Have you ever tried to stop eating sugar? It’s not easy is it? Sugar is comfort. It is relief. It makes you smile. So why is this feel-good, “got to have it” food suddenly making headlines as THE food to avoid?
Has this sweetness gotten out of control?
The average American consumes around 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, far exceeding the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. Sugar is unavoidable, and what were once special treats like candies and cookies are now household/daily staples. Sugar is a means of showing love, communication and celebration. It is associated with positive feelings and energy. Those are hard feelings to dismiss.
But what if sugar is actually draining our energy?
Our bodies use carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to produce glucose – the main form of cellular energy and what feeds our brains. This is adequately and steadily supplied by whole foods like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, meats, etc. When balanced with fiber, fat, and protein, the sugar in fruits and vegetables for example, are evenly absorbed and regulated, along with the nutrients they provide.
In contrast, processed sugar in sweets, muffins, breads, sauces, cereals, etc. are absorbed more quickly. As a result, you get the bursts of energy, followed by a crash. Every time you eat something, your body uses the hormone insulin to escort the sugar or glucose into the cells for energy. The more sugar eaten, the more insulin the body needs to produce. After time, the pancreas can become exhausted or the cells begin to reject the glucose in the blood because there is just too much. This leads to dysregulated blood sugar, cravings, mood swings, inflammation, osteoporosis, fatigue, and a greater risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and heart disease. Additionally, excess sugar is stored as fat in the form of triglycerides. In turn, this will affect cholesterol levels and weight. Sugar is linked to a plethora of diseases, chronic illnesses and impaired immunity.
But why is it SO hard to cut out the sugar?
We are a society addicted to sugar. It may have something to do with it tasting so delightfully good. Sugar is a quick fix to temporarily displace exhaustion, stress, or just life in general. But that fix often leaves you feeling worse than before, right? I know you’ve felt it: bloated belly, headache, fatigue, mood swings, insomnia…symptoms you may not have associated with sugar.
Sugar is pervasive, hidden in many unsuspecting foods, with many disguises. Even with careful label reading, sugar can easily sneak by with these fancy names like high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, barley malt, cane sugar, caramel, dextrose, fructose, glucose syrup or maltodextrin. Cutting sugar out of your diet requires some strategy.
Here are some tips on how to get sugar out of your kitchen and your mouth.
1. Stop adding it to foods like cereal and fruit and drinks like coffee and tea. You don’t need it. If you must sweeten with something, choose honey, maple syrup or stevia.
2. Watch your fluids. Soda, commercial juices and other sugary liquids are sugar-rich, and can lead to weight gain due to excess sugar. In fact, studies have shown that eliminating soda can lead to significant weight loss in one year. Replace soda and other drinks with water and herbal teas.
3. Add in more whole foods. The more vegetables, fruits and healthy fats you eat, the less you will crave sugar. Your body will have the energy it needs and you feel satiated longer. Additionally, components in vegetables and fruits are anti-inflammatory, which help keep your body from disease.
Taking these small steps to live a healthier, less sugary lifestyle will have tremendous impact in the long run – on your health and your waist line.
Want to know more about sugar and ways to Live the Sweet Life…Without the Sugar? Join my sugar webinar! Just click here to register.