Hi Friends! I’m Olivia, and today I am going to be chatting with you all about sugar. With so much controversial media out there about sugar and its effect on our bodies, it can be hard to decipher what’s true and what we really need to know. In this post I am going to touch on some of the important bits of information that everyone should know about sugar and how it works in the human body.
First, I want to point out that natural sugars that occur in natural, whole foods such as fruits and various carbohydrate sources are necessary in our diet. The naturally occurring sugar found in carbohydrates includes glucose, which is the brain and body’s main source of fuel. Insulin is the hormone we often associate with sugar, and often there is a negative connotation associated with insulin. This is likely because of its connection with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, what we often fail to realize is that insulin, like sugar, is a necessary hormone that controls blood sugar and stores energy for us to use for exercise and everyday tasks. Important note: eating a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates such as refined grains such as white flour, white bread, processed baked goods, and white pasta increase the amount of glucose uptake into the bloodstream, which then gets stored as fat and increases the risk for diet-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Now, to address type 1 and type 2 diabetes briefly: Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed early in life and is a chronic disease in which the pancreas fails to produce insulin, and therefore the body is unable to process insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when glucose cannot bind to insulin, leading to excess sugar circulating the blood stream. The best part of type 2 diabetes is that it can be prevented by making healthy diet changes, exercising frequently, and implementing de-stressing routines into your everyday life! To learn more about type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how to control glucose intake for optimal, healthy results, go ahead and watch Vas and Megan’s “Let’s Talk Sugar” workshop, featured on the ESO Live Well website under Holistic Kitchen posts!
For all you ladies reading this post, this tidbit I’m about to share will help you SO much. Imagine it’s the time of month you get your period. You’re bloated, have uncomfortable cramps and are lethargic. All you want is to carb load and eat massive amounts of sweets, am I right?! Well, next time your period is coming up, I urge you to eat as clean as possible with as little sugar as you can. Use this as a little experiment to see how much your PMS symptoms improve – trust me, it’s life-changing. Having excess sugar circulating the female body is especially dangerous, as explained in detail by Vas and Megan in the “Let’s Talk Sugar” video, which I really encourage you watch to learn even more about how the different hormones function in the body. As a general rule, us gals should be keeping our sugar intake relatively low, and I can’t stress enough how good it feels to eat a clean diet and have minimal period symptoms! I love the power of
nutrition so much – a properly nourished body works in perfect harmony with the body’s internal fluctuations, and allows us to be energized, satiated and to live joyously with minimal disease.
So, you may be asking yourself how much sugar should you be consuming for an optimal homeostatic balance? First, make sure that you are reading food labels. A how-to guide to reading food labels is demonstrated by Vas and Megan, which is so helpful and important for a holistic education on sugar. Try to always obtain your sugar intake from whole fruits (not canned fruit, not juice from concentrate) and whole grains, rather than anything refined or processed, as many of these products contain high amounts of added sugar. Also, try baking your own treats! This way you know how much sugar you’re adding, and you can try different sugars other than refined sugar, such as coconut sugar, monk fruit sweetener, or mashed bananas as healthy alternatives. There are so many inspirational food accounts all over Instagram, and if you have the app I highly encourage you to search for “refined sugar-free desserts” and save them! There are treats like peanut butter rice krispies, healthier twix, chocolate covered pretzels, chickpea blondies (don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em!) and so much more – have fun in your kitchen!
Hope you all learned something new about sugar and its effect on the body! Be sure to check out the full video to learn all the details of how sugar and hormones work together, disease related to too much sugar intake, and additional specifics of sugar intake recommendations.