Going sugar-free seems to be the hottest diet trend of 2015, but are the benefits worth the sacrifice? Brooke Alpert and Patricia Farris, authors of The Sugar Detox, give us 5 reasons why the answer could be yes.
In the UK, the average sugar intake for adults is 11.6% of total calories, and for children it is 15.2% - far higher than the recommended 5% that campaign groups are calling for. We all know that a diet high in sugar can cause obesity so lose the sugar and lose weight.
Raw sugar, along with hidden sugars in packaged foods and drinks and refined grains, are absorbed into the blood stream quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar. Although this sudden spike in blood sugar levels can perk you up for a short time, the long term result is often a general feeling of tiredness and lethargy. Cutting sugar out of your diet leads to a more consistent blood sugar level, leaving you feeling energised for longer.
Do you crave a sweet treat after meals, or to lift your mood? The ‘highs’ that come with eating sugar can be highly addictive meaning that people often complain of suffering from sugar cravings and mood swings when they haven’t had a hit of their favourite sweet treat. Many who have kicked their sugar habit have commented on how giving up sugar has put an end to unwanted behaviour such as needing something sweet after meals and has improved their sense of wellbeing.
The chemical processes that occur when blood-sugar levels are high have been shown to affect the natural collagen and elastin in our skin, leaving it saggy and wrinkled. So excess sugar, like sun damage, is another reason why some people’s skin ages quicker than others.
Whilst it is widely known that a diet high in sugar can cause obesity, it is now also linked to a wide range of other serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes poor brain development in children, cataracts – even Alzheimer’s
It can be difficult to watch your sugar intake with all the processed foods on offer. One solution is to make fresh, well-balanced meals from scratch. The Sugar Detox includes over fifty simple and carefully balanced low-sugar recipes, from nutritious vegetarian breakfasts, like spinach-egg muffins, to filling dinners, like herb-roasted chicken. Using their expertise in nutrition and working with guest chefs, they have devised each one to make sure it is not only delicious but also free from refined sugar, and well-balanced to avoid blood-sugar spikes.