Sugar Avoidance / Reduction

Sugar Avoidance / Reduction: Overview

Turning to artificial sweeteners is generally not a good method of reducing sugar intake because the adverse effects of these chemicals – however much the manufacturers deny it – may be worse than any benefit in some individuals.

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Remember that refined sugar includes not only "sugar", as listed in ingredient listings, but also the brown sugar that is sold in the baking aisle in the regular grocery store.  Other refined sweeteners to avoid are glucose, fructose and dextrose.  Hidden sources of white sugar are in mayonnaise, ketchup, salad dressings and other condiments, unless you get them at health food stores.  When you have finished the condiments that are in your fridge make a point to replace them with the white-sugar-free versions.

A more obvious source of white sugar is in jams and jellies.  There are now many all-fruit varieties sweetened with concentrated grape or apple juice.  There are also jams that are sweetened with honey, dehydrated cane juice, or unrefined cane sugar.

Instructions

Try the following tips to help moderate or eliminate the amount of added sugar in your diet:

  • Buy unsweetened cereals.
  • Drink 100% fruit juices or water rather than fruit drinks, soda or punches which tend to have considerable amounts of sugar added to them.
  • Select sugary foods that still have nutritional value.  For example, choose oatmeal cookies over sugar cookies; sweeten your cereal with banana slices or raisins instead of table sugar.
  • Choose fresh fruit or fruit not canned in heavy syrup to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Go easy on or avoid foods that have the words sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, fructose or syrup listed among the first three ingredients on the food label.  These foods tend to contain high amounts of sugar.
  • Try reducing the amount of sugar in your favorite recipes.  You may be surprised that some recipes taste the same even when you reduce the sugar content by as much as 25-40%.

How do you modify your old recipes to eliminate refined white sugar? Replace the sugar with half the amount of raw sugar (dehydrated cane juice, e.g. Sucanat, or turbinado), or half the amount of honey or maple syrup (but reduce the liquid amount by one quarter cup for every cup of honey or maple syrup used).  To sweeten you can also use rice syrup, barley malt, date sugar, dried fruit, fresh fruit, fruit juice, or even rice milk.  Using sweeter flours such as oat or teff also lends a natural sweetness to baked goods.

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Sugar Avoidance / Reduction:

Sugar Avoidance / Reduction can help with the following:

Addictions

Trichotillomania

If people are interested in seeing if their hair pulling is food-related, there is a simple test that can be done.  Simply eating a snack such as peanut 'M&M's (containing sugar, chocolate and legumes) – as many as you can stand at one sitting, washing them down with Coca-Cola (cola, caffeine and more sugar or aspartame, which is just as bad) is all that it takes.  If in 2 days there is a noticeable increase in hair pulling urges, then you could consider abstaining from "bad" foods.

Unfortunately, it appears to take from 30-40 days to purge the gut and skin of their bad effects fully, and it also seems to take several attempts and about a year of trying for most pullers to achieve the desired results.  People report that avoiding sugar and caffeine – which act more quickly – is the most rewarding way to start.

The list of foods that aggravate this condition includes concentrated natural sugars, tomato seeds, soy products, yams, MSG, and ibuprofen.  However, there are a few "good" foods, which partially counteract the "bad" ones, including garlic, most acidic fruits, dry red wine, unsweetened yogurt, and a chemical family called gluconates.

Aging

Allergy

Autoimmune

Crohn's Disease

Elaine Gottschall, author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle, has proposed that gut dysbiosis is a major cause of Crohn's disease, with small and large bowel fermentation being a key component.  She has used a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) restricted in disaccharide sugars and devoid of cereal grains to alter gut flora.  When digestion of carbohydrates such as starches and some sugars is impaired, these items are poorly absorbed.  Yeast and bacteria can then overgrow in response to these newly available nutrients, increasing toxic by-products and mucus production, resulting in further injury to the small intestine and malabsorption.  Digestion is worsened – thus "the vicious cycle".  The purpose of the SCD is to deprive the microbial world in the small intestine of food it needs to overpopulate and irritate.

Circulation

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Avoidance of refined sugars is commonly recommended by natural doctors.

Dental

Diet

Digestion

Hormones

Low Melatonin Level

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which may interfere with melatonin production.

Immunity

Weakened Immune System

Sugars have a depressive effect on the immune system.

HIV/AIDS

Sugar and corn syrup found in many desserts impair the engulfing power of white blood cells.  The worst offenders are found in canned soda, candy bars, pastry and other processed desserts.  Even sugars found in fruit juice, when consumed quickly, will have a depressive effect on immune cells.

Infections

Yeast / Candida Infection

Avoid foods high in simple carbohydrates such as refined sugars (sucrose, fructose, corn syrup), fruit juices, honey, and maple syrup.

Cold Or Flu

Sugar consumption is a known weakener of the immune system.  Regular use of rapidly-absorbed sugars slows down your immune system's ability to dispose of invading organisms.

Pharyngitis ("Strep Throat")

Sugars have a depressive effect on the immune system.

Lab Values

High Levels Of Triglycerides

Ingesting refined sugar increases triglyceride levels.  People with elevated triglyceride levels should therefore reduce their intake of sugar, sweets and other sugar-containing foods.  Even added fructose will raise triglyceride levels, but the fructose found naturally in foods should be less of a problem.

Laboratory Test Needed

Mental

Panic Attacks

Eating a lot of foods high in refined sugar increases blood lactate levels and may induce panic in susceptible individuals.

Metabolic

Hypoglycemia

Consuming foods that contain simple sugars makes the problem worse.  Avoid sweets other than fresh fruits, if tolerated.  In addition, consider avoiding products that only "taste" sweet (artificially sweetened – low calorie).  Even though they may contain no sugar, sending signals to your brain that something "sweet" is being consumed may have negative consequences.

Not recommended for
Susceptibility To Hangovers

Take some form of sugar; alcohol lowers your blood sugar levels.

Musculo-Skeletal

Osteoporosis - Osteopenia

Avoiding factors that encourage bone loss can be as just as important as calcium intake.  Diets high in refined sugar, protein, salt, caffeine, and phosphorous contained in soft drinks, all promote calcium excretion in urine.

Restless Leg Syndrome

See the link between Restless Leg Syndrome and Caffeine Avoidance.

Organ Health

Parasites

Giardiasis Infection

See the link between Giardia and High-Fiber Diet.

Reproductive

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A high sugar diet causes obesity with further insulin resistance and aggravation of PCOS.  According to Jerilyn Prior, M.D., the increased insulin from sugar consumption stimulates androgen receptors on the outside of the ovary, causing a failure of ovulation and the typical PCOS symptoms of hirsutism and acne.

Respiratory

Acute Bronchitis

Due to its inhibition of the immune system, sugar consumption should be stopped until all bronchitis symptoms have ceased.

Skin-Hair-Nails

Adult Acne

Sugar and refined carbohydrates should be avoided.

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Sugar Avoidance / Reduction can help prevent the following:

Aging

Parkinson's Disease

People with a high intake of sugar (mono- and disaccharides) increase their risk of developing Parkinson's disease by a factor of three as compared to people with a more moderate intake.

Dental

Periodontal Disease - Gingivitis

The bacteria that come together to become plaque use sugar as a form of energy.  They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness.  Some of the bacteria turn sugar into a kind of glue and use it to stick themselves to the surface of the teeth.  This makes it harder for the bacteria to get washed away by saliva.

Organ Health

Gallbladder Disease

In research published in 1983 from the University Department of Medicine, scientists stated, "Bile is significantly more saturated with cholesterol after 6 weeks on a refined carbohydrate diet (white flour and sugar) than after a similar period on an unrefined carbohydrate diet (whole wheat and grains)."

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