... Making Sense of Sugar ...
In our way of Health Happiness thinking, how does sugar make any sense in this world?
Do we cut sugar out of our lives permanently? Is that even possible? Well Yes and No! We can stop with adding additional, unnecessary sugar to our lifestyle. But sugar is also found naturally in a lot of the foods that we eat. That’s the good stuff. (like in fruits) But adding the extra, unnecessary sugar cubes to our meals and drinks is not good stuff. ☹
So why is sugar so bad for us?
From marinara sauce to peanut butter, added sugar can be found in even the most unexpected products.
Many people rely on quick, processed foods for meals and snacks. Since these products often contain added sugar, it makes up a large proportion of their daily calorie intake.
In the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children.
Eating too much sugar can lead to all of the following:
Increases the risk of Heart Disease
It has been linked to Acne
Increases your risk of Diabetes
It may increase your risk of Cancer
It may increase your risk of depression
May accelerate the skin aging process
It can increase cellular aging
It drains your energy
It can lead to a fatty liver
It can increase kidney disease risk
It can negatively impact dental health
It can increase the risk of developing Gout
It can accelerate cognitive decline
As you can see, excessive added sugar has many negative health effects.
Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to decrease your excessive sugar intake!
Although consuming small amounts now and then is perfectly healthy, you should try to cut back on sugar whenever possible.
Focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods this will automatically decrease the amount of sugar in your diet.
Here are some helpful tips on how to reduce your intake of added sugars:
Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water or unsweetened seltzer. I love making home-made lemonade! Use 8 to 10 lemons, to one gallon of water and sweeten with organic agave (about 1 cup).
Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt. I also use honey or organic agave to sweeten mine!
Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies. Make your own all-natural fruit smoothies!
Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips. Measure out a serving size and store in snack size baggies!
Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings. Don’t buy store bought - make your own all-natural home-made dressings! There are tons of recipes out there!
Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
Swap your morning sweetened cereal for a bowl of rolled oats topped with your home-made granola and fresh berries, or an omelet made with fresh greens.
Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich.
Make your own home-made peanut butter, instead of the store- bought sweetened ones!
Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients. Stay away from the processed foods that are always located in the inner isles of the store!
Keeping a food diary is an excellent way of becoming more aware of the main sources of sugar, carbs, fat and calories in your diet. It will keep you on track of your health plan and what you are eating at each meal. (Great weight-loss tool!)
The best way to limit your added sugar intake is to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar.
See, it’s not so hard after-all to cut back on sugar! Do your body a favor and start today with these tips, and you will be on your way to a healthier, new you!
If I can do it, so can you! Start your “no added sugar” health happiness journey today!