The lowdown on Refined Sugar.

Fizzy drinks, sweets and cereal are just some of the many sources of refined sugar you may be including in your diet. Refined sugar is packed full of ‘empty’ calories as it provides your body with absolutely no nutrition; making you more likely to pile on the pounds. So put down the chocolate bar and pick up some fruit- you’re sweet enough without all that sugar in you!

Hidden sources of refined sugar

Do you know how much refined sugar you’re eating on a daily basis? Refined sugar can be hidden in the ‘healthy’ food you’re eating, including yogurt, cereal and even soup!

Ingredients to look out for (and avoid!):
Dextrose
Cane juice
Dextran
Fructose
Maltose
Glucose
Maltodextrin
Mannitol

What does refined sugar do to your body?

If you overload your body with refined sugar, your liver will expand and you’ll exceed its glycogen stores. The liver will then convert this excess glycogen into fatty acids and deposit it in other, inactive parts of your body including; bum, hips, stomach & thighs… UH OH.

But cutting down on refined sugar isn’t that easy, considering how addictive it is. When you eat refined sugar, there’s a surge of dopamine in the brain, similar to the effects of taking drugs such as cocaine. The body will then continually seek out sources of refined sugar in order to produce these positive feelings that come from a release of dopamine in the brain- this is why you often try to seek out sugary foods when you’re feeling down. The increased levels of dopamine can also counteract the body’s digestive hormones, causing you to overeat on these sugary, empty calories, leading to weight gain and could cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease… nice!

Having too much glucose in your bloodstream is toxic to the body. It causes the body to stop burning fat and start to burn the glucose in the body, causing insulin resistance, a slowed metabolism (helloooo weight gain!) and type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is also a key hormone for the regulation of cell growth within the body. If your levels of insulin are constantly elevated, there can be rapid growth of the cells within the body, leading to cancer. Studies show that people who consistently consume large amounts of refined sugar are at a higher risk of developing cancer.

 

Refined sugar alternatives

 

What can you eat when you’ve got those sweet cravings?

Fresh Fruit
Dates
Dark Chocolate (without added sugar!)
Coconut sugar
Maple Syrup
Molasses

So, what’s the difference between refined sugar and the sugar found in fruit? Not only does fruit contain much, much less sugar than your average sugary snack, but it is also jam packed full of essential nutrients, minerals and fibre that your body needs- making you less likely to overeat.

I’m not saying you need to give up refined sugar all together, but making mindful changes to your diet will help you cut down on the bad stuff and make better food choices for a healthier, happier you.

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