So many people have a view on sugar these days and what position it should hold in our diets. From no added sugar, sugar free, natural sugars, cane sugar, stevia, palm sugar, agave, honey, sucrose, fructose and artificial sweetener it is easy to understand why people become so confused at what road to take and what is okay.
Sugar is added to many items that we consume these days. Basically anything jarred, canned, packaged and processed.
So how on earth is it possible to get away from it?
Some of the foods that are highest in their sugar content include fruit juices, dried fruits and sauces. Some of these items we may even consider healthy. Some may even claim less sugar, reduced sugar or no sugar. But often the ‘no sugar’ label still allows for the addition of sweeteners such as honey or agave.
It is a lesson to read the labelling. Reduced sugar doesn’t mean it is halved in the amount, or decreased substantially, just that it is less than what it used to be.
Why do we need to add sugar to things anyway?
As consumers we have had sugar packed into everything, our tastebuds love it. And it takes training to change the way things taste.
As a previous two teaspoons of sugar in my white coffee drinker, to now a black coffee no sugar drinker, it is proof that you can change your ways. I’m not saying I liked it at first; in fact I basically spat my first sip out and didn’t touch coffee like that again for a few months. But slowly my taste buds have changed, I gave it another go and it wasn’t that bad. But be warned, if you get a burnt and bitter shot of coffee you will know about it.
Do we really need sweetening up?
Sugar can be found in foods naturally, fruit and vegetables can contain natural sugars that provide natural sweetness to our foods. There is no reason to avoid those natural accruing sweeteners. But each to their own, some prefer to avoid these all together based on what plan they follow and their own body.
For me, personally I also avoid them. The inclusion of sweet foods only sweetens my taste buds and encourages me to want more. I don’t want to encourage the cravings, so for me it is best to avoid. For others, that handful of honey roasted nuts that provide that extra sweetness might be enough to avoid the binge, each to their own.
What happens what we remove sugar?
To begin with, you may feel sluggish, you may be tired, have withdrawals and crave. These are all normal for anyone that is used to consuming sugar in its many forms. I am not even saying you need to be addicted and drink a carton of soft drink a day to feel like this, your body can be dependent on a small amount.
So when, or if you choose to remove it, it will be the first couple of weeks that it might be hard. But it gets easier, your taste buds adjust and things become tasty again. A small amount of sweetener is suddenly all that is needed, perhaps half a tsp in your coffee instead of 2, and this is a drastic change.
For me, I avoid sugar most of the time, in particular when I competition prep. When I allow myself to have it, it is as if I am drunk, like a kid high on sugar – I now understand the meaning around kids and red cordial. It messes with my thought process, my heart rate and my metabolism. I don’t sleep well and I cannot focus, endless poor food choices are made and generally open the doors wide open to craving more high sugar foods. Personally, these results on my body only encourage me to continue to avoid it.
Everyone will react differently and be comfortable at a different point in regards to their relationship with sugar and any other food for that matter.
Find what works for you.
Be happy and healthy