This one will be short and sweet (ha ha!).
Recently on the internet and social media, I have noticed that lots of people are working on breaking their sugar addiction. Sugar and added sugar cause major health issues in our bodies. High blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, inflammation – just to name a few. Let’s take a look at this sweet addiction and start breaking your sugar addiction.
What is added sugar and how can we take control of it?
We all know that cake, candy, pastries, etc. are loaded with sugar. This is not what I am talking about – I am talking about added sugar. You know the stuff food manufacturers add to your yogurt, ketchup, salad dressings, pasta sauce, instant oatmeal, granola bars…you get the picture. It can be found everywhere, even in seemingly “healthy” foods.
Do you know what the recommended amounts are for added sugar? Consider this: Americans average about 20 teaspoons daily. The recommendation is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
Let’s clarify what “added sugar” means. Fruits and some vegetables have naturally occurring sugar in them. The difference in naturally occurring sugar is the nutrients and fiber in fruits and vegetables that help our body process them. Added sugar is simply that – added to a food – not naturally occurring. It does not have any additional nutrients or fiber, does not process through your body like the natural stuff and it remains as fat in your body.
Americans consume massive quantities of sugar and it’s contributing to the rising rates of obesity. Most of the consumption comes from sodas and sweets like candy. Sugar is delicious AND terrible for you. It triggers huge spikes in your blood sugar, causing your body to store its excess energy as fat, and Type II Diabetes (the kind you give yourself from over consumption of sugars because it desensitizes your pancreas, rendering your pancreas unable to produce insulin in proper quantities) is rampant in America because of added sugar in our diet.
So, what can you do? Really work on recognizing where added sugars can be limited in your diet. Here are some ways to help you keep too much added sugar out of your body:
- Avoid purchasing items such as pasta sauce and salad dressing that have more than 6 grams per serving.
- Keep an eye on your fruit intake – 1 to 2 servings per day is plenty of naturally occurring sugar.
- Learn what the various names for added sugar are and look for them in the groceries you purchase. Here is a list of common names that sugar appears under in food labels:
Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar
GIVING UP THIS ONE ITEM WILL GREATLY IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH!
Plan your sweet treats according to your liking. If you are going to consume some sugar, make sure it is something you love and that the additional calories are worth it – homemade is much better than store bought (in most cases).
PLAN YOUR SWEET TREATS
I love sweets. Nothing better than a sweet treat. What I have learned for myself is that I feel much better when I don’t eat sugar all the time. I actually plan for mine on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. When I say plan for it I mean that I chose to have something homemade rather than store bought and it’s something I truly love – like cupcakes!
The best way to curb your addiction is to eat whole, healthy foods at least 85% of the time!
Here are some additional resources regarding added sugar:
Read about Choosing great Nutrition in Midlife here!
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