October 12

Healthy and sugar-free?

I just thought I would write something about the confusing world of sugar-free and healthy eating. I have been into wholefoods and healthy eating since my early twenties, the era when whole food shops started to appear on the high street and healthy eating started to be BIG business for the food industry; the tag 'healthy' meant plenty of sales and 'happy' customers.

What also started at this time were manipulations and false information about what was healthy. We went through the 'fat free' 80s and 90s' and how this fed into the diet industries 'calories in V calories out' spin on weight loss. 

This led to billions of low fat, so called health products being sold to desperate people. What we know now is that natural fats are very healthy and completely necessary for health and staying a balanced healthy weight.

What is now becoming apparent in the mainstream (long been recognised elsewhere) is that the real culprit is sugar. As processed foods, and particularly processed carbohydrates, became big business so the obesity epidemic started in the western world. What I have also seen happening is an increased emphasis on 'healthy' sugars and sweeteners in products and we end up with people being confused about sugar in the same way they were about fats.

As a Nutritional Therapist I look at food and see what the message is that it gives the body; is the message it brings life enhancing, expansive and energy giving OR does it drain energy and send confusing signals?

On my own sugar-free journey I have learnt that a healthy label doesn't necessarily mean life enhancing food messages. I have learnt from experience that 'sugar is sugar is sugar', all products such as honey, maple syrup, date syrup, rice syrup plus all the processed carbs send an energy draining message to our bodies. Of course a little once in a while our bodies will deal with valiantly but a daily onslaught leads to hormonal confusion and stress within our bodies.

Therefore health food products that contain a lot of dried dates, figs, apricots, fruit juices will be high in sugar, products that use honey or maple syrup as a sweetener will be high in sugar, lentil crisps and corn chips are processed carbs and so will be high in sugar.

One of the ways we can navigate the minefield of healthy eating is to keep it simple and remember that any grain, legume or fruit that has been processed and does not resemble how it looks in nature will challenge the body and be treated as sugar. Keep these types of food for special occasions and your body will be happy.


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