As well as causing weight gain, diabetes and cavities, sugar can cause an array of imbalances in the body.
Sugar damages and shrinks the pancreas, enlarges the adrenal glands, raises triglyceride, cholesterol, corticosteroid and insulin levels, enlarges the liver, increases adhesiveness of blood platelets, and raises hydrochloric acid levels
Sugar suppresses the immune system (white blood cells are depleted by 50% after just 1 teaspoon of sugar and don’t recover for several hours).
Sugar contributes to the reduction in defence against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast)
Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E in the blood
Sugar lowers B6 levels (and all B vitamins) in the body. B vitamins are crucial for supporting our liver’s ability to de-activate estrogen. B vitamin deficiency contributes to hormone imbalances that lead to PMS, fibroids, cysts, pregnancy nausea and stretch marks (therefore it makes sense that reducing and eliminating sugar in the diet would reduce these syndromes)
Sugar can decrease growth hormones
Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body
Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium
Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
Sugar can adversely affect school children's grades and cause learning disorders
Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
A diet high in refined sugar reduces learning capacity
Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
In juvenile rehabilitation facilities, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behaviour
Sugar can cause a rapid rise in adrenaline levels in children
It is estimated that the average person consumes approximately 26 teaspoons of sugar per day (Statistics Canada ).
There are some reasons why we crave sugar; why those visions of chocolate bars dance in our heads, including:
An addiction to sugar. Yep you may be addicted to sugar but there is good news because it is a relatively easy addiction to break
Food allergies; we often crave what we’re allergic to in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms
Adrenal fatigue; your body asks for a little “pick me up” that sugar will temporarily supply, however this only stresses the body further making the matter worse
Monthly hormonal imbalances; pre-menstrual syndrome, pregnancy and hormone imbalance can leave you craving for and reaching for that sugary fix
Parasites, candida and bacterial overgrowth; the more sugar you eat the more inviting you make your gut for these “bad guys”… you’re just feeding these “yeastie beasties”
It’s not enough to just reduce those items that we automatically equate with sugar; the pop, the candies, the donuts and the chocolate bars etc. Reading food labels and recognizing that sugar is added to almost every pre-packaged product on the grocery store shelf is just as important… it’s the hidden sugar sources that we have to become just as mindful of. It’s also important to recognize that fruits are high in naturally occurring sugars so our intake should be limited to 3 servings per day.
Here are some tips for ending sugar cravings and decreasing your sugar intake:
Avoid processed foods; choose good quality whole foods more often, incorporate more vegetables, fruits (3 servings per day), legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains into your meal planning
Boost your serotonin (aka the happiness hormone) through diet, exercise and adequate good quality sleep
Drink plenty of good quality drinking water; aim for 8/8 oz. glasses per day
Keep your blood sugar stable; eating smaller meals throughout the day can help as well as ensuring that we are choosing complex carbohydrates and avoiding the simple carbs that are full of sugar
Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables for their high nutritional value
Incorporate more sea vegetables into your diet for their high mineral content; eating sugary foods depletes our body of vital minerals
Incorporate meditation into your daily routine, it can help to eliminate stress and sugar cravings
And when you do feel the need to add a little “sweetness” try choosing some of these great alternatives instead:
Pure maple syrup : it’s great for use in baked goods and on top of pancakes and waffles. Substitute ⅔ to ¾ cup (165 to 175 ml) maple syrup for 1 cup (250 ml) white sugar. Reduce liquid by 3 tbsps. (45 ml). Also add ¼ tsp. (1 ml) baking soda per 1-cup (250 ml) maple syrup.
Barley malt syrup: it’s great for use in spice cakes, ginger bread and baked beans. Substitute 1 ⅓ cups (325 ml) barley malt for 1 cup (250 ml) white sugar. Reduce liquid by ¼ cup (60 ml). Add ¼ tsp. (1 ml) baking soda per 1-cup (250 ml) barley malt.
Brown rice syrup: great for use in cookies, fruit crisps, granola, pies and puddings. For cakes, combine with another sweetener such as maple syrup. Substitute 1-⅓ cups (325 ml) for 1 cup (250 ml) white sugar. Reduce liquid by ¼ cup (60 ml). Add ¼ tsp. (1 ml) baking soda per 1-cup (250 ml) rice syrup.
Honey: great for use in Baked goods, herbal teas and coffee. Substitute ⅔ to ¾ cup (165 to 175 ml) for 1 cup (250 ml) white sugar. Reduce liquid by ¼ cup (60 ml). Add ¼ tsp. (60 ml) baking soda per 1-cup (250 ml) honey. Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees and adjust baking time.
Sucanat (natural sugar cane with fibre and water removed): great for use in baked goods, tea and coffee. Substitute ⅔ to ¾ cup (165 to 175 ml) for 1 cup (250 ml) white sugar. Sold in dry form at natural food stores.
Blackstrap molasses: great for use in zucchini bread, cookies and on top of pancakes and waffles. Substitute equal amount
Stevia: great for all types of cooking, baking and beverages. Substitute ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) powder for 1-cup (250 ml) sugar.
For more help with your sugar cravings and menu planning, click here for a full list of available services
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We have committed to donating a portion of our monthly sales to Canadian Feed the Children to help provide children and families in need with such things as increased access to nutritious food and quality education, and community support. Together we are creating a healthier and brighter future for children around the world.