There are a number of things that affect your physical health as well as your mental health. One such thing is a product called sugar.
While sugar affects how you feel physically, it also affects the way you think. It is also now regarded as the Number one cause of obesity.
As this is a huge topic, too big to cover here in full, let me cover some basics.
How many of these symptoms do you suffer from?
How many do your children suffer from?
- Tiredness all the time, especially first thing in the morning.
- Mood swings, fluctuating emotions.
- Forgetfulness, indecision, irritability, nervous exhaustion, poor memory, learning difficulties.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Having to have cola, coffee, chocolate, lollies, or alcohol to get you through the day.
- Headaches, insomnia, sleep disturbances, depression, drowsiness, crying spells, mental confusion, anxiety, worries, tremors, cold sweats, dizziness, antisocial behaviour.
- Indigestion, allergies, craving for sweets, hunger pains, stomach cramps.
- Reduced initiative, magnifying insignificant events.
- Muscle pains, back ache, leg cramps.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms it may be because your diet is too high in sugar.
So, why is sugar so bad?
Sugar comes in two forms: Complex and Refined.
Complex sugars are ‘large’ in size. They are too large to pass directly into your blood stream so need to be broken down. Foods in this group include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, salads and legumes.
They are finally broken down in the small intestine to a basic glucose type unit which is then absorbed – mostly in the liver. This means your blood sugar can be monitored.
Refined or simple sugars are different. They include glucose and sucrose (both small in size and contain no nutrition – simply all energy – sucrose is what you put into your coffee), fructose (found in fruits), maltose (found in grains), lactose (found in milk) and galactose (found in milk and whey).
While glucose and sucrose are found in processed and junk foods, the others are found in natural foods so are combined with goodness. Simple sugars are absorbed directly into your blood stream and raise your blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar is bad for you. If you consume a full bottle of scotch whiskey in about 5 minutes, you can die from alcohol poison. And what is alcohol made from?
So you die from sugar poisoning!
When your blood sugar concentration is high, your body releases a hormone called Insulin to help regulate it and keep it “normal”.
Consume sugar over a period of time and you get surges of insulin, which takes out much of the sugar leaving you with low blood sugar (called hypoglycaemia).
Here is an example of how sugar can affect the way think.
A gentleman in his early 40’s consulted with me to overcome depression. It was so bad, he was taking prescribed lithium.
As he was processing little about what I was saying, I asked him if he consumed much sugar. He said “No”.
I asked him what he ate throughout his day and he said “Coffee for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a good dinner and, as I’m an interior designer, my clients make me heaps of cakes for in-between meals”.
“Do you have sugar in your coffee?”
“Yes, 3 teaspoons”.
“How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?”
That’s 45 teaspoons of sugar a day – plus, all the cakes and biscuits he consumed. This guy was totally overloaded with sugar.
Within one month of going off coffee and cakes (and sugar) he commented, “I’m amazed at how clear I can now think”. After some therapy and after consulting with his psychiatrist, he was able to go off lithium.
Jane, How much sugar are you consuming?
What effect is it having on you?
Do you know how much sugar the average Australian consumes in a year?
If you are consuming too much sugar, begin by cutting back on it and then aim to minimise the amount you consume. This definitely is a case where less is better.
You will begin to feel better for it.
In the next newsletter, I will discuss this important topic further. You will discover how much sugar is in what you are eating and drinking. You may be surprised.