Sugar is the main culprit of most of your health problems, claims so many studies which are often published from time to time. If you have to lose weight, quit sugar. Sugar is the reason for your increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, pre-mature aging, heart disease, stroke, tooth decay and what not.
But is it really bad?
- Should sugar be completely discarded and removed from our life?
- What do we do for kids who love candies, lollies and chocolates?
- What do we do with our addiction for cakes, pastries, even tea and filter coffee?
- What about our craving for coke, our favorite Starbucks coffee and those donuts?
- Don’t we feel like eating that one piece of Gulab Jamun or Jalebi (Indian sweet) lying in the refrigerator after a sumptuous lunch or dinner?
- Is any celebration complete, without desserts?
- Can we really stop after eating one scoop of Ice-cream?
If you are searching for the answers to these questions then don’t stop reading this article till the end. We all know the world and especially we Indians run on “Kuch Meetha Hojaye” (Lets have something sweet). When we are so obsessed with sweets and sugar then “Quitting Sugar” seems impossible.
As per the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day is – “Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) and Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).” So do we really have to quit it or cutting it down to a moderate level is the solution. Check out how many calories does Sugar substitue have in case you want to quit Sugar and switch to other alternatives.
Team Plattershare asked the experts to check if sugar is really bad and is eliminating it completely from your life the ultimate solution? We approached Dr. Priyanka Bakshi – Ph.D. (FST), M.sc (Food nutrition & Dietetics), Senior Nutritionist, Apollo Sugar Clinic, Bangalore; to find out about how can one quit Sugar and is it really worth it. Here is what she had to say:
What is Sugar?
Dr. Priyanka: A sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet, consisting essentially of sucrose (which is made up of glucose and fructose) and used as a sweetener in food and drinks. Sugar is an important part of our lives. It’s not all bad. Anything in excess is bad. There’s no need to avoid the naturally occurring sugars in fruit, vegetables, and low and nonfat dairy products.
Our Study: In alignment to what Dr. Priyanka said, we researched few journals and programs and found that table sugar or sweet salt was mass produced in the 19th century and that’s when lot of food products started adding table sugar. Did you know that the process of converting sugar cane juice into sugar was developed in India! Before that, Indians used honey and natural fruit juices to satiate their sweet tooth. Source – Wikipedia
Why do we crave Sugar?
Dr. Priyanka: Your body may be craving sugar because it is dehydrated. Keep your blood sugar stable. Eating small, healthy, frequent meals throughout the day can stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.
Our Study: Table Sugar (Sucrose) has two main parts: Glucose and fructose, glucose dissolves immediately into blood without much issues in the body. Real problem comes from Fructose, which plays with the blood sugar levels and can be processed only by the liver, thus straining the organ unnecessarily. Fructose also releases “happy hormones” called dopamine and serotonin, which brain treats as a reward and that’s why we celebrate every success with a “death by chocolate” cake. And eat slice after slice of that cake and don’t stop at one mug of beer or one can of diet coke. If you get sugar cravings, satiate it with natural sugar which you can find in fruits rather than gorging on biscuits and candies.
What does quitting sugar really mean and what are its effects?
Dr. Priyanka: You can eat all natural forms of sugar, they are in the form of carbohydrates and their primary role in the body is to supply energy (the body uses them to produce cellular energy). Whether diabetic or non – diabetic natural forms of sugar helps in reducing weight, and makes you feel more energetic and also balances your blood sugar.
Our Study: Quitting sugar does not mean discarding everything which tastes sweet. It means to leave out processed food and switch to natural food which includes fruits, whole grains and vegetables. Once done consciously the body would stop demanding sweet fixes. Weight loss is the instant result which you will see as soon as you quit processed and added sugar. Better mood, high energy, better sleep are few day-to day effects which you will start noticing. Chances of diabetes, heart problems and anxiety would reduce as soon as you quit sugar.
Can we completely cut off Sugar? What happens then?
Dr. Priyanka: Yes, it is really possible to cut all forms of sugary foods like cakes, cookies, chocolate, (Those easily available in market) candy bars, soft drinks, ice creams, desserts and you can also reduce the amount of sugar consumption. Instead of relying on sugar for energy, get more of your calories from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other unprocessed foods. These foods provide more lasting energy, without the peaks and valleys of relying on sugar. For a normal person, the daily requirement of sugar is 25gm for women and 37.5 gm for men according to AHA, if you are taking more than that then more chances to get the diabetes and obesity.
Our Study: Eat natural and raw food which includes fruits, vegetables and yes chocolates are ok too which have high cocoa content. If you can’t live without chocolates then pick the one which have more than 85% of cocoa content. Health issues like PCOS, obesity and diabetics can be cured as soon as one leaves sugar. Wheat flour has 0.3 gram/ 100 gram sugar and rice has 0.4 gram/100 gram of sugar. So cut down processed food and not your wheat and rice, whereas whole wheat breads have approx. 4g/100 gram of Sugar and for a normal person it is absolutely fine to have one or two slices of breads too.
Check food labels for “hidden sugar”: There are various names which are used by food processing companies to fool consumers. Few of the common and not so common names which you should always check before you put a product in your shopping cart are – (Source – Different-words-sugar-food-labels)
Common sugar names
Not so common sugar names