By Catherine Cole
By now, you probably know the good, bad and ugly about sugar.
We’ve heard the punch lines. They call it ‘white death’, ‘poison’, ‘diabetes 101’ and more.
And today, we are going to support those punch lines and give you the top five reasons to cut added sugar from your diet.
Now wait a minute, I just want to clear one thing up really quick. Fruit contains sugar, it’s called fructose and it’s a natural sugar. When it really comes down to it, it’s the only good version of sugar and even at that still needs to be consumed in moderation – a couple of pieces at most a day.
Granulated or table sugar, a common pantry staple, has no nutritional value. It contains no minerals, vitamins, fatty acids. Our bodies don’t gain any nutrients or vitamins from added sugar, but it comes with tons of extra calories. It has zero nutritional benefit. Not worth it!
Intake of added sugar can cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is harmful to the body. It predisposes you to getting pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions – increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels – that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
Increased sugar intake has been closely associated with cancer. Cancer is the world’s leading cause of death and is characterised by uncontrolled cell growth. Insulin is one of the key hormones involved with this type of growth. For this reason many scientists believe, elevated insulin levels can contribute to cancer. In addition, metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer.
It is incredibly addictive. When we eat foods that contain added sugars our bodies experience a massive dopamine release in the brain. This is our ‘happy hormone.’ Our bodies learn to associate the intake of sugary foods with this feel good hormone, subconsciously causing us to want to return to this high calorie, no nutrient food over and over again. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t always agree with the saying ‘everything in moderation’. This is a dangerous philosophy for people who are addicted to junk food. In many circumstances the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence. If you know that the consumption of junk food has negatively impacted your body and your health, then you should avoid it. Just as we would not advocate for an alcoholic to consume liquor in moderate quantities, it is dangerous to advise those with junk food addiction to consume it, even in moderation.
Added sugar intake is a leading cause of obesity in both children and adults. Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and a strong association has consistently been shown. Being obese means that you weigh at least 20% more then what is considered a normal weight for your height. It makes you more likely to have health conditions including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, gall bladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis and gout.
I know, I know. This is kind of a bummer to hear all this but we tell you because you need to know. When it comes to health and fitness, knowledge is power and the more you have the easier the journey will be for you.
For these reasons and more, consider cutting added sugar from your diet. It doesn’t offer any nutritional benefit and it can cause tons of health issues. Don’t destroy all of the hard work you do at the gym by indulging in sugary processed foods.
Catherine Cole is a personal trainer at 360 Fitness in Red Deer.