Refined Sugar-Free Treats
I have a major sweet tooth, so when I decided to go refined sugar-free for the month of January, I started to explore options for satisfying my cravings. I learned a lot from going the whole month without sugar and you can read all about it in my blog here.
It is now pretty well understood that it is an excess of refined sugar and grains not fat (saturated fat from animals included. Read - Saturated fat is part of a healthy diet) that is making North Americans so sick. A diet high in processed and refined foods has been linked to an increase risk of developing high cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Obesity, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, migraines, reduced immunity, lethargy and fatigue, among many things including ADHD, Autism, and Dementia.
Sugar feeds the undesirable bacteria in our gut and starves the good ones. Our good bacteria produce many desirable products, such as vitamins, enzymes and neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which effect our mood, behavior, sleep, memory, appetite and digestion and sex drive. In fact, 80-90% of our bodies serotonin can be found in the gut (1). So, by eating less sugar and processed foods and by eating more whole foods, we can properly feed our gut bacteria, which will directly affect how we feel mentally and physically. For more on sugar, read my blog here.
Our good bacteria also keeps the mucus lining of our gut healthy and thick. However, a poor diet full of processed grains and sugary treats and beverages, causes a lot of inflammation and damages the lining of our intestine. We have 70% of our immune cells in our gut (2), so when this barrier between food stuff and our immune cells is challenged, our immune cells start to overreact and they attack our own cells as well as the food stuff. The increased prevalence of allergies and autoimmune diseases has been attributed to this. For more on the gut microbiome, read my blog here.
I encourage you to join me in eating more whole foods and less sugar. When you are feeling cravings for sugar, eat some fruit, nuts and seeds, or try some of these deliscious treats I've been snacking on!
1. McIntosh, J. (2016, April 19). "Serotonin: Facts, What does Serotonin Do?." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
2. Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G. & Frati, F. (2008) Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol 153(1), 306.