I have a confession to make, I’ve slipped off the bandwagon this week and had WAYYYYY more sugar than I should have so I thought I would write about how sugar affects me and also some healthy alternatives to help you at home. Just a disclaimer, what I consider a lot of sugar for me is probably less than what many people eat every single day, I’m looking at you soft drink-drinkers! My diet is relatively low in sugar to begin with so even having something high in sugar just one day is going to affect me. I’ll be the first to admit, I have no willpower. If something sweet is sitting in front of me, chances are I’ll probably eat it, but if it’s not there, I’m not going to go out of my way to eat it. Understand? If I have sweet things in the house or it’s someone’s birthday at work, it’s really difficult for me to say no. And that’s where my problem lies. I rarely have sweets at home, and if I do, they’re usually ones for my partner, a.k.a the one’s I shouldn’t be eating because of my IBS, so generally at home it’s not difficult for me but I’m human and we all make mistakes. Sugar really affects my body in so many ways so I thought I would share with you what it does to me. Let’s go!
I struggle to sleep
When I have an increase in sugar, I really struggle to sleep that night, especially if the high sugar food has been in the late afternoon or evening. It literally keeps me up for hours and I end up only having 3 or 4 hours sleep, which carries on to another whole chain of issues… moodiness, dull skin, feeling unmotivated…
I CRAVE sugar
It’s a known fact that the more sugar you eat, the more you want it. It’s an addictive substance. That’s why it’s such a hard habit to break. Sugar stimulates a dopamine release in a similar way to Class-A drugs. Scary right? Dopamine is a hormonal chemical that affects our feelings and emotions, making us feel good. Why do you think you crave chocolate when you’re sad? You’re addicted to sugar.
My stress level increases
I would like to think that on a normal day, my stress level now sits fairly low. When I have sugar, it’s a whole other story. I feel like it sits almost at the top and the slightest thing makes it overflow. I can’t think straight and it makes me stress out like a crazy person! Then, when you’re stressed, you’re generally more emotional because you can control your feelings. Mood swings galore!
I eat more of everything
Sugar affects the feeling of being satisfied with your meal. You always have the desire to eat more, even though you’ve just eaten a full meal. I rarely snack any more, my body has gotten used to eating just my three meals a day, I’ll occasionally have a snack or something small after dinner but not really much else. When I have sugar, I want morning tea, afternoon tea and then something after dinner. Way more than I usually eat.
I bloat to the extreme
Anyone who has IBS knows that bloating is a common occurence, and the slightest thing can cause you to bloat, like garlic or onion for example. Sugar also makes me bloat as I’ve learned as of late. Thank goodness I’ve had my Tummy Essential Oil blend from The Oil Adventure (See her Facebook here and Instagram here.) That tummy blend has been my saving grace this week, stopping me from looking about 6 months pregnant!
Now, I thought I would share with you some healthy alternatives to having sugar-filled foods that are only going to cause you to be uncomfortable and unhealthy. Please remember, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian, I am only sharing what has worked for me.
- Increase your healthy fats – eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado etc.
- Make breakfast your biggest meal of the day – fill your plate with protein and lots of veggies like mushroom, spinach, tomato, capsicum and avocado. This will keep you fuller for longer and reduce your need for sugar throughout the day.
- Drink tea in between meals – of course without sugar…
- If you need to snack have something like a small handful of nuts (pecans, macadamia, almonds or walnuts, veggies sticks with humus or avocado), a small amount of steamed/roasted sweet potato with cinnamon sprinkled on top or a low-fructose piece of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit and honeydew melon).
- Drink enough water – at least 2 litres a day! Try adding some lemon, lime or cucumber to your water. It will help your liver and kidneys flush out all the toxins.
- And finally, eat your greens! Spinach, kale, rocket, broccoli, bok choy, swiss chard, zucchini etc. These are a great addition to any meal, they’ll give you SO MANY vitamins and minerals and they’ll help keep you fuller for longer.
I just thought I would quickly share some tips for next time you go shopping.
- Read the labels! A simple equation to help you figure out the sugar content is 4g = 1 teaspoon. It’s recommended to have less than 10 teaspoons of sugar a day, but the average person usually consumes over 30 teaspoons daily.
- There are a lot of foods that have added sugar that you wouldn’t normally think. For example, condiments like sauces and salad dressing, muesli bars, baked beans, cereals, tinned soup, pasta sauce, tinned fruits, muffins, cakes and biscuits. Plus so much more.
- There are so many different names of sugar, so even if sugar isn’t listed as an ingredient, keep an eye out for the following different names of sugar.
I hope that this has helped you in some way, if you have any other suggestions or you’d like to know more, leave a comment. I’d love to hear your feedback!
Until next time,
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