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Is Sugar Making You Sick? Cut it Out!

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By Res-Q editor January 15, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

These days, everyone is talking about the evils of sugar. But what's reality and what's a myth? Get the real scoop  from Dr. Melissa Josselson, a naturopathic doctor on the Res-Q Medical Advisory Board. 

Q: Is sugar really as bad as people make it out to be?

A: Essentially, yes. Refined sugar contains no nutrients and when consumed, is harmful to the body. Sugar:

  • Increases inflammation
  • Suppresses the immune system
  • Increases triglyceride levels
  • When processed in the body, causes  depletion of nutrients
  • Accelerates aging
  • Creates an addictive response in the brain
  • Increases your risk of numerous chronic disease including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Q: Why is liquid sugar particularly unhealthy?

A: Research shows that when liquid sugar, such as soda or sweetened iced tea, is consumed, the body does not register these calories the same way as it does with sugar in solid form. This can cause an increase in appetite and result in more calories consumed later in the day. 

Q: What is the safe daily limit of sugar?

A: According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are: Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons and Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. To put this in perspective, one can of soda contains 39g of sugar.  While these are recommended guidelines, given the harmful effects of sugar mentioned above, I don’t feel there is truly a safe limit. 

Q: How can I reduce my sugar cravings?

A: Once you avoid sugar, you will crave it less and eventually, you may not crave it at all.  That being said, it can be difficult to eliminate sugar when cravings are strong.  Here are some tips:

  1. Keep blood sugars stable. Don’t go long periods without eating. For most people, eating every 3-4 hours is helpful.  Consume balanced meals with protein as this  helps to prevent blood sugar fluctuations and reduces sugar cravings.
  2. Satisfy your cravings naturally with fruit.  For example, try berries with a dollup of coconut whipped “cream” or homemade applesauce with cinnamon. Dark chocolate, with at least a 70 percent cocoa content, is also a healthy dessert option.
  3. You can try stevia to cut back on added sugar. For example, try stevia in your morning coffee. Note: you only need a tiny pinch!
  4. When recipes call for sugar, try substituting spices.
  5. Gymnema sylvestre is an herb that when placed on the tongue blocks your ability to taste sweetness.

Q: Will I notice withdrawal symptoms when I cut back? How long will they last?

A: You may or may not experience withdrawal symptoms.  Symptoms are more likely to occur when sugar was previously consumed in large amounts or was contributing to fungal overgrowth, such as candida.  Possible symptoms can include: fatigue, sugar cravings, anxiety, feeling lightheaded, headaches and irritability.  Usually the first 5 days of sugar elimination are the most difficult and symptoms should improve or resolve within a few weeks. 

Wellness Wednesday

Posted in: Diabetes
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