When anyone mentions giving up sugar from their diet altogether, a common reaction is disbelief or incredulity due to the sheer severity of dietary strategy being attempted.
In fact, if the title of this article scares the wits out of you, then it's probably for the best.
That's because quite possibly of all the things that you are eating or drinking, those containing refined sugar are the ones you really need to quit if you are going to really make big improvements to your general health.
That might sound a pretty easy thing to do on paper, but it reality it will be something that will certainly test you. However, it's a test you really want to pass for loads of very good reasons.
Here we are going to look at why you need to quit eating so much sugar in your diet and ways in which you can achieve that seemingly difficult task!
Why Sugar is Bad for You
There have been countless medical and scientific studies into the properties of refined sugar (sucrose) and how its ingestion affects the physical health of people. Many of these studies were focused mainly on the effects of sugar on people's weight, since there has been an explosion in the rise of obese people in recent decades.
Many processed foods that are purchased in high volumes at supermarkets and food stores contain high levels of sugar or sugar substitutes, the most pervasive of of those being High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Large numbers of consumers are unwittingly adding to their daily sugar intake by eating these foods and as the pounds pile on, they wonder why it is happening to them.
This is not helped because it is not easy for the majority of consumers to calculate the amount of sugar as fructose from HFCS they are ingesting and many of course don't even give it a second thought. It begs the question,
"Actually, is high fructose corn syrup the worst cause of obesity?"
But these studies gave rise to further experiments to determine how other areas of health are affected by our love for all things sweet. Here are some of the findings put as concisely as possible and in general terms to facilitate easy reading.
Unused Sugar Becomes Fat
Apart from the obvious weight gain that people experience from ingesting moderate to high levels of sugar (including that derived from high fructose corn syrup), it was discovered that the body deals with this kind of sugar in a certain way that makes it all the more dangerous to long term health.
Fructose is processed in the liver and a percentage of the resulting glucose (which is the result of breaking down the fructose into its usable constituents by the body) is released into the blood stream to be used as fuel for muscular activity.
That which is not used for energy is converted to visceral fat which is then distributed around the body and deposited in major organs as well as in the belly area (which is where it got its common name of "belly fat" from) and also in the liver itself.
Another side effect of the processing of refined sugars is in the way in which the body deals with high levels of these sugars. Insulin is the hormone that is secreted by the pancreas to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat in the body.
It is insulin that causes the cells of the organs, fat and muscle tissue to soak up the excess glucose in the blood and store it in these tissues as glycogen. When levels of glucose are relatively steady, there is no problem and its business as usual for the bodily functions.
It is when there are frequent large spikes in the amount of glucose entering the blood stream that the resulting spikes in insulin production over the long term can cause problems relating to the build up of insulin resistance. This can result in the formation of pre-diabetes and on to type 2 diabetes.
Another form is insulin failure where the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin and type 1 diabetes or diabetes mellitus results.
This can only occur when the person is frequently eating or drinking products containing high levels of refined sugars or what are known as high glycemic carbohydrates (these are generally refined carbohydrates that release their sugars rapidly into the blood stream) or consuming them in large amounts often throughout the day.
This happens most often when people drink sugary carbonated drinks (soda) because the sugar in them is so rapidly taken up by the body, but it is not confined to drinking soda. Eating candy bars, chocolate, biscuits and cookies, cakes, pie, bread and pasta and white rice for example all produce a rapid rush of sugars being processed into glucose.
This in itself is bad news because the cells that contain visceral fat secrete a hormone that has been discovered to stimulate certain kinds of cancer cells into rapid growth. It has also been discovered that sugar itself is the fuel that boosts the growth of tumors, most notably in cases of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
So in a double whammy, consuming high levels of sugar increases your risk of certain cancers and then promoting the growth and spread of those cancers in the body. The obvious and sensible solution is therefore to eat and drink less sugar. But that may be easier said than done!
Going cold turkey on foods and drinks that contain refined sugars is one way of drastically reducing the health risks whole also making massive inroads to combating levels of overweight and obesity. It involves getting rid of all these food and drink products from your home so temptation will not be placed in your way.
It sounds really tough and for the first few days it probably will be. But once you get over the initial feeling of loss at no longer eating and drinking so many of the unhealthy things that you used to, it gets much easier and before too long you will wonder why you ever force-fed yourself with so much unhealthy junk!
The alternative to cold turkey is the progressive reduction in consumption of high sugar food and drink products.
This is often seen as the easier road but it has its drawbacks in that there are still many temptations lying around the house. In times of tiredness, stress or boredom, it is way too easy to sneak out to the kitchen and consume some of the items you have stored away.
Either way, the end result must be the elimination of most of the high sugar products from your home and from your diet.
The transformation that is in store for your body over the coming weeks will certainly be worth the initial discomfort because you will be amazed at how much weight you will lose, how many inches you will lose from your waistline and thighs as well as from all areas of your body. There is also the factor of how much better you will feel because despite the reduction in all that glucose, you will actually feel like you have much more energy throughout the day.
Results: The Most Pleasing Conclusion
This all may seem like a pretty big deal to you and all the while you may be thinking to yourself that you probably could achieve a greatly reduced intake of refined sugar.
After all, it's your health that we're talking about here and what it boils down to is that you get to choose how healthy you can be. It's therefore up to you to choose to take the advice given in this article and the reasons why the advice was given and implement it or not as the case may be.
If you have any doubts about any of this, please consult with your doctor. While this information has been well researched and helpfully presented, it ultimately represents solely the opinions of the author.