Why your body and brain are happier without sugar – including sugar free alternatives, other than stevia
- A research study from 2006 suggests that sugar may be directly connected to chronic inflammation. Inflamation including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, acne, headaches, and rashes. Chronic inflammation, which affects a large percentage of the population. Learning to live without added sugar can help reduce the risk of these diseases.
- Refined sugar, such as those found in processed foods, cookies, chips, and cake, actually makes you feel sluggish and lethargic, often creating a subtle sugar hangover, making the body require more sleep and while still feeling less fresh. By giving up sugar, you’re likely to increase your energy, wake up naturally earlier and brighter and feel better than ever.
- Giving up sugar can help achieve a better balance of good gut bacteria. These impacts everything from gas and bloating to diarrhea and constipation. “Sugar and refined carbs feed bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to digestive problems,” explains Jenny Askew, MS, RD, LD, ACSM-EP, integrative and functional dietitian and president of The Nutrition Clinic for Digestive Health.
- Better dental health, happier teeth and gums! According to Healthy Food America, adults who regularly consume one to two sugary drinks per day have 30% more dental disease than adults who consume no sugary drinks.
- Improved meantal health and mood, including less depression. Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages is linked to common mental disorders and depression in findings from the Whitehall II study. The study consisted of non-industrial civil servants, who were recruited in London at age 35 to 55 years. The initial sample size was 10,308 individuals incuding female and male. The result was that higher sugar consumption was linked to higher depression prevalence in several ecological and cross-sectional studies. Some of the reasons given for this are the following which are directly linked to high sugar intake:
- Change in brain chemicals.
- Hypoglycaemia through an exaggerated insulin response which also incluences hormone levels and mood states.
- Addiction-like effects of sugar suggest dopaminergic neurotransmission mechanisms may connect frequent sugar intake with depression.
- The impact of obesity upon body and mind.
Why do we love sugar?
Well we don’t, as it’s actually an acid in the body, but we do love and often benefit from sweetness, and this is where the confusion can come in. We are all biologically programmed to like sweet things. When we eat something sugary, it stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in your brain, which makes you feel pleasure. The brain and body like this feeling and begin to crave more.
However, when processed sugars are utilised, the pleasurable, ‘sugar rush’ moment doesn’t last long and is quickly followed by a ‘sugar crash’, which leaves you feeling tired and craving more sugar and or stimulants. The more sugar you consume, the higher your tolerance becomes, so, you need more. This is where it becomes problematic.
So why is this not good for you? In addition to depression, inflammation, skin issues, lethargy, fuzzy head, poor immune response, when you take in too much sugar, you store the excess amount in your liver in the form of triglycerides, a type of fat that can cling to artery walls as it travels through the bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides contribute to a disease called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is excess plaque along the blood vessel wall, when this plaque builds it causes blockages. Manufactured sugar also appears to lower high-density lipoprotein, which is our ‘good cholesterol’. Both high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis increase your risk of developing heart disease. Adapted from Earlychildhoodireland.ie
The bottom line is that excess amounts of sugar is not good for us; it promote heart risks and drives chronic disease.
Let’s look deeper at the scientific research
Sugar is recognised as the primary driver of the obesity epidemic and has direct metabolic effects that raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart and liver diseases. For example,
Heart disease. Eating 12–30 teaspoons of added sugar per day increases the risk of dying from heart disease by nearly one-third over those who eat less. Eating more than 30 teaspoons increases the risk nearly three-fold. Sugary drinks contribute to more than 52,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease every year in the US.
Diabetes. Drinking just one to two 12-oz sodas per day can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26% and the risk of developing hypertension by 12%. More than 1 in 3 US adults has pre-diabetes, and 40 percent of all children are predicted to develop diabetes in their lifetime. Had there ever been a better time to come off sugar and help your kids do so too? Even for a moth or two so the body can have a break and relax.
Dental decay. Regular soda consumption is associated with nearly twice the risk of dental decay in children. Adults who drink 1-2 sugary drinks per day have 30% more dental disease compared with adults who consume no sugary drinks.
The typical American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day, roughly 50 percent more than is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
People who meet the DGA recommendation to eat less than 10% of calories from added sugar eat less total calories on average, and only about 6% of calories are from added sugar, compared to about 20% of calories from added sugar among the majority of Americans who do not meet the DGA recommendation. Additionally, those eating less than 10% of their calories from added sugar also tend to eat more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, indicating that high sugar intake is associated with an overall lower quality diet.
Source: Bowman SA, Clemens JC, Martin CL, et al. Added Sugars Intake of Americans: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2013-2014. USDA Food Surveys Research Group. Dietary Date Brief No. 18. May 2017
Highlights from studies on the gut microbiome
A study of a pair of 1,000-strong cohorts has strengthened the link between the community of microorganisms that live in the gut and mental health.
Jeroen Raes at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and his team initially looked for links between the microbiome and depression and quality of life in participants in the Belgian Flemish Gut Flora Project. In this cohort, the team showed that two bacterial species were positively correlated with self-reported high quality of life, whereas a third was most abundant in people reporting low quality of life. A subsequent analysis that categorized people as having one of four types of microbiome found that people with depression more often had a type associated with low overall bacterial abundance. Using published genetic characterizations of gut-bacterial metabolic pathways, the team also showed around 50 routes by which various intestinal microbes can produce neuroactive metabolites. Among the pathways, it found an association between higher quality of life and the presence of bacteria that produce a metabolite of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Microbe boosts metabolic health
According to a clinical trial, a daily dose of the bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila might treat metabolic syndrome — a condition that predisposes individuals to type 2 diabetes and serious cardiovascular disease, and that is marked by obesity, high blood pressure, and raised levels of blood sugar, fats and cholesterol. A. muciniphila is abundant in the guts of lean people and its prevalence decreases with obesity. In a proof-of-principle study, Belgian researchers gave people who were insulin-resistant and overweight or obese a preparation daily for three months.
It shosed to have beneficial effects, lowering circulating insulin, total cholesterol levels and decreased insulin resistance. The microbes also reduced white blood cell counts, an indication that there was less overall inflammation.
It is estimated that sugar is added to three out of four of the products found on grocery shelves, however I would see it more likely than to 9 out of every 10 or even 19 out of every 20.
Give it a break today and you’ll find yourself feeling more energised, younger looking, with a clearer mind, better sleep quality and with the feeling of more time in the day.
Join our next Cleanse Revolution starting October 26th and experience with a community the life enhancement and health benefits of cleansing.