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Why Sugar Destroys Gut Health – Plus the Simple Solution

Sugar is to your gut microbiome what wind is to a house of cards – chaos, destruction and wreckage. Much like said house of cards, our gut relies on a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria – and excess sugar consumption is primed to bowl it over. Here’s how, plus a few things you can do about it.

Our gut microbiome is home to trillions of bacteria which have massive sway over our health – from our brain to our blood to our bones. This complex structure is made up of over a hundred trillion good and bad bacteria – and the good part is, we have the power to sway things in our favour. To restore gut health, you’ll want to focus on what you’re fuelling it with.

The foods we eat play an integral role in shaping the flora in the gut. Diets high in added sugars, alcohol and trans fats can lead to a dysregulation of this system known as dysbiosis. This is the foundation for a number of chronic diseases – from autoimmune conditions to obesity and heart disease. One of the biggest offenders is sugar, and this is because diets high in this addictive substance can lead to changes to the gut bacteria, with research finding it can lower microbial diversity, resulting in inflammation and lower defences. This is because the gut affects our entire bodies – and that includes our immunity. Poor gut health is a mere stepping stone to a weak immune system.

What can you do?

Consuming a whole foods diet is one of the best ways to avoid these gut disruptions – you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. If in doubt, JERF it out. What we’re talking about is the movement known as Just Eat Real Food – proponents of JERFing are all about prioritising real, nutritious food over the ultra-processed variety which leads us to sugar, sugar and more sugar. When you’re consciously putting together meals made of whole foods, there’s a lot of thought and attention put into the process. You’ll find you’re more mindful of your body’s signals, from when you feel full to when you feel hungry. By listening to your body's cues, you can avoid mindless snacking and emotional eating that crop up when you’re stressed or bored, which often leads to overeating sugary foods. Studies have shown that sugar can have a similar effect on the brain to drugs like cocaine – yikes! – and that’s why it can be so hard to break free of the cycle of addiction, even if we limit our added sugar intake. When you just eat real food, you take added sugars out of the equation and allow your body to recalibrate and free itself from dependence on sugar. JERF promotes eating foods rich in nutrients, which, while freeing your brain from the cycle of addiction, also helps reduce cravings through the consumption of healthy fats and protein. Both of these nutritional powerhouses are known to keep us feeling fuller for longer and fight the hormones that trigger sugar cravings. But you don’t have to miss out on delicious desserts just because you’re skipping the ultra-processed stuff. Head on over to look out our No Sugar Baking Cookbook for all your comforting favourites like brownies and cakes, without the consequences!

Fermented foods are a powerful weapon in the fight to improve gut health and it comes down to one major thing – probiotics. These are good bacteria which colonise our gut and help get that balance back in our favour. The fermentation process involves preserving food, originally having been used to extend shelf life in the days before our trusty refrigerators. But that’s not its only benefit – fermentation produces microorganisms which provide beneficial, gut-boosting bacteria and create that familiar acidic taste we associate with fermented foods. Here are a few to include in your diet to improve gut health:

Need a little help fighting off a stubborn sugar addiction? Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
  2. 90+ member-only recipes.
  3. Community forums to share your journey.
  4. Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
  5. Exclusive content from our panel of experts.

So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!

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