What is REFINED SUGAR? You probably have an idea. But, I just want to clarify. Some say brown sugar and agave nectar are healthy. But, they are actually highly refined sugars! A sugar is refined if it has been extracted from a food, leaving the fiber (and more) behind. A sugar is also refined if it is distilled or concentrated from its original source. Maple syrup is a good example of a refined sugar that is distilled or concentrated. The sap is removed from the tree, but then 75% of the liquid sap is evaporated off in order to distill the sweetness into a syrup, which has become a highly concentrated source of sugar.
There are also a lot of people out there saying all sugars are bad, including sugar in whole fruit and carrots. I wholeheartedly disagree!
The definition of "refined food" that I think is most useful: a refined food is one that has had something healthy removed from its original form, or it's had something unhealthy added to it. For example, let's talk about corn. As a whole food, corn is not terrible. If you get organic, non GMO corn it's got vitamins. It's got fiber. It's got antioxidants and phytochemicals. But, when you create special strains of corn that are high in starch, remove that starch and convert it into high fructose corn syrup, it's no longer a whole food. And, it's not good for you....you've taken out the fiber, the vitamins, and everything except the starch. It's got no remaining healthy supporting nutrients (besides calories) anymore. Whatever healthy aspects that original corn had, it no longer has.
Brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar...they are all very refined, highly concentrated sources of sugar that are nutrient poor. Which brings me to...
MY TOP 10 REASONS TO SAY GOODBYE TO REFINED SUGAR
- Sugar is addicting. When you eat it, you crave it. Watch the video above to learn more. Eating sugar makes you HUNGRY! When we eat sweet things, we want MORE sweet things. You've probably heard sugar is addicting. It's true. The more you eat, the more you want
- Refined sugar is a major source of empty calories. The bad thing about these is that they don't make us feel full or satisfied. In fact, they can make us MORE HUNGRY (see #1 above)!
- One quarter of Americans' daily calorie intake is from sugar: 514 calories per day. That's a lot! If you could cut that alone out, without replacing those calories, you'd lose 1 pound per week. Honestly, I have worked with many individuals over the years who have simply given up their regular soda and lost a significant amount of weight by doing that alone. How do I know that 500 calories per day is a pound? One pound of fat = 3500 calories...500 calories per day times 7 days per week = 3500 calories in a week not eaten - by giving up refined sugar.
- Get guidance on how to find hidden sugar: refined sugar is lurking everywhere...there are so many different types of refined sugars that go by various names. You need to know what these are in order to pick them out on an ingredients list. For example, would you think that barley malt is sugar? It is! I've created a Step by Step Guide that lists many of these lesser known names for sugar. You can download it FREE here.
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- High Fructose Corn Syrup causes fatty liver disease. This is far more serious than just feeling hungry or overeating. Soda and sweetened drinks are the biggest source of this ingredient, although high fructose corn syrup is everywhere. These days, we even see fatty liver disease in children, and that is obviously not from alcohol consumption. It is from over-consumption, especially of high fructose corn syrup.
- Eating excessive amounts of sugar exhausts the pancreas. If you already have a predisposition for diabetes, ie someone in your family has diabetes or you have insulin resistance, PCOS or pre-diabetes, then excess sugar intake overworks the pancreas. This is a big step toward type 2 diabetes. Eating sugar in and of itself probably does not cause diabetes, but eating more refined sugars challenges your pancreas. If you continue doing this and you are already at risk, your pancreas will eventually poop out. The point at which your pancreas becomes exhausted and can no longer over produce insulin is the point at which you develop type 2 diabetes.
- Excess sugar damages your blood vessels. High blood sugar can cause your blood vessels to become tight and rigid, leading to high blood pressure and poor circulation. When you have poor circulation, that affects all organs including the skin, your largest organ. The structures and proteins that keep your skin looking good don't work right, and you get wrinkles and look sallow.
- One hundred million Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. These are chronic, expensive, sometimes deadly diseases that can be controlled by, or reversed by, using the proper diet or eating pattern. I would love for you to not be part of that 100,000,000.
- Consuming refined sugar causes mood swings. Part of this is due to hunger. First you get the nice sugar high, but then when the blood sugar comes crashing down, you get cranky, crabby and just down right bad mood.
- To get support. The Junk Food Rehab group on FB is a fantastic place for you to get support, and I highly recommend that you join in. It's FREE. What do you have to lose? We know that people who get regular support do better at reaching their nutrition goals and maintaining them. Come on over. I am looking forward to getting to know you!
- Download your FREE Step by Step Guide to the Sugar Free 14 day Challenge. You can start the challenge any time!
- Join the private Junk Food Rehab group for positive, non-judgemental support, useful info and people who understand the struggle and are in it with you.
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