, flavours, colours, preservatives)#

* the protein bars are a real treat for occassional use only as they contain a lot of artificial ingredients. Having said that, try "Oh Yeah" they are delicious!

# Disclaimer: Despite all the evidence above in relation to why sugar should be avoided- I admit I have been known to have one hell of a sweet tooth. I have managed to get my former addiction to a controllable level through eating clean and now fruit tastes super sweet and delicious once more! As part of a balanced approach (and not yet in strict comp prep) I currently indulge in some sweet treats about once a week, although they are never as delicious as we build them up in our anticipation to be!


Splice said...

Fantastic post Steph, thanks!!

ss2306 said...

Hi Steph

I like the post and totally agree HOWEVER in this life we live I think the all or nothing approach is a recipe for disaster and a little bit each day or every now and then is good for one's mind. I'd rather have a little bit, savour it, be satisfied and stop and give myself a big pat on the back for practising moderation rather than saying no then eating a shit load later. What works for some doesn't always work for others. This is my approach and opinion only.

Charlotte Orr said...

Great post! Shelley has found something that works great for here, but there are those of us who find it hard to stop at 'a little bit', LOL.

Charlotte Orr said...

I meant 'her', not 'here', doh!

Doris's BEHAG journey said...

I too have a "little" bit. But be it for not only sugary stuff but savoury stuff as well. Abstaining from it 100%, only seems to feed the craving more, so if I incorporate a "little" bit every now and then and treat it as the treat, I only have that little bit, not a lot!

Anonymous said...

Nice info hot pants.
One sneaky sugar hide out is in protein shakes! easy to over look. Though as you said, if people avoid processed food as much as possible that problem wouldn't come up.

stephmd said...

Ah a healthy debate is stirring, fantastic.

Who else practices treats in moderation and who trys to avoid 'junk' altogether and WHY?

Charlotte Orr said...

Hey Steph, I'm not really tempted by treats during the week (I work from home and we don't keep them in the house), so it's usually weekends only for me too. I do find that after having sweets I crave more sugar, so I end up 'weaning' myself off it again at the start of the week with sweet drinks like licorice tea.

Lisa said...

Great post honey. I mainly avoid sugar because it ages us - yuk!

Anonymous said...

Great post Steph - was so nice to meet you in person - keep up the AWESOME work babe x

Anonymous said...

That's my favouite krispy kreme Steph. I know, I know, of all the things to want. A sugar coated deep fried dougnut, but they're so yummy. LOL!!

Nicole P said...

Hi Steph, I also practice everything in moderation (including PB in my oats sometimes LOL).

I have gone from eating pretty low carb with a treat meal once a week (which ended up being more like a binge because I was craving foods that 'I shouldn't' eat) to having something a little bit naughty each day and factoring the treat into my daily meals (but not krispy's!! ewwww!!)

Now when we go out for dinner, I don't feel like I have to eat everything in sight to get my fix and this seems to work well for me too :) Nicole xx

For incredible info, advice and support- get involved!