Make Your Peace with Sugar

Make Your Peace with Sugar

Make Your Peace with Sugar

 

Sugar, often demonized as the foe we love, actually plays an integral role in our lives. It’s tied up in our birthday cakes, our Friday night takeouts, and in our summer ice creams. We literally can't live without it. Even in deep ketosis, nearly 40% of our brain functions still require sugar. That is why our brains naturally craves for sugar. The issue lies not with sugar itself, but in the type of sugar we consume, how much we consume, how we consume it and what we consume it with. Understanding this symbiotic relationship with sugar and drinking the right beverage to control its intake can pave the way towards a healthier, more balanced way of life, enabling us to relish the sweet in life, responsibly. Like most nutrients, a little sugar is good but too much can be harmful. By consuming the right type of sugar in moderation with fiber and ZenGolden tea, you can satisfy your brain’s natural sugar cravings with minimal additional health risks.

Let’s start by distinguishing the two types of sugar that typically interact with our bodies: natural sugar and added sugar. The former comes from food items such as fruits, vegetables, and honey, while the latter consists of sugars and syrups added to foods and beverages during processing or preparation.

Natural sugar should make you feel peace with it, and here's why. It exists within a matrix of fiber, water, and various beneficial compounds in naturally sweet foods like fruits. The dietary fiber in such foods slows down the metabolism of these sugars, which prevents a spike in blood glucose levels and provides a sustained release of energy. Moreover, these nutritious wonders house essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can fortify our defenses against chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Intake of natural sugar bundled with these nutrients, thus, forms an essential part of a balanced diet. Furthermore, consuming healthy fruits helps satisfy our brain's natural craving for sugar, and reduce cravings for added sugar from junk food. Keep in mind that boxed fruit juices lack fiber and many valuable nutrients, and like other types of sugary beverage, should be avoided. 

Conversely, the true villain of the piece is added sugar, often hiding behind aliases on food labels such as glucose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice. This type of sugar is a significant threat to our health when consumed excessively. It not only contributes to obesity and tooth decay but can also lead to chronic diseases such as dementia, diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, the lack of accompanying fiber means there’s no slowing down of the absorption process, leading to rapid blood glucose spikes and subsequent crashes, contributing to feelings of lethargy and constant hunger.

It is generally recommended to limit your added sugar intake to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake. For example, if you consume roughly 2,000 calories per day, then you should aim to keep your added sugar intake below 200 calories (equivalent to approximately 50 grams or 12 teaspoons or a16 ounce bottle of Coke.) Remember, this recommendation is specifically for added sugars and not naturally occurring sugars, like those found in fruits. But added sugar is everywhere, and its ubiquitous presence makes it hard to completely avoid. One of the best ways to counter the ill effects is eat plenty of fiber and drink good plain tea like our ZenGolden Tea.

Beyond understanding natural and added sugars, it's important to understand the role of fiber in the sugar story. For most of human existence, our primal ancestors mostly ate sugar from wild fruits packed with fibers. Our body evolved to eat and process sugar together with fibers. Excessive sugar consumption was not a common source of health problems until the widespread use of cheap artificial sugar in processed food starting in the mid-1980’s. This led most of us to start eating more sugar without fiber and marked the start of the obesity epidemic.

Fiber, particularly when eaten with sugar, can be your secret weapon against the sugar monster.  You should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Fiber has the following health benefits:

Promotes Healthy Digestion: Fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system. It improves your gut health, and reduces constipation. In addition, fiber serves as a source of nourishment for beneficial bacteria in our gut. These bacteria break down complex carbohydrates in the fiber through fermentation, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as by-products. SCFAs provide energy for the cells lining the colon and help maintain a healthy gut environment.

Better Blood Sugar Control: Consuming fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels, mitigating spikes and crashes. When you consume sugar in isolation, it gets rapidly absorbed into the blood, resulting in a blood sugar spike. The fiber slows this process down, making it easier for the body to handle the sugar input. This moderates your body's insulin response, reducing the likelihood of storing excess sugars as fat and fostering a more stable energy level throughout the day. This is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes or those at a risk of developing it.

Satiety and Weight Management: Foods that are sources of both sugar and fiber, like fruit, can keep you feeling fuller for longer because of the fiber's bulk. This could potentially lead to less overall caloric intake, aiding in weight management.

Nutrient Intake: Foods naturally high in sugar and fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, also contain other beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, promoting overall health.

When consumed with a hydrating beverage such as ZenGolden Tea, fiber-rich foods can also contribute to a sense of fullness, thus preventing overeating and keeping our appetites in check. They not only help manage weight but also lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. Drinking our tea after a fiber-rich meal offers several benefits. Firstly, tea aids in digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes, which can help break down the dietary fiber more efficiently. This can prevent any discomfort or bloating that may occur from consuming a high-fiber meal. Additionally, our tea has calming properties that can soothe the digestive system. By promoting relaxation, our tea can help prevent any post-meal discomfort or indigestion. Lastly, ZenGolden Tea is a hydrating beverage that can prevent dehydration, a common side effect of consuming fiber, which absorbs water in the digestive tract.

 

In addition to augmenting the health effects of fiber, our tea can help counter the ill effects of artificial sweeteners on the palate. Overly sweet manmade sugar and sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame, are known to stimulate your appetite and numb your taste buds. ZenGolden Tea has been known to sensitize taste buds and can wake up your palate from the numbing effects of artificial sweeteners.

The icing on the cake, however, can be a bitter truth—sugar can be addictive. The consumption of sugar triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter, leading to a rush of pleasure, similar to what some drugs do. Over time, increased sugar intake may alter the dopamine system, driving the user to consume more sugar to experience the same level of joy. Our ZenGolden Fasting Tea contains antioxidants that can help regulate blood-sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, which can lead to fewer cravings for sweets and break sugar addiction.

To make peace with sugar, we must first understand it. It is not about abstaining but rather choosing right, in moderation. Embrace the natural sugars coupled with fiber found in whole foods, drink plenty of plain ZenGolden Tea and limit the amount of added sugar from processed alternatives. Building mindful eating habits and a balanced diet can help manage our sugar relationship better.

In embracing sugar, it’s also worth remembering to cultivate physical activity and mental wellness – as these, along with a balanced diet, form the tripod on which optimal health stands. In a society where sugar is an inevitable companion, achieving moderation with fiber and our tea, rather than elimination, may be the key to making your peace with sugar.