Some of you may know that last year I gave up alcohol for a year, just to see if I could, and I did, still haven’t had any because a worthy occasion hasn’t come up yet but this year I thought I should give up something else, again, just to see if I could. I chose added sugar, and it is really, really hard!
Sugar similarly to alcohol has no health benefit beyond a calorie. Whether it’s cane sugar, molasses, agave syrup or a artificial sweetener there is no vitamin or mineral in the stuff which makes you say, “I’m so glad I ate healthy today with that big bowl of sugar I ate!” However it does make you crave more of what you are eating and therefore we tend to overeat when there is added sugar in things, think that second helping of birthday cake or that dessert you just had to have even though you are full from dinner. Apart from the fact I might eat less and therefore possibly loose some weight, I also gave it up because research is now linking an increased intake of sugar with chronic systemic inflammation, hormone disruption, leptin resistance (the signals that tell your brain it’s full), gut microbiome disturbances and more.
I tell you this, not to make you feel bad that you aren’t able to give something up too but to give you awareness. Especially with Easter coming up, it’s very easy in the spirit of things to give and eat too many chocolates. So if you are giving chocolate away this Easter, opt for the good quality high cocoa/low sugar versions and if you are receiving chocolates, save it in the back of your cupboard and dish it out sensibly over time rather than pigging out or give a non chocolate gift instead! Furthermore I challenge you to look up websites about the harmful affects of sugar and educate yourself. Website such as ‘I quit sugar‘ and ‘TheWhole30‘ are great places to start and are an easy read, they have a lot of free info on the websites but also have a book if you want to read all about it from start to finish.
One last thing before I sign off today, I really don’t know if I am going to make it the whole year, I had no idea how many things sugar was added to and how addictive it is! I am still allowing myself small amounts of natural sugars from whole fruits and vegetables because that is the type of sugar packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals, but even with that small allowance, it is still really, really hard! Wish me luck and next time you’re in for a visit perhaps don’t mention that amazing dessert place you went to on the weekend!