There is a lot of confusion surrounding sugar, dairy and gluten – especially dairy and gluten. Why does it seem like more and more people are allergic to gluten and dairy? We have been eating these for a long time, so why the uptick in allergic reactions? In order to find the answer, you have to look at the foods we consume and what goes into making them. From there, we can figure out what it is that is causing these allergies.
This is the first blog in a three part series talking about the effects of sugar, dairy and gluten on your body and why you should avoid them.
Let’s start with sugar. When I say sugar, I am talking about added sugar in every form, sugar substitutes and even processed sugar like fruit juice. Sugar is like poison to the body, and there are very few packaged foods that don’t include sugar in them. The next time you are at the grocery store, look at the labels of the items you are purchasing and look for sugar, corn syrup, etc. It will be in almost everything.
When we consume sugar, our blood sugar level increases. In order to counteract this, our body releases insulin. Insulin’s job is to mobilize the sugar into your cells to use it. However, if we are constantly eating sugar, our body becomes resistant to the insulin and we become less capable of controlling our blood sugar levels. If this continues, diabetes can develop, which is the inability of our bodies to handle sugar properly.
Additionally, when we eat excess sugar that our body doesn’t need, it is stored as fat. When you look at two of the biggest health problems in the US – diabetes and obesity – they are both directly related to sugar.
Lastly, sugar is addictive. There are many groups that are trying to get sugar classified as a drug because of it’s affect on people. Even eating a small amount of sugar every day can be addicting, causing you to crave it and want more.
It’s important to understand why sugar is so prevalent in the western diet. There are two major contributing factors: packaged food and the myth that fat is bad for you.
Sugar is an excellent preservative, and because of that, it is used in almost anything that is packaged. Look at the ingredients of your bread. It probably has sugar in it. Pretty much everything in the middle aisles of the grocery store is going to have some form of sugar in it, which is why you should avoid those aisles.
A number of years ago, it was determined that consuming fat is bad for you and causes you to be fat (which we now know to be false). Because of this, all food makers started eliminating fat from their foods. When they did this, they replaced it with sugar, adding even more sugar to the foods we eat.
Fortunately, it is possible to avoid sugar in your foods, you just have to look out for it. I recommend a diet heavy in organic vegetables, nuts, lean meats, fruits, and to a lesser degree gluten-free grains. Be sure to buy foods that are not processed and are not packaged. As a rule of thumb, stick to the outside aisles in the grocery stores where the produce and fresh foods are.
When you cut out sugar from your diet, not only will you be keeping your body healthy, you will noticeably feel better and the food you eat will taste better.
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