Sugar tax is being introduced, not only in Ireland but across Europe. Some may look at this as just another form of taxation and an interference in our freedom of choice by the governing bodies at home and in Europe, but I would urge you not to take this perspective. If you are interested in your health and your ability to age without developing chronic diseases then I would encourage you to take this opportunity to evaluate your sugar intake and reduce it. While high sugar intake is linked to overweight, obesity and dental decay the chronic diseases that emanate from these conditions include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and other minor conditions. What is sometimes overlooked and under-appreciated is the negative role high sugar intake plays in digestive health, immune function, mental health, energy levels, ability to cope with stress and hormonal health to name but a few. Therefore, any eating regime aimed at improving your health will encourage the reduction of sugar.
Have you ever played pass the parcel as a child? A present is wrapped in layers and layers of paper and while music is started and stopped the layers of paper are unwrapped until you eventually get to the present. Nature has wrapped ‘intrinsic’ sugars into perfect parcels of whole fruits and vegetables. When eaten in this form it takes time for these parcels of whole fruits and vegetables to be digested so the presence of sugar gets absorbed into the body slowly. Remember this parcel of sugar is a present from nature as it provides one of our main energy sources for running our mind and body. Contrast this with a parent coming along and dumping a truck load of unwrapped gifts into the child’s party, while it might sound fun the ensuing madness would be chaotic. This is akin to the madness that occurs in our body when we consume foods with substantial amounts of ‘added’ and ‘free’ sugar. It is both an issue of the amount of these sugars in the food and the amount of these foods that we eat. ‘Added’ sugars are ones the manufacturer or cook adds to foods, and 'free sugars' are ones that are naturally present but they have been ‘unwrapped’ from their parcel e.g. fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates and syrups or nature has not ‘wrapped’ them up e.g. honey. So, remember that intrinsic sugars found in whole fresh fruit and vegetables are not linked to any adverse health effects, quite the opposite they are of major benefit to your health.
My recommendation as always is to be your own experimenter. Reduce your sugar intake and track what improvements occur but be warned the healing ability of your body is immense and minor changes can start to bring about incredible improvements across a broad range of your well-being. For example, in my workshop on 'Improve Your Child's Health' I discuss the role sugar plays in your child's learning ability, mood and behaviour. Adults often report increased energy that is stable throughout the day. Females often report improvements to menstrual cycles, PMS and overall hormonal health. Headaches can disappear as if by magic and mental clarity and mood can improve.
So, whether you are overweight or not, whether you have or have not got a chronic illness, I would encourage you to check your food labels for the ".... of which sugars" figure and start making choices with lower sugar amounts. Swap processed foods for whole foods and dust off your home baking skills for home treats remembering to cut down on the sugar amount recommended in the recipe.
If you are struggling and want more help, why not check out my 'Reduce Your Sugar Intake' workshop. See my website www.moyashealthpractice.com or check Facebook or Twitter.