by Nicole Mowbray
What would you say if I was to let you into a little-known way to quickly and easily make yourself look younger and thinner? There are side effects though; you’ll feel more happy and confident, your sleep will improve and you’ll no longer endure cravings for junk food.
Are you interested?
Ok, well it’s simple. All you have to do is cut down on the amount of sugar you eat.
It may sound miraculous, but all of these things have happened to me in the two years that I’ve been off the white stuff. In 2012, I ate granola, sushi and sweets and drank sugary drinks – cocktails, fresh juices and smoothies – on a regular basis. I thought I was having the time of my life. The only downside was, at a size 16, I was two or three dress sizes bigger than I am now, which often made me glum. While there’s nothing wrong with being a size 16 – we all know it’s the average dress size for a woman in the UK – I didn’t really understand why I couldn’t drop inches. Sure I had a ‘sweet tooth’, but I exercised, I didn’t eat lots of crisps or fried foods, I never had rich or oily meals. I couldn’t work out what was going wrong. I thought that it was saturated fat that was bad for you, and that you could burn off the sugars you consumed if you were an active person, as I was.
Turns out I was wrong.
Eating a diet high in sugar wasn’t only wrecking my dreams of an hourglass figure. What I hadn’t twigged, back in the Spring of 2012, was that what I was eating was also causing the fast-growing crop of fine lines on my face that I was accumulating in what seemed to be a very short period of time. Despite having never suffered with my skin before, in my late twenties and early thirties I’d begun suffering with acne and pigmentation. Aside from these visible changes, I was increasingly snappy, dogged by mood swings that would make me the life and soul of the party one minute, then grumpy, angry and upset the next. Although I’ve always been quite a sensitive soul, in my bad moods I never felt far away from dissolving into tears at the slightest provocation.
I put these mood swings down to the fact I was tired. Although I got off to sleep without any problem, I’d frequently wake in the middle of the night and sometimes stay awake for a couple of hours before managing to drop off just before I needed to get up in the morning.
Back then, it never dawned on me that my food intake had anything to do with all of this, let alone the fact that my hormones were up the creek and I suffered painful irregular periods. I knew my weight was directly related to what I was eating, but those other symptoms… that couldn’t be to do with what I was eating, could it?
Of course it could; and indeed, it did. I know this because in June 2012, I cut the majority of sugar out of my diet and, within a matter of months, all of these things had remedied themselves.
Although it began as an experiment, analysing the things I ate showed me one thing: that the vast majority of my diet (including all the things I’d naively assumed were ‘healthy’) were actually very high in sugar. And that was before I started counting all of the things I was eating that I already knew weren’t healthy: my afternoon chocolate fix, the occasional piece of cake, a fondness for cans of Coca Cola when I ‘needed energy’. Somewhere along the line, I’d gone very wrong.
But it was surprisingly easy to put right, which is where Sweet Nothing comes in. Two years on, I have teamed up with some of this country’s leading experts to explain how you can give up sugar, and why you should. The book features expert nutritional therapist Ian Marber to explain all the food science stuff, cosmetic dermatologist Mica Engel explains what sugar does to our skin, hot nutritionist and personal trainer Holly Pannett shares her favourite recipes and tips and James Duigan’s Clean and Lean team – which were the books that first set me on this road – are on hand for moral support.
And you don’t need to take our word for it. In the spring of 2014, the UN’s World Health Organisation actually said that the obesity crisis was being fuelled by hidden added sugars. They want to take action and are currently considering a recommendation that would see all of us halving our intake of added sugars, as well as sugars that are naturally present in things like honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates later in the year.
Which is all very well, but how do we do it?
It’s actually very easy. We just stop buying products with sugar in them. Sweet Nothing will tell you how to recognise products with a high content of added sugar; these can be the first things you cut out, and progress from there. The key lies in demystifying those ingredients labels and visualising how much sugar you are eating.
Sweet Nothing is the story of me – a normal woman in my early thirties and my desire to find a balance between being healthy and enjoying myself. I chose to do that by quitting sugar wherever it was possible to so. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you’re already one step on the road to changing your life for the better. Take the plunge!
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