It’s as clear as daylight – to lose weight and to get healthy, you need to eliminate sugar from your diet! But some people do not see any results even with cutting out refined white sugar completely, and that’s because white sugar is not the only way sugar is flooding your body. Experts say that an average person consumes up to about 22 tablespoons in a single day! We see you shaking your head in disbelief because there’s no way you are adding that many tablespoons of white sugar into the daily morning coffee mug! So, how is such a huge amount of sugar making its way into your diet? That’s because a major percentage of sugar consumption comes from processed and packaged food that you pick off grocery stores and supermarket aisles! There are of course guidelines on how sugar can be added to food, but companies do manage to find loopholes and add heaps of sugar to their products to appeal to the tastebuds of consumers and also to make their food hyperpalatable. Now, here’s the problem – overconsumption of sugar is linked not only to type 2 diabetes, it also heightens the risk of obesity, hypertension, and heart disease apart from making losing weight extremely difficult. There are plenty of food items that we consume as staples in our daily diet, which unfortunately, contain surprisingly high amount of added sugar. Sugar in all its forms, triggers a sharp jump in blood sugar and insulin, and this blood sugar regulating hormone, also encourages the body to convert and store all those extra calories into fat. Here’s what you can do to avoid chronic diseases and weight gain – eliminate sugar containing food items as much as possible and the first step towards this goal would be to identify how sugar is hiding in your daily food products, and how food companies are finding different ways to hide sugar in your food. Read on:
Why Give up Sugar?
When you cut down sugar from your diet, you will lower the chances to develop chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. It will also give your body a chance to heal inflammation and repair damaged cells and tissues. Though sugar tastes sweet and appetizing, it creates an addiction sort of behavior by triggering the reward center of the brain that releases feel-good hormones like opioids and dopamine. As we have mentioned above, too much sugar triggers a lot of undesirable chemical effects such as headache, hormonal changes, insulin resistance, diabetes, and above all, fat storage and eventual weight gain. Refined sugars can quickly spike up blood sugar in the body and that’s when the “feel good” factor sets in, but then the drop in blood sugar levels after the initial spike will drain out your energy. The biggest issue is when the body converts the excess sugar into fat which it can use later in case of a crisis. This is exactly what leads to weight gain and that’s where the importance of cutting down sugar comes into play if you want to seriously lose weight. When you give up sugar, you may have temporary symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, brain fog, and mood swings; however, within a few days, the body adjusts to the “no sugar phase,” and you would see remarkable changes in your physical health. Also read: “How To Lose Weight While Eating More Food.”
1. No more mood swings!: When you cut back on added sugar which your body gets through candies, cookies, cakes, processed and canned food items, packaged food, you will be doing yourself and your body a huge favour because it would mean low insulin spikes, less inflammation in the body, and almost nil mood swings.
2. Your Skin Would Glow and look Younger: Cutting down sugar will have an amazing reaction on your skin because insulin spikes caused by high refined sugar in the body causes inflammation of skin which leads to premature ageing, wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone. If you want to look 10 years younger, then the first thing you should do is eliminate sugar from your system. Sugar in the bloodstream leads to a process called “glycation,” in which sugar molecules damage the collagen and elastin (responsible for suppleness and firmness) in our skin. Cutting down glucose will eliminate insulin spikes which will eventually lower down inflammation of the skin and you can get your youthful glow back within two weeks. So, when you cut back on sugar, you can say bye bye to acne and wrinkles for as long as you want.
3. Get a Goodnight’s Sleep Every Night: Haven’t we all heard about “sugar rush” in kids, to the point that parents dread giving children sugary treats to their kids close to their bedtime. And that’s because it’s hard to fall asleep and have a goodnight’s sleep when there is a high amount of sugar running in your bloodstream. So, cut down the sugar and sleep tight guys.
4. Get Lean and Lose Weight: The biggest benefit of cutting down refined sugar is weight loss! If one consumes more sugar, the body will convert the glucose from sugar source to fat and store it for later use. By cutting down sugar, you will not be providing the body fuel for fat storage (glucose) and with strict exercise and diet routine, you would be able to shed weight really well and get your dream body and goal weight quickly.
5. Keep PCOD under check: As we all know, PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) is a lifestyle disease as much as it is a hormonal disorder. High sugar levels is the major reason for PCOD. High sugar levels means high insulin release which is needed to store glucose in the cells. Constant rise in sugar levels in the body would eventually make cells resistant to insulin and they would stop responding to the hormone insulin and one would end up getting PCOD and diabetes. So, the solution is saying bye to sugar and processed food, instead switch to whole, unprocessed and unrefined foods without preservatives.
6. Prevent Life-threatening Diseases: Cutting off sugar completely from the diet will automatically reduce your risk for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, hormonal disorders, etc. When you eat sugary goodies, the insulin level rises in the body and it eventually leads to high blood pressure, inflammation. High blood pressure can lead to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, etc. Sugar also raises triglyceride levels (bad fats) in the blood which are also responsible for heart attack and stroke.
7. Reverse Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetic Situation: Low sugar means the constant state of insulin spikes in your body will decrease and your body will be able to regulate and utilize glucose better. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but the cells do not use it properly and there’s an excess of glucose always in your bloodstream. With zero refined sugar, you can reverse insulin resistance and the pre-diabetic situation effectively.
8. No more Cavities: Every toothpaste advertisement out there claims to fight cavities “caused by sugary treats.” Now, that’s the key, when you go without sugar, there’s no more cavities, right, it’s that simple!
9. No more Belly Fat: Do you guys know that though insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar levels in the body, it is also a fat-storage hormone which helps the body to store fat predominantly in the belly region. Once you go without sugar for 15 days, along with regular exercise and dieting, slim waist is in store for you.
10 Ways Food Companies are Hiding Sugar in your Food:
1. Giving it a non-sugar sounding complex name: You would be surprised to know that sugar can be easily disguised under different names. Crystalline fructose, Dextrose, fructose, galactose, lactose, maltose, diastatic malt, agave nectar, caramel, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, are all forms of sugar, which are all processed in the same way by the body as white sugar. The next time you go grocery shopping, make sure you steer clear of these “48 Different Names for Sugar That Have Been Added Sneakily in Processed Food.”
2. Claiming they are giving you a Healthier Alternative: Brown sugar, agave nectar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit concentrates, etc., are promoted as better and healthier alternatives in food products to white sugar, but they all cause blood sugar jumps and insulin spike, they are in no way better than refined sugar.
3. Push Them in “Diet” Friendly and Healthy Food: Sports drinks, protein bars, granola, diet fizzy drinks instant oats, salad dressings, packaged fruit juices, peanut butter, can sometimes contain heaps of sugar and some of them are even promoted as weight-loss friendly and healthy!
4. Converting Sugar Into Liquid Form: Canned fruits, which many think are healthy, come drenched in sugary syrup (made by dissolving loads of sugar in water). Another liquid form of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, is more harmful than regular sugar because it increases appetite, causes metabolic dysregulation, and a study says even moderate consumption of corn syrup can promote tumor growth. Candies, soda, fast food, sauces, ice cream, packaged cereals, jams, syrups, may contain HCFS, so avoid them.
5. Different Forms of Sugar: Agave nectar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, liquid glucose, maltodextrin, malt extract are all different forms of sugar that are added in packaged and processed food.
6. Combining Smaller Quantities of Different Sugar: To avoid listing out sugar as a major ingredient in their products, food companies cleverly combine different forms of sugar in smaller quantities so that they can be listed out towards the end of the ingredients list. Make sure you google out every ingredient list to avoid many different forms of sugar getting into your body.
7. Making Sugar-Free Versions: We do think that “sugar free” is usually zero added sugar; under FDA rule, packaged foods and drinks should have no than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving (and it’s all about refined sugar), but food companies use honey, agave nectar, corn syrup to add sweetness to their products, and they are all forms of sugar.
8. By Adding Flavours To Products: Though milk and yogurt are healthy, food companies add heaps of sugar in their flavourful versions to appeal to the customers, with the “healthy” tag intact on their products.
9. In Low-Fat Stuff: Beware of “low-fat” processed food because they often contain added sugar to improve flavour and taste of fat-free products. Believe us, full-fat versions would be a much better bet for your health than low-fat processed food.
10. Cutting Down Portion Size: Many times, the serving size is very less compared to what is consumed by an average person. While the amount of sugar in these smaller serving sizes mentioned by the companies might be low, we tend to eat two or three times that amount in one sitting. So, do check the complete nutritional profile and serving size of processed food to avoid this trip.
These were some ways sugar sneaks up in your daily diet, preventing you from losing weight, apart from creating a host of health problems. If weight loss is on your mind, do check out the Rati Beauty diet which shows you how eating right can make you lean, healthy, and fit. Download the Rati Beauty app for more details.