The Ayurvedic view of Sugar – (you don’t have to quit!)

So, sugar is bad.  We only have to open the papers or glance at the Internet to be told that it’s exceedingly dangerous for health. How many times have you read it this week alone!   Science says that sugar causes all sorts of diseases; as worrying as things like diabetes and cancer. We do our best to be healthy; so this is bad news. The experts suggest that we should cut sugar out of our lives altogether, but when you dig deeper, it is refined white sugar and processed food that cause the problem.  But as sugar is so addictive and creates such a feel good factor, where do we begin?

Is Eliminating Sugar the Answer?

Reducing or eliminating sugar from our diets is something that a lot of people attempt, and often fail.  But, what about switching to healthy sugars as an alternative?  Ayurveda diet guidelines can prove a great help here.  The elimination of one food group is not recommended, and frankly not easy to stick to, but those who follow Ayurveda dieting have an approach to sugar that makes more sense.

Understanding How Sugar Fits Ayurvedic Eating

Ayurveda dictates that there are six tastes, sweet being one of them.  The sweet taste is considered one of the most vital, and this many come as a surprise to many. Eating sweet foods is promoted as important, and they certainly don’t recommend eliminating it.  There is also more to ‘sugar’ than you may think.  The Ayurveda diet classes many things as sweet (or sugar based) food, including fruit, honey, milk, rice, wheat and other grains, as well as refined white sugar.

Healthy Sugars Are Good For You

To reduce the risk of these sugar related conditions we need to be focusing on the consumption of healthy sugars or sugar alternatives rather than trying to give up sugar altogether.  We are addicted to refined sugar because it is in most foods we have consumed since childhood, and therefore we need a substitute. As well as being addictive, refined and processed sugar has had a negative impact on the biochemical processes of the body and the overall health and mental well-being of the person, so we need to make changes.

The Difference – The Ayurvedic View

Different types of sugars create different reactions in the body, and healthy sugar impacts in an entirely different way to refined sugar.  White sugar is has a ‘heating’ effect which upsets the doshas, (Pitta, Kapha and Vata).  Whereas a healthy sugar alternative, such as raw local honey or SugaVida, has a soothing and cooling effect. By consuming this type of sugar, we are creating a strengthening effect throughout the body not causing the damage we see in cancer or diabetes. On top of this, by eating a healthy sugar alternative instead of a refined white sugar we are consuming Sattvic food, and this helps create peace in the mind.  What we eat can genuinely impact our mental health and well-being as much as any other external factor.   The danger of white sugar on mental health is far reaching.  When we consume refined sugars, we are aggravating the Rajasic and Tamasic and this, in turn, leads to depression and other debilitating conditions of the mind.

The Balance

Changing the way you look at sugar is the key to better health.  You do not want to remove all sugar, simply switch to a healthy sugar alternative. Ayurvedic Medicine offers one of the best insights into understanding sweet foods and opens the door to healthier sugars that still sate the cravings without upsetting the balance of the body.