Remember when just about everyone was telling us to avoid fat?
We were led to believe that fat was bad for our hearts, that it would increase our weight gain and that it was responsible for a whole range of health problems.
This idea was thought to be true for a long time, but then the research took a closer look and gradually, we’ve discovered that fat was never the enemy. The ‘enemy’ has always been sugar. Fats actually helps to improve our heart health, to reduce blood pressure and even to boost brain function – as long as it is the right kind of healthy fat that we get from natural food. [Ingredients for Ketodamia Good Fat Bar]
Sugar, meanwhile, was the problem causing a whole host of different health conditions such as inflammation, chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes, and even getting us addicted thanks to its addictive properties.
Kellyann Petrucci, ND, a leading naturopathic physician, and nutritionist, is an inflammation expert and she says research now shows that chronic, body-wide inflammation from a bad diet of too many carbohydrates (i.e. sugar) is associated with many modern diseases, like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, this inflammation can age you rapidly, contributing to everything from painful joints to dry, wrinkled skin.
Consuming too much sugar constantly spikes your blood sugar, leading to three very bad consequences:
- When your blood sugar rises, your body cranks out greater numbers of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. The role of cytokines is to help regulate the immune response.
- In addition, high blood sugar levels cause your body to produce molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These are destructive molecules that trigger inflammation.
- When you have high blood sugar, your cells become insulin resistant. This means that they refuse to accept insulin and its cargo of sugar. As a result, this sugar gets stored as visceral fat. Visceral fat, in addition to giving you an unsightly belly, churns out pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Every time a person eats as little as two teaspoons of added sugar they can upset their body chemistry and disrupt homeostasis, the balance in the body needed for maintenance, repair, and life itself!
Here are some of the names of sugars to stay away from that can be found in a wide range of foods: Read your labels!
- Hydrolyzed starch
- Agave nectar
- Corn syrup
- Rice malt syrup
- Golden syrup
- Organic sugar
- Cane sugar
How can you fend off sugar cravings to ward off inflammation?
Start by training your brain to enjoy less sweet foods and have plenty of healthier snack alternatives at hand:
- Eat hearty meals that give your body hours of energy so you don’t get hungry or think about food. Cravings for sugar or needing a snack usually means you didn’t get healthy fat and protein at your last meal.
- Have healthy snacks, such as nuts and seeds, at hand. These are high in fat and protein, and so are useful for keeping hunger at bay.
- Enjoy good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), which has a lower sugar content than milk or white chocolate.
- Add a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon to foods to please your sweet tooth.
- Sugar alternatives such as stevia can be useful for sugar-free baking. Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from a plant. It is virtually calorie-free, does not affect blood sugar levels and does not cause tooth decay. But caution that if you continue to eat sweet things, regardless if they are artificially sweetened, you will continue to crave sweet food.
- You will also find that the less sugar you eat the more you will enjoy food that isn’t sweetened. It’s like your taste buds have changed.
Having a plan and goal in place to eat less sugar will not only help you stay on the path for less inflammation, therefore fewer diseases but it will lead to a healthier, active lifestyle for years to come!