Sugar myths exposed

Sugar has been blamed as the cause of everything from obesity to cancer and many things in between. The fact is there’s nothing inherently wrong with sugar; our brains and nervous systems rely almost entirely on sugar for energy. Sugar is a molecule comprised of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Like all compounds made from CHO, sugar is a carbohydrate. The problem with sugar is that these days it’s added to everything from fruit juice to pasta sauce.

Sugar causes hyperactivity
Sugar has been studied extensively in relation to hyperactivity, and this myth has been solidly disproved. The thing is, people often consume sugar at celebrations or events where they’re stimulated by a lot of other things going on, so they’re actually just excited, not high on sugar. This belief is a hard one to shake, but it could all come down to a mind game.

Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar
Brown sugar is actually just white sugar with molasses added back into it. It does contain very tiny amounts of some minerals due to the molasses content, but the nutritional difference between brown sugar and white sugar is a moot point.

Sugar-free is healthier
Are we talking sugar-free because this item has actually been made without sugar? Then yes. But if we’re talking sugar-free because an artificial sweetener has been used instead of sugar, then hold up. As many of the physiological reactions to sweeteners begin with taste receptors in the mouth, even ‘natural’ no or low-calorie sweeteners like stevia and xylitol are outside of my comfort zone. The reality is there is no magic bullet, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Tips for getting a better nights sleeps

How you feel during your waking hours often hinges on how well you sleep. Similarly, the cure for daytime fatigue and sleep difficulties can often be found in your daily routine and lifestyle choices. Experiment with the following tips to find the ones that work best to improve your sleep and leave you feeling productive, mentally sharp, emotionally balanced, and full of energy all day long.

 

1. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day
This helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Choose a bed time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. Try to avoid sleeping in on the weekends also.

2. Move vigorously during the day
Regular exercisers sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. If you’re still experiencing sleep difficulties, move your workouts even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep. Try not to sit still during the day for more than an hour.

3. Be smart about what you eat and drink
Attempting to limit caffeine and nicotine, avoiding big meals at night, avoiding alcohol before bed and avoiding drinking too many liquids in the evening will all play a role with how well you sleep at night. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed.

4. Wind down and clear your head
Practicing relaxation techniques before bed is a great way to wind down, calm the mind, and prepare for sleep. For example, deep breathing where you close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last are proven to be beneficial. Also try Progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense all the muscles as tightly as you can, then completely relax. Work your way up to the top of your head.

5. Improve your sleep environment
Keeping your room dark, cool and quiet sends a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. If you can’t avoid or eliminate noise from neighbors, traffic, or other people in your household, try masking it with a fan or sound machine. Earplugs may also help. Make sure your bed is comfortable and attempt to not do things other than sleep on your bed such as computer work or watching tv, as your brain will then just associate the bed with sleep and make it easier for you to wind down.