It’s a fact; eating too much sugar is bad for you. Recent research has revealed that it’s sugar and not fat that presents the greatest risk to your health. Sugar is addictive, interferes with blood glucose and insulin levels, does not satiate hunger, is toxic, and also causes systemic inflammation which can trigger a wide variety of diseases including:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
- Mood swings
All in all, sugar is something we need to eat much less of. While this might sound simple, avoiding sugar is much harder than it sounds because so many of today’s foods are laced with sugar. Food manufacturers know that sugar increases sales – even of savory foods!
Use these tips to help you avoid sugar…
1. Don’t drink sweetened beverages
Coffee coolers, sports drinks, sodas, many fruit juices, all are made with added sugar. Coffee coolers, for example, can contain 60 grams or even more of sugar – that’s twice your daily sugar allowance (24 grams for women and 36 grams for men – More information at “5 Reasons to Avoid Sugar”). Most regular sodas weigh in with 40 grams of sugar per can. Stick to naturally sweetened and unsweetened beverages to avoid a whole lot of sugar.
2. Skip most breakfast cereals
Almost all breakfast cereals contain lots of added sugar, even those that don’t taste very sweet like All-Bran and Corn Flakes. And as for those bowls of candy masquerading as breakfast cereal marketed for kids – they contain so much sugar they should be against the law! Oatmeal and a few other natural cereals contain no added sugar and they should be your breakfast of choice. Chocolate-flavored breakfast cereals are obviously very high in sugar and should be avoided by kids and adults alike.
Cereals is one of the “5 Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes”.
3. Avoid processed foods
Sugar is a common ingredient in processed foods such as ready meals. Why? Because sugar increases sales and also means that the meal actually tastes of something once all the natural flavors have been processed out of them! Sugar ends up in a whole host of processed foods – even savory pastries and potato chips. Cutting down on processed foods will automatically reduce your sugar intake.
4. Read food labels
Becoming more label savvy means you’ll soon learn if sugar has been added to your meals. However, you can’t just rely on the nutrition label; you’ll also need to read the ingredients too. The nutrition label lists table or white sugar but does not reflect any added sugar from other sources. For example:
- Agave nectar
- Evaporated cane juice
- Malt syrup
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Cane crystals
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Cane sugar
- Glucose Raw sugar
- Corn sweetener
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Crystalline fructose
- Invert sugar
All of these names indicate that sugar has been added to the food you are eating but will not be reflected on the nutrition label as none are table sugar – otherwise known as sucrose.
5. Stop snacking on candy
Candy, chocolate, sweets – they might taste good but they are overloaded with sugar. Some sweets are virtually pure sugar and contain absolutely no other nutrients. These foods are nothing but empty calories that provide energy and nothing else. Not only that, they often lead to more hunger only shortly after having eaten them!
When you eat a concentrated source of sugar, your body produces insulin to deal with the inevitable spike in blood glucose. Insulin then allows the glucose out of your blood and into your liver and muscle cells.
The trouble is, the more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces and the more likely you are to suffer low blood glucose soon after. Low blood glucose increases your cravings for sugar and then it’s the same process all over again…
Eat lots of sugar -> Increase blood glucose -> Insulin produced in large amounts ->blood glucose levels fall -> Crave more sugar _> Eat lots of sugar etc.
Instead of snacking on sugar-laden sweets, eat low-sugar foods such as raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, boiled eggs, cooked meats, and vegetable smoothies. If you really need the taste of something sweet, eat some fruit.
Reaching for sugary snacks only leads to eating more and more and MORE sugar so it is very important that you break this cycle and get off the sugar rollercoaster.
Cutting down on your sugar intake can have a very beneficial effect on your health – your dentist will be happy too! A little sugar is okay but most people eat far more than just a small amount. Sugar is an anti-nutrient in that it contains no vitamins or minerals but requires a lot of these substances to breakdown and digest properly. This is why so many people who eat a lot of sugar also have symptoms of malnourishment. Gradually weaning yourself of sugar to start looking and feeling healthier!