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Fruits are Sweet But Quitting Sugar Doesn’t Mean You Have To Stop Eating Them! Here’s Why!

Fruits are Sweet But Quitting Sugar Doesn’t Mean You Have To Stop Eating Them! Here’s Why!

We all know sugar can damage our health in so many ways and this is why many of us choose to slash our daily sugar intake by eating and drinking more healthily.

Entering into a sugar detox program has many benefits but is the advice we’re being given accurate? Cutting out refined sugars is the obvious solution but some people suggest eliminating fruits that contain naturally occurring sugars and carbohydrates that contain both simple and complex sugars is also necessary to lessen our sugar intake. But is this true or by cutting out all types of sugars causing an imbalance in our diet?

We think sugar is the devil. Is it true?

When we hear the word sugar, we think sweet and this association in our mind can cause us to believe that cutting down on fruits is necessary for a low-sugar diet.

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But are naturally-occurring sugars such as fructose really as bad as processed or refined sugars? And are we actually restricting ourselves by eliminating them from our diet in the name of health?

Naturally-occurring sugar and refined sugar are actually the same

All sugar is made up of two components – fructose and glucose – and this applies to anything from chocolate cake to bananas. In other words, the molecular structure of all sugars is the same.

Our bodies process sugars by sending it from the blood stream to the pancreas which then releases insulin – a hormone that acts as your body’s sugar regulator. From there it’s either converted into energy or stored as fat in the muscles, liver or fat cells. Eat too much sugar and your body will start calling for more insulin release and over time can cause insulin resistance. This means it’s unable to efficiently convert sugars into useable energy. Of course, this can commonly lead to diabetes and other health problems.

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Although the sugar content is the same, fruits are still healthier for us

Despite the sugar structure being the same whether it’s a doughnut or a strawberry, the way our body processes fruit sugars is different to refined sugars.

Fruit is nutritionally valuable

First (and most obviously) fruit contains more than just sugars. They are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants and water that are beneficial for a healthy working body. This is comparable to products containing refined sugars that are pretty much nutritionally void, high in saturated fats and offer no extra benefits.

Fruit’s high fibre changes the way our body digests sugar

The second benefit of fruit is its fibre content. This is significant because the presence of fibre allows our bodies to break down the sugars in a more efficient way. Fibre slows down the digestion of glucose which means the body has more time to use the sugar as fuel rather than storing it as fat and not creating the sudden spike in insulin that can crash and cause low-sugar levels. This is beneficial because it won’t form the common cravings we get from sweets and treats.

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Fruit has less sugar by volume

The third reason why fruit can’t be fully equal to a slice of cake, is that fruit contains less sugar by volume in comparison. If you’re comparing 100g of strawberries to 100g of cake then cake will win in the ‘most-sugar’ competition.

Want to replace whole fruit with fruit juices? They are not the same!

This is where people can get confused because they will choose to drink orange juice or other fruit juices because they assume it’s healthy and the same as eating the whole fruit.

The problem with fruit juices is that they’re pretty much a concentrated source of fructose but with all the nutritional stuff taken out. That wonderful fibre that helps digest the sugars more efficiently is found in the skin and pulp of a whole fruit but the majority of it is removed from the juice you drink. This means the sugars get absorbed by the liver at a faster speed so basically acting as refined sugar does – spiking your insulin and mostly storing it as fat in your cells.

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Studies have found that a glass of fruit juice contains the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coca Cola [1] and as a liquid form with no nutrition present, it can cause havoc for your health.

Sugar is a necessary part of our diet!

Yes, while sugar has got a bad reputation over the years this is only due to the rise in refined sugar products and our increasing consumption of them. In fact, a study found that eating fruit on a daily basis actually decreased the risk of diabetes in women [2] as well as heart disease [3].

Sugar is a necessary part of our diet and there’s a reason why it occurs naturally in the foods we eat – it’s essential in providing our cells with energy in order for them to function properly. Therefore, eating naturally-occurring sugars such as fructose (or even lactose found in milk) will provide you with a healthy amount of sugar with the exception of fruit juices. Consuming sugar with fibre in fruit will be digested in the right way and allow your body to work effectively.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash.com via pexels.com

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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