Monday, 9 January 2012

Sugar is evil

Eating healthy foods isn't as hard as what most people make out.  It doesn't require a strict regime or guide, but there is one food above all others that should be avoided as much as possible.  Sugar.

Lowering consumption of fats has been big since the 80's.  Saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats...we were told to cut down on the amount of fat we ate.  I'm actually a big fan of unsaturated fats (olive oil is amazing) and some saturated fats (full milk, cheese, meat fat, eggs...yum yum).  They fill you up, stop that hungry craving feeling, and play an important role in our daily health.

Sugar on the other hand, especially refined sugar, has no purpose other than tasting good and giving us a rapid overdose of energy leading to rapid fat storage.  It's the food version of crystal meth.  And it is addictive.  I should know, because I've always fought my own sugar addiction.

I'm not saying you can't eat sugar.  Natural sugars can play a role in our diet, but even they shouldn't be consumed in excess (orange juice is a good example).

The research is in and it looks like overeating of refined sugar has more to do with obesity and heart disease that fat consumption.

So a simple way to a healthy diet is to dramatically cut back on refined sugar intake.  Soft drinks serve no real purpose, so cut them out completely.  Beer is just as bad.  Treats like cakes and biscuits are nice sometimes, but they should only be eaten in moderation.  You'd be surprised how much sugar is hidden in cereals; be especially careful of those.  I have eaten Vita Brits since I was about 2 years old.  They have no added sugar (only 1.1% natural), compared to a serial like Nutri-grain which has a heart-stopping 32% sugar  w/w.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth is a great video to explain why refined sugar is so bad, and the difference between how fructose and glucose behave in the body and their relation to excess fat.

Aside from sugar, if it takes you five minutes to read the ingredients on the back of the pack of food you are about to shove in your mouth, you shouldn't be eating it.  If you can't pronounce any of the ingredients you shouldn't be eating it either.  Ask Jamie Oliver.  He'd back me up on that one.

Cooking fresh food, even if it contains fat, is far better than eating something out of a packet or that contains loads of refined sugar.  The pure enjoyment of eating a meal that has been cooked with fresh ingredients and herbs is far more satisfying than filling your face with frozen pizza and cola.

Learn how to buy fresh food and walk past the junk food isles.  Learn how to cook fresh food and you will be rewarded with a modest waistline and a clean refined pallet.  Learn to avoid sugar, perform a very modest amount of exercise and you increase your chances of reaching your ideal weight and lower blood pressure.

I'd never recommend that a person diet to loose weight.  Just be sensible, eat the foods you like, but most of all, significantly reduce the amount sugar you eat.  That's not hard is it?  Nothing dramatic, no liquid meals or weeks of drinking carrot juice.

This is one of the first steps (crawling first) that are the way to prepare yourself to survive and thrive.

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