If you are on the journey of eating whole and healthily, you know by now that processed sugars are not part of your every-day meal plan. But what should we be looking for? And why?
Examples of where to find processed sugars:
Cookies, cakes, and pastries
Pastas, bread, crackers
Pre-made beverages, including tea, coffee, and sports/energy drinks
Cereal & granola bars
Jam & jelly
Some salad dressings and condiments
Some tomato and pasta sauce
Frozen junk food
Effects on Health & Metabolism
The main reason why sugar-based sweeteners are unhealthy is because of the large amounts of fructose they supply. Along with glucose, fructose is one of the two major components of added sugar. The liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.
When the liver gets overloaded, it turns the fructose into fat. Therefore, that fat can affect your liver, contributing to a fatty liver. High fructose consumption is also linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Emotional Attachments & Cravings
Sugar can have an emotional attachment on our moods and feelings - in fact, it's more common than you may realize. Being able to address why you crave these foods can help you shift your habits.
When eating processed sugar, your blood sugar spikes and also promotes fatigue and headaches, whereas low blood sugar can create anxiety and irritability. Altogether, these up-and-down blood sugar spikes and crashes create bad mood swings. Sugar can even act like a drug, triggering your brain reward neurotransmitter, dopamine. Overall, it can have your feelings and emotions all over you the place.
Benefits to eliminating most processed sugar are:
Less mood swings
No chronic inflammation
Reframe from obesity and metabolism syndrome
Promotes weight loss
and so much more.
Don't get it twisted - everything in moderation. A treat or reward meal for yourself once in a while shouldn't impact you dramatically, so there's no reason to panic.
Your homework - take a look at that list. Is there anything you minimize use of in your day-to-day meal plan?