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Healthy options to replace sugar as the Festive Season approaches

As we embark upon the festive seasons, this time of year for many, involves over indulgence in foods that do not best serve our health, leaving us crying out for a New Year health kick. Whilst overindulgence is inevitable and if we’re honest, enjoyable, to a certain extent, it can have a detrimental impact on health during the winter months when our systems need to be firing on all cylinders. It doesn’t help when fattening foods and sugary drinks are more affordable than good organic produce that will nourish your body rather than the opposite.

This weeks article offers subtle hints and tips to help make the January detox a little less stressful.

Sugar is the no.1 culprit.

Sugar consumption during the festive season is the one food (if we can call it that) that is over consumed. The alcohol, the parties, the confectionary makes the January health kick inevitable, as sugar excess leaves us feeling pretty lousy. It is no surprise as sugar is highly addictive and has very toxic effect on the human body.

Sugar is the leading cause of obesity, a condition that is a highly predictable biological response to our new environmental conditions. Over consumption over sugar increases body fat. A high percentage of body fat increases the risk of:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Asthma
  • Type two diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Infertility
  • Muscular aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer

One of the key metabolic dysfunctions of high sugar consumption is the inability of the hormone insulin to function. This is known as insulin resistance.

Insulin’s major job is to act like a lock and key to allow glucose to enter the cell to perform it’s function. When the body starts to resist insulin and it doesn’t perform its major function, sugar builds up the blood stream and the pancreas produces more insulin in an attempt to maintain normal blood glucose levels. It is a horrible vicious circle that leads to a condition called hyperinsulinemia.

Increased Insulin levels:

  • Increase fat around the waist and hips
  • Inhibits fat breakdown
  • Increase of synthesise and fat storage within the liver
  • Increase harmful free fatty acids in the bloodstream
  • Increased stress levels due to the hyperactivity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis

What is the solution????

For long lasting benefits, sugar in the shape of refined carbohydrates should be drastically reduced at all times and more so around the festive periods. Use the following tips to help moderate the effects of over indulgence.

  • Balance Blood sugars. To achieve this, reduce consumption of refined carbohydrate foods including cereals, fizzy drinks, crisps, chocolate, bread, white rice, white pasta’s. Protein and fibre added to meals and snacks slows the release of glucose into the blood stream and helps to balance blood sugars
  • Choose water or fresh fruit juices over fizzy drinks.
  • Swap white sugar for healthier alternatives that include raw honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, stevia drops or quality agave syrup.
  • Take the wonder weight loss drug- an increase of fruits and vegetable against intake of processed foods.
  • Daily exercise for 30 minutes
  • Choose lean meat from poultry and fish. Opt for wholegrain carbohydrates, pulses and beans
  • Consume essential fats from fish oils, nuts seeds that help movement of stored fats out of tissues. Avoid processed foods as the fats with them are chemically processed or hydrogenated and affect the brain and nervous system.
  • Eat regular meals and review portion sizes
  • Use coconut oil for cooking as opposed to vegetable oils that are not stable to heat.