Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Why you should reduce sugar and carbohydrate intake

With the weather turning colder, it is time to get into supporting our bodies with good food, keeping ourselves warm, getting good sleep and supporting the immune system to get through the winter.  We may also feel the hunger more, especially in the evening as we get home and waiting for dinner to cook.  Picking on the wrong foods at this time even though you eat well all day is usually the culprit in piling the winter pounds on and compromising your immunity.  To make it easy to eat well, do not stock up on high sugar foods like soft drinks, lollies, muesli bars and biscuits or foods that convert to sugar easily, also known as high glycemic load carbohydrate foods– like bread and chips.  Yes, although chips are savoury, it still piles on the pounds, from the ease at which it converts to sugar from the processed carbohydrate.

Sugar dampens our immune system, and the more processed the food, the faster it converts to sugar. A can of soft drinks can have up to 9 teaspoons of sugar in it.  New Zealanders on average consume 50.5kg of sugar per person per year or 32 teaspoons of sugar a day!  This is in stark contrast, exceeding by a large margin the World Health Organisation recommendation of 4 teaspoons per day!  A lot of the sugar consumed is not from the act of picking up the spoon and adding sugar to your drink.  It is hidden in processed foods and drinks. To avoid the sugar menace, the best strategy is to keep to fresh, unprocessed foods.  Sugar excites the opiate centres in our brain and the more you have it, the more you want it.  It becomes an addiction.

Fruits and vegetables contain sugar, that is naturally occurring in them.  When you consume them whole, it does not create as much havoc, although fructose from fruits may still create problems for people with fructose mal-absorption. 

Many think that the answer to reducing sugar intake is artificial sweeteners.  Artificial sweeteners, in my view, are a bigger menace than sugar.  It burdens your liver and creates problems for your nervous system.   The simple solution to reducing sugar intake is keeping to fresh, whole foods.  Problems from artificial sweeteners range from stomach discomfort to dizziness and low cognitive function.

Five perceived “Healthy” foods you need to give up if you want to lose fat:

-         Wholemeal bread
-         Yoghurt
-         Potatoes/ spuds
-         Fruit juices
-         High fibre breakfast cereals