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#HealthyHabits2017. Week Seven. No refined sugar. Came at the absolute worst time and was a big old fail for me I am very sad to report. Sigh. 

We all need sugar and it's naturally occurring in most foods however there are plenty of types of sugar that have been manipulated and aren't actually that great for us, that are added to lots of foods. It's a very complex matter to wrap your head around quite frankly but the video below from the University of California does a good job of explaining what happens in your body.  

If you have too  much sugar in your diet it overloads your liver and can cause potential damage to your liver, much like the effects of alcohol. Sugar or fructose also effects your insulin by failing to stimulate it, it in turns fails to suppress your hunger hormone and your body doesn’t realise it’s full. This can cause you to eat more, put on more weight and develop a resistance to insulin which is bad.

It can cause a bunch of symptoms known as ‘classic metabolic syndrome’ which includes elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, weight gain and abdominal obesity among other nice things.

There’s a very interesting guide on why too much sugar isn’t really your friend over here.

The recommended daily amount sugar for adults is 90g, but that's consisting of both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars (or free sugar). 

Also it can be confusing as there are lots of different names for sugar: agave nectar, corn sweetener, dextrose, honey, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose and molasses. These are the ones we wanted to cut down on - so when you buy food you need to make sure you read the labels. 

  

HOW DID IT GO AND WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS?

As I said this was the absolutely worst week to do this challenge, I got ill, I had to travel, it was valentine's day and all my hormone levels were in a lull this last week so I was tired and grumpy and achey, not a good mix.

I've tried to cut out sugar in the past because I used to use it to motivate myself to get through the day - rewarding myself with a treat for accomplishing something, and then I read about it's effect on acne (bad, bad). I lasted two weeks and it was so difficult but worth doing as it helped me cut down massively. I remember the entire of the first week all I could think about was cake and my tea tasted totally bland. And I remember having a piece of dark chocolate that would have been totally bitter to me beforehand and thinking it was the sweetest thing ever. 

However I've had a different experience this week and the first day I had come down with an awful cold and needed to travel to visit my mum. This is where I had my first stumble - cloudy headed and standing on a freezing cold train platform in miserable weather I bought a chai latte to cheer myself up and totally didn't realise until I got off the train at the other end that it was likely loaded with far too much sugar.

Over the course of the week I haven't purposefully added sugar to anything I've made and other than my sugary drink I haven't gone and purchased anything I knew had sugar in. I did however allow a bit honey into the mix because of the cold. 

My boyfriend also pointed out that the almond milk already in our fridge (not a big fan of cows milk) had added sugar - which I had already put in my tea... but we've recently been switching to oat milk which doesn't have added sugars. 

Basically, I think I need to reattempt this week now I'm feeling better and actually have a working brain. I've been doing a little more research and found some sugar free sweet treat recipes which I might try out: Fudgey brownie cupcakes and Banana and Walnut breakfast muffins. But ultimately approaching sugar as the one off treat it should be once in a while. I may report back on this topic later on.

 

Next week we're tackling meditation, which I shall be trying some different approaches to as I've never done this before. Any advice anyone?

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