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Sugar and Inflammation

Studies show that consuming excess amounts of added sugar can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is natural and how our bodies heal an injury. This is good. Chronic inflammation is when our bodies are stuck in a cycle of healing something every day due to poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, etc. This type of inflammation is bad and is a key player in cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, increased aging, gut distress, skin irritations, depression, and so much more.

The good news is that you can change your body from a state of chronic inflammation in as little as a week by cutting out all added sugar! The average daily consumption of added sugars should not exceed 0-5% of your total daily calories. These added sugars should be in the form of honey, maple syrup, organic brown sugar, or organic cane sugar.

Added sugars that should never be consumed are high fructose corn syrup, refined white sugar, or any artificial sweetener such as Sucralose, xylitol, and sorbitol. Read ingredient labels before buying food. These hidden sweeteners are in nearly 70% of everything in grocery stores, even your chewing gum!

If they are zero calorie does that mean they’re healthy? No. Stevia, monk fruit, and sugar alcohols have gotten a reputation as being healthy added sweeteners because they contain zero calories. However, your body still can taste the overwhelming sweetness and therefore releases insulin in preparation to control blood sugar, regardless of the actual blood sugar effects. Therefore, excess insulin is secreted when it does not have to be. This can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Sugar alcohols can also lead to an array of bodily disruptions such as an unwanted laxative effect.

When do I need large amounts of sugar?

Endurance athletes need to consume larger amounts of sugar. This is because sugar is converted into glucose and glucose is the first fuel source that the body utilizes. Our glucose stores allow for roughly 1 hour of continuous vigorous exercise. After this period, the glucose stores need to be replenished. However, when you are not continually exercising at an intense level for longer than an hour, cut back on the sugar.

Find yourself craving sugar? By eating less sugar, your taste buds will adapt, and you will start to see your sugar cravings diminish. Start cutting your sugar gradually instead of cold turkey. This will prevent you from the overwhelming cravings. Start with cutting out all of the refined white sugar that can be found in soda, cookies, ice cream, and cake. Then move on to cutting out the simple sugars in white bread, pasta, bagels, and white rice. You can substitute with whole grain bread and bagels, brown rice, and brown rice pasta. Next, try aiming for cutting out all gluten. This can be substituted with gluten-free bread, brown rice, quinoa, and plant-based pasta. 

When you have successfully cut out all added sugars you will notice that when you eat healthy sugars, such as fruit, how much sweeter they taste! And most importantly, how much better you will feel!

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