Ok, so there are loads of reasons that sugar is bad for you! So how do you go about firing that sugar out your diet? The evidence against that sweet white substance is piling as high as the empty wrappers from a raided box of Quality Street on Christmas day. To name a few of the scary consequences sugar has in store for your body:
- Weight gain,
- Emotional imbalances
- Mood swings
- Fatty liver syndrome
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes,
- Nervous system complaints
- Childhood behavioural issues and attention span deficiencies
- Foggy brain
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay…
Studies are now revealing sugar even has a part to play in Alzheimer’s disease too!
And so the list goes on and on.
Apart the effects of sugar and its link to Alzheimer’s disease, I knew about all the consequences from over consumption of sugar back when I was a sugar addict, and I was busy ransacking any and all sugar stashes that could be found anywhere, (kid’s lunch boxes, friends’ choccy birthday presents, you name it!) But you know what? I didn’t CARE! (Well, at least, not when I was in the middle of a sugar urge!). Afterwards I would care a bit.
And then by the next morning, I would care a lot. In fact sometimes the next morning, I would feel a bit scared about how that sugar had got me in its grip and how my health (and waistline!) would probably begin to suffer. I would then resolve to not have any sugar that day, and, you know what?- this strong resolution could be repeated every morning for months. But I found myself in a ‘holding pattern’ of resolution, followed by a seemingly irresistible urge later that same day like it was the very first time, and it would happen every single day!
I’d get to about 4 pm, and I wouldn’t care again...I’d have a variety of very clever answers lined up to defend my decision to eat all the sugar I could happily forage. The only thing I would draw the line at was sponge…there was no point in it somehow…not enough sugar to justify its existence in my opinion. Anything else was more than fair game though. Like most of us I was a chocolate bar girl, but I also had a few specialities that were my go-to faves that I’d splurge on when the mood took me.
But really, there wasn’t much that interrupted my addictive sugar cycle in those years, apart from when it came time to shift the excess sugar pounds…I was quite good at abstaining then for a little while, as vanity prevented me from putting on too much weight…(and when I say that…I mean, the last time I lost weight, it was 4 stone!) Vanity is a great motivator in my opinion and I have never judged anyone who came to me for help just because she wanted to look better…the world would be a very miserable place if we didn’t care at all what we looked like…but there was another edge to vanity that would literally become a life saver for me.
And it came about after I read a little article about skin ageing. And the number one substance responsible for ageing your skin? You guessed it…sugar! Simply put, it’s the way sugar attaches to proteins that creates new molecules called advanced glycation end products (I love the fact that the acronym is AGEs for short!). This was an article by a dermatologist in Miami, Fredric Brandt, MD, writing for the British Journal of Dermatology. And it made me THINK! I mean really think! It makes sense to me, that if you keep on yo-yo dieting, then your skin will eventually lose its elasticity, and become a bit saggy, of course. But to find out that collagen and elastin fibres (responsible for skin’s elasticity) are the very ones that are most vulnerable to damage from sugar? Well. That’s worrying isn’t it? In a nutshell this means that even if you don’t put weight on…your skin will STILL age at a rapid rate.
It suddenly felt like sugar was attacking me from the inside in more ways than I realised. Almost overnight it became one side-effect too many to put with, and in a funny way, it finally showed me that in no uncertain terms, sugar was a poison for me. So I stopped eating it. It took me a while to realise and wake up to the fact I was actually an addict, (it actually took me a couple of years altogether to put that old addiction to bed once and for all, but that’s another story!) and it taught me all I know about the sugar habit today…I had some stuff to work through with it, but I succeeded eventually. I just don’t touch the stuff now and I honestly don’t miss it these days.
Even if you’ve been a sugar girl (or boy!) for ever, don’t worry, there’s still so much you can do to get your body back on track and re-gain your youthful glow (and energy!). The best thing you can do for yourself and to protect your skin is to fire that sugar out your diet and out of your life! Not just chocolate, and the kids lunchbox goodies, but sugary yoghurts, bread loaded with sugar and high sugar fruits too. Sugary drinks are probably the worst for you, as they are often empty calories.
There are other, more positive steps you can take too…
1. Eat lots of anti oxidants, as they actually protect your skin from damage (internal as well as external sun damage!) Such as nuts, green leafy veg, nut butters ( which are great for the vitamin E too), green tea, red peppers, blueberries and strawberries. Beetroot and anything rich in selenium such as prawns and brazil nuts.
2. Eat your fats as they are also amazing for your skin…if you’re too nervous to go for the bacon fat or chicken skin, then at least enjoy your butter and cream as they are loaded with vitamin E that drenches your skin cells in plumpness from the inside! Coconut oil is wonderful for your skin, as is oily fish too!
3. I would suggest taking a magnesium supplement…but then I usually do, as we often don’t get anything near enough in our diets! It will help your nervous system no end, especially in women over the age of 45.
Since losing the weight for the last time 8 years ago, it has put me on a bit of a mission as far as sugar is concerned, I have to say, as I can see just how many of us are at the mercy of sugar urges!