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Sugar, Travel & Chronic Disease? Be Aware

In Chronic Diseases, Health, Sugar, The Smart Health Project, The Smart Sugar Project by Mariana Calleja2 Comments

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Do you love sugar? Me too. And I don’t have any intentions on giving it up. But I do intend to have a healthy relationship with it before it takes my health away. Even more as I travel and I want to discover sweet treats from around the world.

Since I love this topic particularly much, I want to talk, research and share more about these findings, even experiences on my own health throughout major changes I’ve gone through during the last year and a half. It has come to my attention recently how uninformed people are about sugar on their diet nowadays, on daily basis.

Which comes as a major concern to me because, well, sugar is among the most important health problems in the world today.

 

Did you know…

  • That sugar is not only present in candies or sweet treats but also on bread, pasta and salty delicious things we eat at coffee time?

That’s right. The commonly known Carbs (carbohydrates) are also a source of sugar.

Why? Because when you eat a piece of bread, a croissant or even pasta, these carbs go into your digestive track, they are then broken down and absorbed into the blood stream and cells: as SUGAR. Yep, just like that. All carbs break down into certain kinds of sugars in the body and they all go into different places to be used through the different body functions.

Take this image for example. A basic guideline of foods diabetic people should avoid.

By www.diabetesprotocolprogram.com

By www.diabetesprotocolprogram.com

 

The daily allowance for a person’s sugar intake should be halved to six teaspoons, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. (The Telegraph)

 

  • Or did you know that a sugar excess can damage organs such as the kidney or your arteries on the long run, developing arterial hypertension or hormonal unbalances?
  • Or that cavities are most commonly a health problem originated with sugar intake along with poor teeth hygiene? Scary truth we all should be aware of.

 

Have you experienced any of these symptoms?

Maybe you’re feeling frequently tired or with a bloated stomach, with nausea or maybe with a heartburn sensation under your chest. All of these symptoms can be related to an inadequate sugar consumption.

Because, sadly, the most delicious things we usually eat are the things making us suffer from a diverse set of symptoms that can become a chronic disease, such as arterial hypertension, heart risk, diabetes, vascular disorders and obesity which is a combo of all these together. So why not learn and prevent a little bit? No matter your age, the body is and will always be grateful for ANY positive change on your daily habits. Small changes will take you on a long healthy road.

Let me share a list of foods

Not intended to scare you but to teach you instead. It’s SUPER IMPORTANT that you become aware of what you’re eating. And by this I don’t mean counting calories but simply learning what’s in the food you are eating and how much sugar content are you actually having

For example, things to ideally avoid (or cut off from your diet if desired):

Soft Drinks, sweetened fruit juices and any kind of juice boxes. Have water instead every single time.

Dairy Products: flavoured yogurts for example. Natural yogurt is good and can be mixed with raisins and/or honey making a healthy snack instead.

Bread and Pastries: biscuits, cakes & anything you can imagine right now. Learn how to ration them wisely throughout your week. Have some, just wisely.

Alcoholic Drinks: that’s right, there’s a good quantity of carbs and/or sugar in most of them. Get informed.

Sauces & Dressings: ketchup, salad dressings and more. All containing absurdly large amounts of sugars. Wrong, just wrong.

Fried Food: French fries, Doritos, Cheetos, you name it. Lots of carbs (and bad fats too), meaning sugar after breakdown during the digestive process.

“Healthy-branded” food can be tricky: such as granola bars and low-fat products. Yes, low fat is fine. The problem with these products is that usually the low fat means more added sugar, carbs or starch.

And these are just the most common ones. Scary stuff, right?

That’s why I want to help you become conscious about this matter by observing your body, your habits and the way foods impact on your body. I’ve learned all this myself just by mastering slowly and within time the fine art of observation. The kind that is not done just with the eyes but beyond.

Tips for Starters?

Cut off soft and sugary drinks. Water instead will be one GREAT initial first step that your body will notice right away.

Try to build an eating schedule according to your daily activities. It’s best to put something in your stomach every 4 hours (due to sugar blood levels). If not possible, try any kind of schedule that works with your current one.

If you feel hungry in between meals and you can’t access a fruit or something natural, drink water instead. It’s a tiny healthy trick for your stomach and brain until your next proper meal. Plus it hydrates you, an essential too.

Try to eat two pieces of fruit per day. This will help control your craving for sugar, which most of the times becomes a snack made up with added sugars, like cookies, a bun or chips/crisps.

Eat one cup (ideally two) of vegetables every day. Cooked or raw. Including salad if desired. Remember that most of them contain fibre which is good to the body but even better when taking lots of water with it so their digestive function can be properly held.

Whenever you feel like eating an ice cream, cookie, bread or similar, try my Golden Rule:

Eat half of what you would normally really eat. This way you can keep eating a bit of everything but in a controlled and smart quantity. Start observing your average quantities, then just make the math. It’s the easiest step and one that is not as painful as those crazy unhealthy diets out there.

You want pancakes for breakfast on the weekend? Good! Take two instead of four.

You want a beer with colleagues after work? Great! Drink one instead getting the happy hour offer along with double-cheese-melted-nachos.

You usually drink tea in the afternoon with biscuits? Me too! I try hard to avoid having them all. This way I can have some more the next day.

And so on. Do you get the whole picture?

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So, as you can see and realise, sugar is a main issue, but it doesn’t have to be a bad issue but a a manageable one. If you feel like cutting sugar for good, that’s your choice but if you don’t intend on doing that, then you’ve come to the right place. I want to guide you and show you how we can both enjoy and control our sugar intake into healthy levels.

And as travellers, we encounter delicious treats we want to try for the first time in every place we visit. We won’t be asking the chef how much sugar does a desert has but we can control the amount of sugary foods we eat in a day. As I said before: it’s all about a healthy balance.

Some people need more sugar than others. Each body is unique. It’s time to listen to yours in case you haven’t.

*****

A great sugar project will be coming soon to you all! Keep following. 

*****

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Comments

  1. Linda

    Great info, Mariana! We eat so much more sugar than we realize. Once I began reading the labels on the stuff in the supermarkets it made a difference to my shopping & eating! Sometimes it shocked me – still does! And I reckon I’ve only skimmed through a fraction of what I eat. Added advantage, I think, is that I actually savor the taste of food more when it isn’t drowned with sugar!

    1. Author
      Mariana Calleja

      Thanks on your comment, Linda! It is a worrying subject indeed. But also one that can be learned by observation. By increasing awareness of our own bodies. Just these last two weeks I noticed how I was craving lots of chocolate and pastries and bread. Two weeks have passed and I feel going back to normal after feeling quite stressed and rushed on my daily routine, with insomnia for several nights and constipation issues as well. All at once. It has to mean something and it’s interesting that it all shows up when balance is lost. I truly believe in this tiny but significant fact. After you observe it all and you learn what’s normal for you, you’ll be amazed on what we really need and what we don’t need for having a healthy routine. Sugar can really mess with our entire axis (carbs, bread, etc. included).

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