Q&A with Dr Hanlon: Why You Should Skip the Sugar

Q&A with Dr Hanlon: Why You Should Skip the Sugar

Our mission at For Wellness is to help people get more good stuff into their morning coffee - and less of the bad stuff, like cream and sugar.

We hear these additives are bad for us all the time, but what's the big deal, really?

We sat down with naturopath Dr Siobhan Hanlon for a quick Q&A to learn more.

FW: Why does sugar get such a bad reputation?

Dr Hanlon: Sugar has a wide range of negative impacts on the body. We know that it can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes, but outside of this, sugar can have a wide range of negative impacts on your body.

It depletes chromium in the body and can prevent your body from utilizing it. It actually depletes other vitamins as well, but chromium is the main one. Chromium is really important for metabolic processes, your immune system, hair health, and it may also reduce the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

Sugar also accelerates aging, can lead to heart disease, and really impedes the immune system, putting you at risk of chronic illness and getting sick more often.

The other issue is that sugar attacks the small vessels in the body, eating away at them. That's why people with diabetes will often have problems with their vision their fingers, their toes - all the places where small arteries live.

Unfortunately, sugar is very addictive. It's not just that it tastes good, but it can really get you hooked!

FW: Why is it so problematic to drink sugar in the morning, especially?

Dr Hanlon: In the morning, blood sugar naturally rises on its own. The liver is responsible for breaking down things to put glucose into the blood so that we can start moving about and using our muscles - because everything uses glucose. If your liver is doing that, and then you start adding in sugar on top of that, you're raising those glucose levels even higher than they should be.

It's much better to have protein in the morning or something that is not going to further increase that level.

FW: What are some ways that we can break that cycle of sugar addiction?

Dr Hanlon: Sugar is a really hard one. Really, the best way to break it is to each day just cut down a little bit, give yourself a timeline and reduce it over that timeline.

If you find that you're having cravings for sugar, sometimes replacing it in the beginning with a natural sugar like a fruit or you know something that's a little bit high in sugar can help to calm that craving.

Also, taking some chromium and eating some protein can help because the chromium gets depleted by the sugar. It's also worth staying hydrated to keep you fuller so your brain gets the message that you're not hungry.

FW: What are some signs you're addicted to sugar?

Dr Hanlon: Constant cravings, always looking for foods, always like opening the fridge and going into the cabinet looking for something even when you're not hungry.

You might notice you always feeling like you need something sweet after eating too. A lot of people eat a giant meal and then feel like 'Okay, I really just feel like I need something sweet now.' It's like you're not hungry. You're just craving that sugar.

FW: What are the benefits of cutting out or cutting down on sugar?

Dr Hanlon: The most obvious is a potential decrease in weight, better immune function, and reduced inflammation.

You might also experience better skin, as we know that sugar contributes to acne, hair issues, and yeast in the body.

Better sleep is a big bonus. A lot of times people will have sugar fluctuations at night that cause them to get poor rest.

If you've ever drank a lot of wine and woken up in the middle of the night, that's that sugar waking you!

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