You may be wondering if you have too much inflammation – or maybe you already know, and you may be wondering about the connection between blood sugar levels and this? Is inflammation and high sugar levels actually bad for you?
Yes to both! Constant levels of inflammation (even low level), along with elevated blood sugar, or sugar swings, is very damaging to your body and your body systems over time. Even our little ones today are experiencing the bad effects of these two things, together, or separately.
We need it, but ONLY when we need it to heal. We DO NOT need it every single day all day long. We have increased inflammatory levels from processed foods, chemicals, stress, our environment, and some natural foods (for some of us). By continuing to consume these types of foods, over time, it is just too much for the body. You can end up with autoimmunity, autoinflammatory disorders, or just a lot of pain and irritation. So what we want to do is encourage our body to have a normal inflammatory response when we need to heal from injury, but not have inflammation when we don’t need that. How? (Coming right up!)
High blood sugar levels are linked to diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, dental cavities, and other diseases. Primarily what we are talking about today is added sugars, not natural sugars.
What is the difference between added sugars and natural sugar?
Added sugars are what is put into processed food items to compensate for flavor and texture of foods that have been processed out. This is generally sugar that is added to packaged foods. This lacks all nutritional value and is purely there for taste and texture.
Natural sugars on the other hand are sugars that are found in real whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and more. These do have nutritional value and can be helpful and it is hard to over-consume these in terms of sugar content.
How do you know if what you are eating has added sugar?
Sugars are added to 74 percent of packaged foods! If you are eating something that isn’t fresh and is from a box or package you need to check the nutritional label and the ingredients list. The nutritional label lists the types of sugars under the sugar section. This will give you an idea. If your label doesn’t have this (it should!) you can also read the ingredients list under the nutritional label. It will list the highest ingredients to lowest ingredients (last). Sugars will be listed by the natural source, or the added source (things like high fructose corn syrup).
If you are eating a natural fruit or vegetable you won’t know the exact sugars, but could look them up if you needed to – but you don’t really need to. As long as you are consuming daily recommended amounts you will be eating healthy.
How do I know if I am consuming too much sugar?
Americans are consuming 300+ calories per day in added sugar. And teens consume even more! Current recommendations are less than 10 percent of calories per day be from added sugars. To put that into reference the recommended caloric intake on labels is 2000 calories per day – at 10 percent that makes less than 200 calories per day from added sugars. But in reality, you really should be under 5 percent of your calories from added sugars to prevent disease and risk. That is about equal to just one cup of a sweetened Greek yogurt.
So what might you feel like if you are overdoing it with sugar?
In addition to what you see below for sugar, many of the same symptoms occur with too much inflammation such as fatigue, joint pain, frequent colds and flu, digestive distress, and more.
• Are you feeling a ton of fatigue and crash each day? Sure you might have that sugar in the coffee in the morning or your sweet treat and you get a boost, but then there is always a crash with sugar. Your body will always be seeking more. If you are fatigued or crash out after meals or treats – it’s sugar-related.
• Are you hungry often? If you are eating a lot of sugar or certain types of carbs (processed) then your body will be constantly hungry. There is no nutritional value in added sugars and processed carbs so your body isn’t receiving the nutrition it needs, leaving it to ask for more, please.
• Are you frequently catching colds or what is going around? Overconsumption of sugar and processed foods can lead to altered immunity leaving you susceptible.
• Are you moody? If you are feeling irritable, angry, hangry, and more on a regular basis all day- this is probably from overconsuming sugar or processed carbs and then a drop in sugar levels following.
• Are you craving sweet stuff and carbs? If you are craving it’s because you aren’t getting whole nutrients and are eating empty sugar and carb calories. Your body will keep asking for more if you aren’t getting the nutrients it needs.
Five Easy Ways to Lower Inflammation & Sugar Intake
1- Eat a variety of foods in their natural state (real food)
This means no boxes, packages, bags. You are looking at consuming fresh fruit (if pre-diabetic or diabetic there may be some that cause spikes so you would need to be prepared for that), fresh vegetables, fresh proteins. That means the inner aisles at the store – produce and meat section foods. You will prep and eat those at each meal and for snacks. These are all-natural carbs and sugars, and nothing added as long as you are coming right from the source. These are nutritional necessities for your body and you will feel full, satisfied and stop the cravings.
2- Eat a variety of healthy fats.
This means great sources of fish, seafood, and other properly raised animal meats that are close to wild/nature. This means choosing healthy oil sources, and no more highly refined seed oils. We are ditching things like canola, vegetable, random seed oils, corn, and soy oils! These are very cheaply made and highly refined and processed. They RAISE inflammation levels. Eating oils like butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee are great sources that help control inflammation and do not increase it.
3- Focus on protein sources
Healthy whole-fat yogurts, salmon, seafood, fish, grass-fed beef, pastured chickens, eggs are best. This type of variety will help you fill nutrient gaps, and will help your body detox as well.
4- Make your own sauces and marinades
Store purchased sauces and marinades are often loaded with added sugars as fillers and taste components. If you want to make your own – you can control what goes in and use healthy oils, and healthy vinegar, and spices. You can keep it healthy fat and not add any sugars! It is amazing what you can find online looking for recipes. Keep in mind when you find one that you review it for sugars. There is no need for added sugar in a sauce or marinade. There are also other ways to add tastes of sweetness WITHOUT adding sugar! This will also keep chemicals and additives our of your diet – LOWERING inflammation. You will know exactly what whole foods were used in your own creation.
5- Drink plenty of water
Your body needs water for every process. This includes proper digestion and more. You can help your body detox with the right amount of water, and add a little squeeze of lemon. Your sugar levels will do better without sweetened beverages and your inflammation will decrease with no additives in beverages or to your water. Skip all those chemical sweeteners.
If this sounds awesome but you feel overwhelmed and need to be told what to eat, maybe what NOT to eat, and how to start this process – you are IN LUCK! Registration for my upcoming RESTART program begins on MONDAY, Sept. 6! We start either Tuesday, Sept. 14 or Wednesday, Sept. 15 (based on the class of choice). Don’t miss this opportunity to start change NOW!
Get on our list to be notified when registration opens!