Throughout history, sugar has been used as a preserving agent to make jams and preserves. One way sugar inhibits microbial growth is by damaging the molecular structure of bacterial DNA. When refined sugar, which is found in candies, chocolate and baked goods is consumed on a regular basis, can also harm our DNA structure as well. Sugar can damage cellular function by hindering energy production and eventually decrease the cell’s ability to repair, detox and regenerate. Excess sugar is shown to contribute to metabolic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Also, recent research is linking excessive sugar intake to increased risk of mood disorders such depression and anxiety.
Sugar Nutrient Depletion
Our body requires vitamins and minerals as co-factors for cellular energy production. Nature often provides a nutrient package to buffer the effects of sugar on the body. For example, a medium apple contains 19g of sugar, but it also contains vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chromium. Apples also contain fibre to slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, dampening its effects. Without these buffering nutrients, refined sugar steals nutrients from the body. If there is a nutrient deficiency caused by excessive sugar intake, the body will accumulate inflammatory injuries and oxidative stress.
Some key nutrients sugar depletes from the body and their roles in the body:
- Vitamin C: anti-inflammatory and immune supportive
- Vitamin D: immune-regulating, anti-inflammatory and supportive for calcium absorption
- Magnesium: insulin sensitivity enhancing, calming and relaxing
- Calcium: bone strengthening, a key electrolyte for muscle contraction and nerve transmission
How Much Sugar Is Too Much?
Due to the inherent lack in nutrition value, there is no recommended amount for sugar in a healthy diet. I would suggest treating sugar like any other recreational substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. The American Heart Association warns that men should limit their daily added sugar consumption to no more than 9 tsp (36 g) and for women, no more than 6 tsp (25 g). Sugar has an amazing ability to squeeze into small quantities of food and beverages. For example, a tall pumpkin spice latte has 36g of sugar, and a Kitkat bar has 22g of sugar. However, if you have successfully skipped the temptation most of the time, the unused sugar credit doesn’t get transferred to that one special occasion unfortunately.
Post Halloween Self-care Food
Because sugar steals vitamins and minerals from the body, one of the best ways to combat its effects is to arm your body with mineral-rich, and vitamin C-rich foods.
1. Quick Bone Broth With Greens
Bone broth is a great source of minerals. You can find them in powdered form or frozen. Add some hardy winter greens such as organic bok choy, chard or baby kale for a kick of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and fibre.
2. Green Gut Soother Smoothie Fall/Winter Edition
Total Time: 10 min
● 2 cup kale
● 1/2 inch piece of fresh organic ginger
● 1 tsp spirulina
● 1 avocado
● 500 mg glutamine powder
● 1 scoop unsweetened or stevia sweetened protein of your choice
● unsweetened almond milk or water
● Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend till creamy smooth.
3. Green Juice
With winter approaching, green juice needs to adjust to the seasonal shifts to promote vitality. Switch from juicy cucumbers and crispy lettuce juices to nourishing greens such as spirulina with some camu berries for added vitamin C. Add 1 scoop of spirulina and 1 tsp camu berry powder in 2 cups of water. Sip throughout the day.
Don’t Forget You Vitamin D!
Unfortunately the sunshine vitamin is hard to come by in chilly October, make sure to stock up on some vitamin D.
Tahlia Sage (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Bsc Food, Nutrition & Health) is the founder of Tahlia Sage Wellness (tahliasagewellness.com) and a partner at Healing House Natural Wellness (healinghouseherbal.com), she is also an instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issues prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps. Connect here with Tahlia for a free 15 min discovery session.