These days there is a lot of talk about the amount of sugar people consume, both through foods and drinks. While the sugars that make up simple and complex carbohydrates can be an important part of healthy and balanced nutrition, too much is often a bad thing.
Refined sugar, in particular, has been linked to a number of health issues, including yeast imbalances, bloating, water retention, lethargy, nutrient deficiencies, weakened immune systems, and the list goes on. This kind of sugar is also highly addictive, with some health experts even comparing it to illegal drugs.
As more research reveals the damage excessive sugar can have on our bodies, a growing number of people are looking for ways to quit sugar or cut back on their intake. What many of them are finding, though, is that cravings for the sweet stuff are undermining their health goals.
That's where fermented foods (and drinks) come in. These superheros of the nutrition world – such as yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and kombucha – are one of your biggest allies when it comes to sugar cravings.
Here are three key ways fermented foods, also known as cultured products, can counteract sugar cravings:
Did you know that an excess consumption of sugar actually changes the microflora in your gut? Refined sugar and carbohydrate can lead to an imbalance in gut bacteria, which is part of the reason you crave more sugar. But fermented foods and drinks contain a broad range of probiotics (“good” bacteria) that help restore your microflora – reducing cravings for sugar along the way.
Resetting pH levels
Too much sugar leads to a highly acidic environment in your body, which can lead to a weak immune system and all kinds of digestive issues. Fermented products counteract this acid, leading to a more balanced, alkalised environment.
Eating (some of) the sugar for you
Fermentation usually involves the conversion of sugars to acids. For example, the lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid to make milk kefir. So if you eat fermented foods or drinks, they will consume excess sugar from other foods or drinks you’ve had and reduce the negative effects of the sugar. Studies have also found that eating fermented foods can help maintain normal blood sugar levels, moderate insulin spikes and boost metabolism.
Fermented foods and drinks have been an important part of traditional diets all around the world for thousands of years. As become more popular today, people are also starting to realise how they can be used to deal with current lifestyle and diet issues.
Sugar addictions and cravings are one of the biggest nutritional issues in the western world right now, and not everyone realises that something as simple as some yoghurt or pickles could help them counteract the desire for sweet things. And as well as reducing cravings, fermented products will counteract the negative impact of too much sugar, restoring your health and overall wellbeing along the way.