SUGAR. It feels like the white stuff has never been too far away from everyone’s dietary conscious this past year. I’ve been especially interested in sugar for three reasons:
1. Remember when fat was being demonised as sugar is in the 80s and 90s? Its reputation was completely unwarranted – fat is the most important macronutrient, playing a vital role in CNS build, protection and growth. What would be learned about sugar’s role within the body?
2. I am an unashamed sugar addict. Chocolate is my favourite food by a long way. It doesn’t even have to be good quality – if it’s sweet, I’ll eat it. I love talking about it, eating it, smelling it, looking at it. I can eat a whole packet or Oreos and not feel sick. If it’s there, I’ll eat it.
3. Out of all the food groups, sugar is the one I get asked about most. And giving an informed opinion to my clients is of utmost importance.
So – here’s the skinny on sugar. Yes it is important to have some sugar in your diet. Yes it is better that this sugar comes from more natural sources (fresh + dried fruit, milk etc) BUT - a small amount of refined isn’t going to delay your weight-loss journey or have any significantly negative effect on your body. A calorie is a calorie, no matter the source.
HOWEVER - I think the problem is that, like myself, a lot of people find it hard to consume only ‘a bit’ of sugar. An overload of sugar at any one time unfortunately can have a rather more concerning effect on your insides, messing with your insulin levels and putting pressure on your cells to correct them, as well as piling a fair few calories on top to boot. The excess of insulin, it has been proven, will also contribute to an increase in belly fat.
My advice to you is to forget about sugar in terms of the calories, and think about it as a fuel source – like everything else you put into your body, sugar will be converted to energy – and being that it’s a simple carb, it’s more or less an express train in – hence the near-immediate ‘rush’ or ‘high’ you get when you consume enough. A body and mind running on sugar won’t be as productive as a body running on complex carbs and whole foods. Headaches, mood swings, fitful sleeping patterns and dizziness can all be symptoms of a diet containing too much sugar.
If you’re eating a fair bit of sugar every day, I’d definitely suggest cutting back. I completely understand how hard this will be initially but I promise you your body will start thanking you after just a few days. And remember – no food should be absolutely 100% off the table if you don’t want it to be – everything in moderation!
Ay finally - it's much better and healthier to make your own treats if you can - below is a recipe for my Health-Food Flapjacks - really hope you enjoy them!
3 ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup apple sauce (homemade or sugar-free shop-bought)
2 cups GF oats
1/4 cup DF milk (I used rice)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix everything together and bake at 180c for 15-20 mins in a lined baking tray or tin.