There are loads of products on the supermarket shelves claiming to contain all-natural sugar, but it’s important to remember that even natural sugar, is essentially just sugar, with all the same side-effects as any sugar. In fact, a product that claims to contain ‘natural sugar’, could actually be just as unhealthy.
But I need an energy boost!
The purpose of sugar in your diet is important because it can be used for energy, BUT, while we know that sugar can give us a quick energy boost, (particularly when the 3pm energy slump happens!), it’s important to remember that sugar itself doesn’t have any of the essential nutrients we need for long-lasting energy.
Plus, that surge of energy you get usually doesn’t last very long, and can actually leave you feeling even more tired once it wears off.
We also know that sustained use of sugar, and eating a lot of sugary foods, leads to a lot of health problems, especially obesity and diabetes, poorer mental health and depression, ageing, and even some cancers.
Sugar is addictive!
I used to have a sugar addiction and it took me a long time to wean myself of it, but what was interesting was that cutting out sugar improved my mental health. I’d been taking medication for anxiety and depression for about eight years, and I found that taking sugar out of my diet made a huge difference.
Sugar can be found in some surprising places.
Understanding what foods contain sugar, even all-natural foods, is a good place to start if you want to reduce your sugar intake. A lot of products sold as ‘light’ or ‘low-fat’ can contain more sugar than their full-fat varieties, and even savoury foods and sauces can contain a ton of sugar.
Fruit juices are a big one for containing a lot of sugar. You’ll often see people wake up in the morning and have a big glass of juice and if you’re trying to improve your energy and increase your feel-good factor, fruit juice is really one of the worst things you could have, because it’s literally concentrated fruit sugar.
Think about how many oranges go into a carton of fruit juice and, while companies make it seem really healthy like, ‘look how many oranges are in this carton’, you’d be better off just eating the actual orange. You’ll get the mechanical chewing which gives your jaw exercise, it’ll help with enzyme production, it helps with digestion, and you’ll get a lot more fibre.
Cereals and muesli are products that are often sold as ‘healthy’, but they can contain a lot of sugar and be super high in calories, and it’s the same with muesli bars which can seem like a healthy choice for a quick, on-the-go snack, but really they’re not much better than a candy bar.