For the last year my lab have been studying the effects of dietary sugar on cognition. We have found some pretty exciting results, and some dramatic cognitive deficits. However, I will admit that I have been somewhat of a “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” researcher. I work out regularly, and eat pretty well (by the looks of my bank account, I spend a small fortune on food each week). However, I’ve decided that I should clean up my diet a bit more. It’s hard, because academia is demanding and stressful, and I find it hard to contain my emotions often when my job involves something like 80+ hours of my life a week.
In general, I eat a lot of fruit, I like smoothies, have a weakness for ginger beer and I deep love of granola for breakfast. I don’t have sugar in my tea or coffee, and don’t bake anything requiring sugar ever. However, I was genuinely horrified to find out that a small bottle of ginger beer has 45g of sugar in it, which is basically double the WHO’s recommended daily intake of 25g for an adult. Sugar isn’t evil by itself. Our bodies need glucose to function and power our cells. However, when I worked out that I was consuming probably 2 to 3 times my recommended amount per day, whilst wondering why I’m still getting spots in my thirties and never losing weight despite going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, I probably should address the cold hard facts.
To start with, I’m avoiding breakfast cereal in favour of an omelette. This has been easy, and actually takes less time to prepare than cereal, and I haven’t been hungry by 10am as I thought I’d be. I’m not eating fruit as a snack (other than blueberries and raspberries – which are low in sugar) – swapping instead for nuts, and no more fruit juices – instead I’m drinking water. It’s been a week now, I lapsed on Friday night when I drank whiskey and ginger ale, but other than that I’ve been pretty good, I feel a lot less bloated, and my skin hasn’t had a random grant writing breakout. GO ME!