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The Dirt on Sugar & Sweeteners

By now (I hope) you’re starting to learn that sugar makes you fat, not fat. What confuses most people is that many natural sugars are touted as being healthy, and that there are so many artificial sweeteners proposing to be a better alternative to natural sugars. Let’s break it down to a few points to help you understand different sugars and sweeteners, and their effect on your body.

1. Both natural sugars and artificial sweeteners can elicit weight gain or inhibit weight loss

Even if sweeteners have no calories? Yes. Research has shown that any sweet taste induces the release of insulin, and too much insulin is one of the leading causes of excess weight gain.

Eat carbs/sugar/sweeteners -> Insulin is released -> Insulin is a storage hormone that moves glucose to cells -> If cells are full, insulin stores the glucose as fat

So you opt for a sweetener instead of a natural sugar thinking that you won’t store fat, but you were wrong. If it’s sweet your body will release insulin. Insulin signals storage. And you get fat.

2. Natural sweeteners will always be a better choice than something made in a lab or factory

While NO SWEETENERS AT ALL ARE PERMITTED – NATURAL OR CHEMICAL – on your sugar detox challenge. It’s important to know which natural sugars are okay to use, and which chemical sweeteners to avoid.

If you are going to have something sweet, have something from nature. Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype that makes you think that you will live better through chemistry.

Natural sweeteners are not necessarily ‘healthy.’ (Remember, anything sweet causes the release of insulin). Our bodies can metabolise natural sweeteners, while chemical sweeteners are recognised as toxins in our system. Toxins are stored as fat. So not does the elevated levels of insulin encourage the body to store more, but you’re also storing toxins as fat!

Use in moderation and organic where possible:
Raw honey
Real maple syrup
Dates, or date sugar
Pure fruit juice
Green leaf stevia

NEVER use these chemical sweeteners:
Stevia when it’s white or bleached

Remember – no sugars at all on a challenge!

3. It’s ALWAYS better to limit your intake of any kind of sweetener

To achieve the most out of our lifestyle challenges you need to avoid all sweet things – natural or not. Use these guidelines to help you, and to ensure that you don’t get suckered in to having sugar.

Read the nutrient labels of products.
Check for the total carbohydrates, and just under that you will find how much sugar it contains. 5g of sugar = 1 tablespoon.
If an ingredient ends in “ose” or “tol” – it’s a sweetener. For example, sucralose, fructose, dextrose, lactose, xylitol, sorbitol.
The words sugar, nectar, syrup and crystal indicate that it’s a sugar.
On ingredient lists, the ingredient with the highest % is listed first. If a sweetener is listed in the first few ingredients, avoid the product!

Remember that our challenges are there to help ditch bad habits while instilling healthier ones. To gain the most out of the challenge, you need to be as strict as possible. When not on a challenge, don’t forget to enjoy a treat every now and then. But you need to eat clean AT LEAST 80% of the time when not on a challenge.


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