"The average Briton consumes 238 teaspoons of sugar each week"
Most sportsmen will agree that high sugar intake is not good for all-round sporting performance, but even if you're not training to be the next Olympic athlete, nutritionists recommend that we should all cut down the amount of sugar we eat in out diet.
Are YOU a sugar addict? High profile celebrity, Davina McCall, admits that she used to be, but since she embraced a sugar-free diet, she has reaped the benefits.
Some scientists go as far to say that sugar is the real cause of the obesity epidemic . With the average Briton consuming 238 teaspoons of sugar each week - often without knowing it - are they right?
Certainly, there are huge benefits to a low sugar or sugar-free diet. We've taken advice from experts and listed five advantages below.
- Increased energy levels: Many people believe that cutting down on the amount of sugar you eat will reduce your energy levels, but it actually has the entirely opposite effect. In her book, '5 Weeks to Sugar-Free', Davina says that whenever she used to have a sugar pig-out, she felt rubbish afterwards (not to mention guilty). She'd have huge slumps in energy and would gain weight. Eliminating sugar from her diet meant that her body's energy source came from "good sugars" such as fruits, proteins, and (the best one) fat storages - that's right, your body turns your fat into energy!
- You will feel less hungry: Now that your body is turning fat into energy, you will feel less hungry. When you are living off sugar and starchy carbohydrates, your body uses these as your main energy sources - when these sources become low your body sends a chemical to your brain to remind you to stock up. Now your body is using good sugars and fat storages, your pangs of hunger will be greatly reduced.
- A boost to your fitness levels: Refined sugar is highly inflammatory, which for athletes can hinder recovery and subsequent performance. Furthermore, sugar inhibits our body's ability to burn fat, so it can be a limiting factor in endurance sports. Focussing on the right types of protein and non-starchy carbohydrates is a much more beneficial way to boost training.
- An overall health kick: If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, these may be greatly reduced once sugar is eliminated from your diet. Or, if you often feel tired throughout the day, your levels of fatigue impove. Without the constant rises and declines in sugar levels, your body is better able to cruise along at a comfortable level of energy. This could mean less mood swings, the ability to be more focussed at work, and even an overall improvement to your mental state. By keeping the sugar levels in your body under control you maintain adequate levels of seratonin, a chemical in the brain that affects your moods. Low seratonin levels can cause anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and depression.
- Weight loss: Depending on how you choose to reduce or cut sugar out of your diet will affect the speed of your weight loss. Davina recommends a five-week process, whereas those who choose to go cold turkey may experience a quicker loss of weight. Whichever way you choose, its highly important to maintain the good sugar levels in your diet, so this means a huge increase in your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Once your body has adjusted to less or no sugar, you should support your new lifestyle with regular exercise.
Considering all the above, could YOU eliminate sugar from your diet?