What if I want
to stop eating sugar?
What if I want to stop eating sugar?
Why does our body need sugar? What is the daily norm of consumption? Do you need to stop eating sugar competely? We have asked Doctor Dinara Sagandykova, Nutritionist, Candidate of Medical Sciences, these and other important questions.

You can also read this article in Russian (на русском языке).
"To say that people nowadays over consume sugar is to say nothing. The problem is that we have too many foods that have a lot of sugar in them. A lot of people are addicted to sugar, they overconsume it on the daily basis without even noticing"
Dinara Sagandykova,
Nutritionist, Candidate of Medical Sciences
What happens to a human body when over-consuming sugar?
What happens to a human body when over-consuming sugar?
Gaining weight is the most harmless consequence of sugar overconsumption.

This is then followed by:
  • cardiovascular diseases,
  • diabetes,
  • pressure on the joints and spine,
  • other different types of diseases and problems as a consequence of consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates (sugar).
How much sugar does our body actually need and why?
How much sugar does our body actually need and why?
Sugar is associated with the feeling of hunger. When we are hungry, the blood sugar level drops. If we eat simple carbohydrates the level restores but then it drops again quickly. There are a lot of complicated processes that go on in our bodies but to explain shortly: glucose is very important. Glucose provides for more than half of our body energy spending. In the same time, it depends what kind of glucose a person consumes. It is understood that unhealthy snacks are bad and fast carbohydrates. Fruits are healthier but one should always remember about the serving size.

There is no norm for sugar. There is a norm for daily consumption of carbohydrates. Everyone has their own depending on the activity rate and body mass. You can learn about it on your own using internet, or you can always consult a professional.
Why do we crave sugar?
Why do we crave sugar?
  • Emotional connection. We use it as a form of reward.
  • Gustatory and food habit of experiencing strong sugary and sweet taste.
What kind of sugar is "healthy" and "unhealthy"?
What kind of sugar is "healthy" and "unhealthy"?
Unhealthy sugar:
  • Cookies
  • Soda
  • Cakes, pastries
  • Chocolates and bars
  • Cereal.
Healthy sugar:
  • Fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Honey.

Important: even "healthy" sugar must be consumed in the right amounts!

Fruits are healthier than artificial sweets but you always need to remember about the right amounts. Over-consuming any food is unhealthy. For example, freshly squeezed juices from sweet fruits can be unhealthy. Person can drink 2-3 glasses of fresh orange juice at once, which is about 6-7 oranges which exceeds daily norm of carbohydrates consumption.
How long does it take to form a new habit of low sugar consumption?
How long does it take to form a new habit of low sugar consumption?
It is different for everyone. Previously people believed that it took 21 days to form a new habit, but now psychologists say it might be 90 days. It is difficult to say, as it depends on the glycogenesis process when insulin transfers glucose (split form of sugar). In overweight people sugar directly transfers into fat and their weight (as well as craving for sugar) will drop only after their bodies break this pattern. To make the transitioning process easier, a person needs to eat more protein that takes longer time to digest, therefore making a person less hungry and less prone to eating something unhealthy.
Children love sugar more than adults. What could be the consequences?
Children love sugar more than adults. What could be the consequences?
Children ask for sweets when parents use sugar as an encouragement. Children's taste addictions and habits are way more flexible than adults' that is why everything is in the hands of the parents.

Children's food habits transform when:
  • Control is in their parents' hands.
  • There is no strong sugar addiction that has developed over long time.

High sugar consumption in childhood leads to obesity and a lot of other health problems which are very difficult to fix once a child grows up. If a child is already overweight it is best to resolve as soon as possible.
How to correct children's diet and get them to eat healthier?
How to correct children's diet and get them to eat healthier?
First of all, you have to start controlling what child is eating. If a child is asking for something sweet, make sure he/she gets a healthy sugar.

  1. You can make bars or sweets from fruits, dates and nuts. Do not forget about the portion control!
  2. You can also make chocolate yourself using good and organic ingredients. Store bought chocolate is usually bad quality because producers use palm oil and cheap ingredients. In homemade chocolate everything is under your control so it ends up being way less harmful.

When making homemade sweets you are in control of what ingredients you use so sweets turn out to be way healthier!
Is it a good idea to stop eating sugar forever?
Is it a good idea to stop eating sugar forever?
A person can stop eating bad sugars and never eat by substituting it with fruits or honey.
If a person decides to stop eating sugar without even eating fruits, he/she can endure it only for a month. Sugar (glucose) is present in a lot of foods that do not even taste sweet. But any strict restriction should not last for a long time.

In order to stay healthy one should know the norm of different elements, vitamins and nutrients for themselves.
We would like to thank Dinara Sagandykova, Nutritionist and Candidate of Medical Sciences, for her help with this material

Text by Alua Jumabayeva
Illustrations by Roman Zakharov


Tags: health
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