We’re sure you have noticed the hype about sugar lately, with people quitting the white stuff and opting for savoury over sweet. We are big supporters of this, as we know that sugar is not only bad for our bodies, but also that it is hidden in products that we don’t even realise! New studies are showing that sugar is proving to be one of the biggest problems in the modern western diet. It can cause weight-gain (and prevent weight-loss!), decrease the blood circulation, activate allergies and interfere with the healing processes in the body. Apart from these physical issues, studies are now also showing that sugar may contribute to some mental health issues such as anxiety, fatigue, depression and stress.
“I have a background in dental health, so I have seen first hand what sugar can do to people’s teeth – and it is not a pretty sight. This leads me to think about what it must be doing to our insides, which is why Suz and I take special care to avoid it…”
While it is obvious that sugar is in foods like chocolates and lollies, it is also hidden in less obvious places and can be the reason why people find it hard to lose weight. The label ‘fat free’ is one of the biggest factors to watch out for. This is because when companies take fat (which can be used as energy in the body) out of their products, they replace it with sugar (which has no use in the body and is stored as fat). This is why it is important to always read the labels – or better yet, don’t buy packaged foods to begin with!
‘…We always cook from scratch, making our own sauces and flavours without the packaged versions. If we do buy something that comes in a package, we are very careful about reading the label to make sure that it is free from nasties – such as sugar!…’
When it comes to yoga, sugar may be hindering your practice, which isn’t a sweet scenario at all, especially if you are working hard to improve it. We know that our own practice has improved since making different diet choices (including avoiding sugar) and so we encourage everyone to find what works for them. If you’re unsure, here are some of the ways sugar may be interfering with your yogic progress – do any of them sound familiar?
- Sugar is linked to… Digestive issues
If you have any digestive issues, you will know first hand that they can sometimes interrupt your practice (think forward folds and belly twists!). Refined sugar has been blamed for many digestive health problems
- Sugar is linked to… Mental health issues
Finding that you can’t calm your mind during your practice? Your brain might be on a sugar high… which means a sugar low later on. People who have cut their sugar intake have reported a more calm perspective and improved focus.
- Sugar is linked to… weight-gain
If one of your yoga goals is to lose weight, your results may be suffering from the white stuff. Our bodies need carbs, fat and protein for energy, but an overload of sugar can be stored as fat in the body. This means that you might not see the physical results of your yoga practice, even if you are being consistent and working hard.
- Sugar is linked to… cravings
Many people take up yoga or meditation to obtain a more mindful way of eating or to resolve food cravings. Sugar is addictive and can cause your mind to feel restless and unfocused when craving it.
It can be a hard thing to avoid, but reading labels and being conscious of what you are eating is a great start. We know that after eating something sugary that we feel tired, bloated and yucky, which is why we choose healthier options! We also know that balance is important and that a treat every now and then is needed for everyone’s sanity and self-love levels…
“I love chocolate! I cannot deny that!”
…and know that a treat can always be worked off by a good workout, like a hike or a hot yoga class!
Let us know how your practice or lifestyle has changed since
making alterations to your diet!
Mike & Suz 🙂
Do you love chocolate (like Suz!) but also want to avoid sugar? You might be interested in our cacao-match latte recipe 😉 You’re welcome…