It starts from a young age. Breakfast cereals. ‘Healthy’ bars. Yoghurts. Things we believe are healthy, packed full of sugar, preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings. How do we tell if something is actually good or not?
Easy, look for the 5 Star Health Rating found on products, then you can’t go wrong. I wish this were the case. I wish that you could believe that the advice and information given was clear and correct. It simply is not…at all.
Let’s take just one food as an example. A breakfast cereal, All Bran. 5 star health rating. Must be good for you, right??? 85% wheat bran and the rest, sugar and a few fortified vitamins and minerals, in fact, by weight it is 16.7% sugar. That is 7.5g of sugar per serve (and let’s face it who stops at a single serving size of half a cup) which would be over 2.7kg of sugar a year.
So, based on this should you be using the 5 start health rating to guide you on what you should and should not eat? Still not convinced? What about an apricot muesli bar, 4.5 star health rating, 15.6% sugar, have one of these a day and you would have over 1.7kg of sugar a year.
So now we are over 4kg of sugar, or over 100 cans of coke, a year from just breakfast and a little snack. That’s not sugar from fruit or dessert, or soft drink, that is just from two foods we see as healthy.
The thing about sugar is it has addictive qualities. Have you ever tried to stop? Gone through the battles in your head, the angel telling you that you don’t need it, it’s not good for you and the demon convincing you it’s not that bad, you deserve it, it tastes so good…it has a 5 star rating.
These battles go on in everyone, every day. When we try and make a lifestyle change and eat better, sugar should be the first thing to eliminate and is one of the hardest. Motivation will get you started, belief will keep you going, belief that it is the right thing to do, belief it is affecting your health and well being. So here are the facts.
Sugar increases the risk of diabetes, impairs learning and memory, contributes to weigh gain, causes tooth decay, increases likelihood of Asthma, destroys good gut flora, decrease immune function, promotes inflammation, increases cholesterol, increases risk of heart disease, increases risk of cancer and increases rate of ageing process.
So what can we do to reduce our sugar intake? Start by swapping out foods that have sugar for a healthy alternative. Swap your breakfast cereal out for an omelette of eggs, tomato, mushrooms, spinach and avocado, or a smoothie with berries, almond milk, egg whites and greens powder. Swap your muesli bar snack out for a tin of tuna, a few strawberries and a few almonds or a boiled egg and some coconut yoghurt with fresh berries.
Eliminating soft drink, and avoiding desserts and pastries weekdays as a minimum. If you really enjoy your desserts, save it for the weekend, look forward to having it and enjoy it, but once or twice a week, not every day. Start slow, start with one thing at a time and do this for a week, or as long as you need to, before trying the next thing.
It can be hard, but you will soon realise you have more energy, you don’t need the sugar ‘pick me up’, your skin will clear up, you will be happier, your performance will increase, you won’t feel as ‘achy’ on the joints and remember the risks up above, they will all decrease! Don’t delay, do it now, it will change your life, and remember I am here to help if you need!