When a food contains all its vital substances (all the necessary nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes to enable it to be broken down, absorbed and eliminated) is it considered healthy and complete (whole)? Sugar needs many nutrients to be involved in energy production; refined sugar mainly contains glucose/fructose, therefore leeching the body of nutrients such as zinc, chromium and magnesium in order to digest and process the sugar into energy within the cells.
When I say ‘Refined Sugars‘ I am talking about ones that are so far removed from their natural product, having gone through so many processes, they can no longer be viewed as natural e.g. white cane sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, processed honey, Agave, xylitol and liquid stevia – yes these are not natural and of no use to your body!
These are the ones I refer to as ‘Natural Sugars‘ – Coconut sugar, ,Coconut nectar, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Dates, Goji berries, Raw Honey and Stevia leaves. These contain many of the nutrients necessary for the body to be able to digest, utilise and convert the sugar into energy.
Below are 5 reasons why Refined Sugars are damaging to the body:
1. Sugar is often hidden in our foods and by trying to reduce refined sugar it often means reducing packaged and processed foods. Anything sweetened by fruit juice or concentrated fruit juice is still just a refined sugar and should also be avoided. Not only is this a key factor in restoring health it may also regulate our acid/alkaline balance within the body (refined sugar is very acid producing), bacterial environment, hormonal balance (especially insulin and cortisol balance), hydration levels and nutrient availability. Not surprisingly all of these areas balanced also plays role in energy production.
2. Sugar needs energy to be broken down as well as providing the nutrients to transform energy. Metabolism affects the way every cell in your body performs. It is not just essential to burn fat but to keep your heart beating and you breathing. Too much sugar in the diet can greatly affect the body’s metabolism. When the body’s blood sugar levels are all over the place and hormone levels are affected the body’s metabolism is slowed down and without all the necessary nutrients the body will start to store energy in the form of fat. Consuming refined sugar is more responsible for weight gain than consuming fat, by a long way. To restore metabolism you have to restore the body’s nutrient levels and fat is a main factor in this.
3. Consuming Refined Sugar affects your mood. Your body is not satisfied with your nutrient intake and with blood sugar levels all over the place, the spikes and lows make your moods also go up and down. You think by grabbing something sweet (or as the media likes to call it – ‘a treat’) it will tie you over till the next meal. This causes a vicious circle. Refined sugar is more addictive than some illegal drugs, yet deemed completely safe. This perpetuates the problem and when you exclude refined sugar it is partnered with strong withdrawal symptoms. There are many people who will tell you to ‘lighten up’ or ‘whats wrong with a little chocolate’ (nothing by the way as long as it is actually chocolate), and the classic ‘You only live once’. Especially when it is about giving refined sugar to children. In fact children consuming refined sugar may experience slowed down growth and metabolism effects; it may affect brain development, their mood and behaviour is affected and it may also distort their view on food and what real food actually is. When switching to real, whole fresh and vibrant food (including natural sugars) many of these aspects of your life are reversed.
4. Refined sugar not only feeds cancer cells (acting in an anaerobic environment, cancer cells need a easy and quick supply of glucose to continue to function) but also the deficit of nutrients that comes with consuming it (see point 1) may cause the cells to change in the first place. When it comes to cancer, cell changing and multiplication is at the heart of the disease. If the body has all the nutrients to build cells, create energy from oxygen within the cells, protect the cells from oxidants and create the right pH for the cells to continue to survive, there is no place or need for the cell to mutate for survival. (see Cancer Is Not A Disease)
5. Refined sugar is no fun, it makes you store excess fat, is implicated in most chronic conditions including PCOS, Fibroids, diabetes, heart disease and of course cancer, especially breast cancer (source). People with diets high in refined sugars experience more illnesses in general because of sugar’s effect on the immune system. It is partly because of the leeching of essential nutrients and partly because of a diet high in processed foods that leads to a deficit in incoming nutrients also. If you are consuming a Real Food diet then you will be eating fresh foods full of the vital substances and therefore fueling a healthy immune system together with strong robust cells, adequate ratio and content of bacteria and at a regular pH for enzyme and chemical reactions. Natural carbohydrates including sugars, healthy fats and good quality proteins will provide all of this. Take small steps and you too can bin refined and processed foods- You only live once!
How to kick sugar cravings and your sugar addiction; Mix Wellness