That excess sugar is unhealthy is something known and about which there is no longer a doubt. In fact, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has just launched the “Sugar kills” campaign in Spain to raise awareness about its health effects. Far are those ads promoting it as a health food, as, for example, the one who recommended it for breakfast to start the day with energy, under the motto “Sugar: energy to stop a train”.
With the passage of time and with scientific evidence as a guide, today, we can affirm that reducing sugar consumption is highly recommended if we want to maintain good health and avoid problems such as obesity, diabetes or tooth decay, among many others. Currently, rsoft drinks, pastries, chocolate and yogurts are some of the sources of added sugar.
So much so that for years all kinds of institutions have been launching a real crusade against this simple carbohydrate. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that adults with a normal body mass index reduce sugar consumption to 5% of their daily caloric intake, which is equivalent to about 25 grams per day.
It is not easy but …
… it’s time for you to break up with him 💔
– Ministry of Consumption (@consumogob) October 14, 2020
Beyond the recommendation to reduce intake, there are those who have decided to go further, and avoid its consumption absolutely and blunt. Those who have embarked on this feat share the idea that it is something similar to a detoxification process. Something that is not strange, considering the strong addictive nature of sugar, which, in addition, is so present in our lives.
Sarah Wilson, a popular Australian writer and journalist wrote a book titled I quit sugar (I quit sugar). Throughout its pages, he tells us about his journey, for eight weeks, until he managed to reduce the amount of sugar he was taking. In a interview He stated that breakfast was the meal of the day that cost him the most, as a consequence of the fact that many people associate it with sweets, either in coffee or because of the custom of accompanying it with pastries.
The book was a best seller and encouraged many people to take that path. Kerry Torrens, nutritionist and contributor to the British channel BBC Good Food, recounted his experience when he decided to follow in the footsteps of the Australian journalist. In a Article, relates what the results were. One of them has to do with weight loss.
“Okay, it’s not easy to give up sugar, but doing so removes a lot of calories. I lost a few pounds, and despite eating what I thought was a generous amount, I had no problem maintaining my weight,” Torrens said. But it does not stop there. He stopped feeling the physical urge to eat sugar and the health of his digestive system improved.
Some similar effects noticed Meghna Kriplani, a journalist specializing in wellness and lifestyle. She also wanted to test whether there really were advantages to leaving out sugar. And, like Torrens, he recounted his experience in another Article, in which she defines herself as an old addict to sugar and all kinds of sweets. Noted that eliminating all foods with added sugars was difficult, although he assures that the results were worth it.
She also managed to reduce her dependence on sugary foods and lost weight, specifically five kilos in forty days. In addition, he noticed other improvements such as an increase in energy. “I didn’t wake up tired anymore, I wasn’t lazy or lethargic. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as energetic as during this time.” This effect is related to the ability of glucose to inhibit orexin, a neuropeptide in the body that promotes wakefulness, as demonstrated by a study conducted by the University of Cambridge in 2011.
The feeling of greater energy is shared by Matt D ‘Avella, a popular youtuber who wanted to make known to the public how his body evolved after 30 days without sugar, in his canal. Their conclusions largely coincide with the previous ones. For one thing, her energy levels had stabilized as the fluctuations in blood sugar disappeared. He also noticed an improvement in his figure, and that his “daddy gut” began to shrink, although it did not completely disappear.
What does science say?
Obviously, personal testimonials are useful to know the effects that a certain habit can have on health. But, at the end of the day, science is the one that must provide answers.
While it is true that reducing current levels of sugar consumption may not only be recommended, but necessary, there are voices that point out that eliminating it completely from our diet is practically impossible. He sugar is found naturally in many foods that we shouldn’t stop drinking.
In this regard, the biochemist Leah Fitzsimmons, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said in the newspaper The Daily Mail that “eliminating all sugar from your diet would be very difficult to achieve. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and milk substitutes, eggs and nuts contain sugar, leaving you with little more than meat and fat to eat, something that, definitely not very healthy“.
A reasonable option, therefore, is maintain a moderate consumption of sugar, heeding the WHO recommendations, instead of moving away from sugar completely, within the framework of a healthy diet in all other parameters. In fact, some specialists point out that this would be the best way to take advantage of some of the properties of sugar.
“Like all sources of calories, sugars can be consumed within a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle. Sugars can often help make certain nutritious foods more palatable, which can promote variety in a healthy and balanced diet, “said Dr. Alison Boyd, director of Sugar Nutrition UK“.