Say NO to refined sugar

Why should I say no to sugar? I was asking myself a few months ago as I was sitting on my dentist chair. You can imagine what the dentist was telling me. But let me come back to this point later on.

First, I would dive into the world of sugar. And how we find ourselves consuming sugar without even knowing. Because most of the products out there do have sugar, especially processed foods. And a lot of the big brands out there are getting away by just mentioning sugar in the product description. But not specifying a lot of the times the amount of sugar. You are probably thinking, yes we already know that. But do you really know how many sugar scoops a glass of orange juice has? And I guess the bigger question is. Is this good for me?

I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I was beyond normal when it came to sugar intake. Since I was 5 years old I was eating lots of cakes, sweets, candies, you name it. And this habit has continued in my adult life. Being more excited about dessert than the rest of my meal. I know it’s not just me, it’s ingrained in our culture through birthdays, weddings, any celebration involves a sweet treat. Why shouldn’t we reward ourselves with something that makes us feel good and happy? Did you know that the sugar addiction sits in the same area of our brains when it comes to other addictions like cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.

Sugar can do many things: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, ageing, increasing cancer cells, decayed teeth, affecting our thinking ability, mood swings and more. The Business Insider UK published an insightful article on the effects of eating too much sugar where you can read up more.

Throughout the years my weight has fluctuated, luckily I’ve always been an active person so I am at a normal weight. When it comes to losing weight or staying in shape, the media, doctors, the food industry, they are telling us to reduce the fat, the bad cholesterol, or any junk food. In fact healthy fats are good for us and there is no bad cholesterol. Have you ever wondered that all of these factors are influenced by one thing — refined sugar.

So going back to what my dentist said, these were her words:

“You have sensitive teeth, so if you don’t want for the rest of your life to keep coming back to see me every week I’d suggest to cut the sweets all together.” I was thinking, are you kidding me? That’s part of me, that’s who I am.

But then I started to read about sugar and inform myself. This book by Damon Gameau has helped me a lot not only to understand the dangers of sugar, but also how to cut the unnecessary sugars from my day to day life. Damon did an experiment, he ate 40 scoops of sugar a day. You can find out more about it, here.

I am not saying that fruits which do have natural fructose are bad for us, they are not. But we are consuming much more sugar than our ancestors did because even bread, cereals or salty popcorn have sugar. So on average we consume at least 20 scoops of sugar on a daily basis or maybe even more. And, when you look at it this way, yes, that’s a lot!

So my final thought is — try for one week or even two weeks to reduce sugar from your coffee or tea. And stop drinking any fizzy drinks. Or if you are brave enough reduce the sugar all together for 2 weeks and see how you feel.

I am still learning how to reduce unnecessary sugar myself but one way to look at it is, educating ourselves and knowing exactly what we are eating, which sometimes can be difficult with misleading packaging. Next time you do your food shopping, read the labels carefully, and be more aware of the the amount of sugar you and your family are consuming.