Sarah Maginn asks our Nutritional Expert Catherine Jeans about the concerns behind refined sugars and why we should be opting for a Sugar Free Diet?
I’ve always considered myself a pretty healthy individual. I eat my 5 a day, cook from scratch, limit my alcohol intake (well to the weekends), I take regular exercise and I’ve never smoked… but… and it’s quite a big BUT… I love sugar! I don’t quite mean eating spoons of the stuff, but put a packet of biscuits in front of me and I can guarantee there will only be a few crumbs left. So should I be considering a Sugar Free Diet?
There’s been so much in the news recently about the concerns of refined sugars that maybe I should be thinking of at least trying to go sugar free. So, after speaking with our Nutritional Expert Catherine, I might need to re-evaluate my sugar intake.
Firstly, I might sound a little dramatic in my opening paragraphs, as Catherine says that there’s nothing wrong with the odd sweet treat (great, I think I’d cry if I had to give it up totally), but if you’re a slave to the sweet stuff and simply can’t get through the day without a sugar fix to keep your eyes open, potentially it could be a teeny weeny problem for your health; and an even bigger one if you continue.
Cancer Research’s Sugar Free February
So, as Cancer Research’s Sugar Free February is in full swing… maybe dare I say it… it’s time for us to step away from the biscuits, put a lid on the sweetie jar and get our partner’s to hide away the remainder of the Christmas chocolate supply! Let’s go cold turkey. Who’s with me?
No… well after chatting to Catherine, I must admit my eyes have been opened and they are Very, Very Wide right now. But if you’re still on the fence about a Sugar Free Diet, read on…
In line with the Sugar Free February campaign, I felt obliged to ask her a little about the impact of sugar and in particular on the concerns for cancer sufferers.
But although there is a lot out there on the subject, especially when you search the internet, we still don’t know for sure whether sugar affects cancer cells. The only factor which appears to be substantiated is that it looks like cancer cells uptake white sugar and carbs much faster than ordinary cells. However, the reason for this is still unclear. We’d always suggest only taking advice on this from your Doctor and only read articles and news items on reputable websites. Have a look here at the Myths of Sugar: Does Cancer Has a sweet tooth.
Why else should we go for a Sugar Free Diet?
So how about from a general health perspective, and in particular something we all want to shift at some point in our lives… that excess belly we didn’t seem to have a few years ago.
Sugar can contribute to fat storage, especially around your tummy. When our blood sugar levels are constantly too high and too low, our body responds by releasing too much insulin, which sends the message to store fat and keep hold of it. By cutting sugar out (and getting the right stuff to replace it), we’re more likely to be able to manage a healthier weight or lose weight if needed.
There’s so many reasons to quit the sweet stuff… from protecting our liver to reducing our risk of type 2 diabetes, protecting us from gout and reducing inflammation. The Sugar Free Diet list continues!
At this point in my conversation with Catherine, I’m thinking of cleansing my kitchen cupboards of all things sugar, especially when I realised how it can impact on our immune systems… which in turn made me think of my kiddies and their snack basket in the top kitchen cupboard.
Sugar can suppress a key immune response known as phagocytosis, our little immunity soldiers who basically swallow, kill and digest invading microbes. If they are suppressed through a large intake of sugar it can take hours for them to recover and resume their microbe busting duties. Meaning regular sugary snacks and sugar binges could also mean an increase in general illnesses, and let’s face it we don’t want that either. My kids really aren’t going to be happy with me when the snack basket decreases in size but I think I’m going to have to tackle it! As they’re only little they get ill A LOT so if there’s something I can do that might help this then I will need to ignore the demands for sugary snacks.
The quest for a Sugar Free, well-balanced diet…
As with everything recommended by our health practitioners, it’s always best to seek advice if you’re planning on making a major health adjustment to your lifestyle. Catherine has been putting her case forward for quite some time on the importance of sugar in moderation and how to opt for a sugar free eating regime sensibly while maintaining a nutritional and well-balanced diet.
If you, like me, feel the need to ditch the addiction, take a look at Catherine’s 30 Day Sugar Detox Workshop now available as an online course. It’s a simple but a highly effective program which teaches you how to provide your body with nourishing foods that support abundant energy, optimal health and well-being while dropping the guilt. Plus it will help our kids… that’s my biggest incentive.
By Sarah Maginn