Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle

Why Going A Week Without Sugar Could Be The Sweetest Thing You've Ever Done ...

Just over 7 days ago I embarked on a mission.

Well actually this ship set sail about 5 years ago but for the sake of this post let's say we're sticking to the 7 days.

In terms of the important elements of this equation the time scale is really of little relevance though when compared to the topic of the day which is of grave importance.

So yes getting back to the thought process at hand a week or so ago I shared this post encouraging & inviting all who wanted to join myself & Jazz Leaf (a US based private chef & Nutritional Therapist) to remove sugars for a 7 day period. Now we wanted this to be an educational experience so we didn't define exactly what this had to mean, instead we created a downloadable guide with simple information on where someone might be taking in more sugars than they perhaps realised & then encouraged them to progress either towards more natural forms, or to lessen their consumption entirely. With the word spread we then set about sharing & highlighting as many simple tricks & tips as we could on our Instagram feeds to spur people on.

But why?

Well predominantly because I think we all deserve to be as well informed about our food as possible, & second to that, well sugar is becoming a seriously big problem.

By 2030 we expect to see 5.5 million people in the UK living with some form of diabetes but this is not something that just happens overnight, it is an insidious onset, & as described in this article in The Sunday Times, many will live with the underlying mechanical fault that progresses into unregulated blood sugar levels with seemingly no symptoms until it is 'too late' (I question this label as I would say for many there is a huge amount to be done even once a diagnosis has been given).

And this exponential rise in cases that we are battling against, well this is down to a progressive overburdening of our bodies with energy (in the form of simple sugars) in excess of what we need or can expend. This is then exacerbated by our inclusion of artificial & synthetic products which I will elaborate on a little more in a second.

Our blood sugar balance is a very tightly controlled because excess sugar in the blood will cause significant inflammatory damage to our tissues. When we eat & said energy enters the blood stream our pancreas is stimulated to produce insulin & that molecular energy (glucose) is shuttled into our cells to feed into our cellular metabolism, or if there is extra then it is whisked off to fill up our stores (in muscles to becomes glycogen, in fat cells it becomes fat). The thing is if we do this too often our body can't keep up & to prevent those little energy factories in our cells from being overburdened to the point of collapse our bodies lock up a couple of the doors in those cell membranes by becoming insulin resistant (it is the insulin that rings the bell to drop those glucose molecules off for utilisation in the mitochondria). So as you can imagine on someone's blood tests we will then see raised circulating levels of glucose in the blood as those sugars have nowhere to go straight away. Over time we also consequentially see weight gain as the body attempts to protect itself from that inflammatory damage I mentioned at first by storing that excess energy.

The process I describe above is Type II diabetes. Not so much an issue where carbohydrates have suddenly become poisonous but rather a system gone awry, but nothing a little tweaking can't fix.

How on Earth can removing sugar for 7 days effect any kind of change on this though? Well you would be incredibly surprised.

If we are saying that the true manifestation of Type II diabetes only comes once we are at the point of diagnosis well that would be ignoring the other little alarm bells that someone like me would say "Hold on that is NOT a normal state of affairs, we need to jump on this ASAP". And these are the things you will suddenly become aware of even within a short week. This is why in addition to our general information we provided our little tracking table, drawing attention to things like energy levels, consistency of sleep, skin health, food cravings & even the most simple of things like how our food tastes. When the body had the opportunity to go for glucose it will because it is easy, but when asked to work just a tiny bit harder, well then it will do this with great gusto (2-4 days adjustment for someone with a medium consumption & only slight issues, a tad longer for those with significant perturbation of this system).

And when it does my goodness what a change we see - energy levels all of a sudden level off, restful, full nights of sleep become the norm, breakouts clear, moods stabilise, food cravings slip away & flavours of all things intensify.

So yes in short a week without sugar is not something to be sniffed at, & as I recount my own experiences & some commonly seen issues in this post I hope perhaps I have piqued your interest in potentially joining me in celebrating our inherent sweetness & kicking the sickly sticky stuff to the side....

Oh & of course if you are concerned by anything you've just read please do be in touch.

With healthy wishes,

Phoebe x