Sugar is everywhere in the modern diet and it’s getting harder and harder to avoid. If you look at the ingredients list of almost any food in the supermarket, you’ll see sugar listed. And the higher it appears on the list, the more of it your food contains as ingredients are listed by weight for most to least. Some foods, like many breakfast cereals, contain more sugar than any other ingredient, “How to avoid sugar ?” !
Sugar is added because people like the taste and have a sort of sugar addiction. By adding sugar to food, the food manufacturers can rely on you to buy more and more of their products; good for their shareholders, bad for your health and weight.
Many people also find that sugary foods are not very satisfying. They eat some and then, soon after, they want some more. This causes a sugar craving cycle that can be hard to break which is why so many people are overly reliant on sugar for energy.
The food manufacturers also add sugar to foods that are not even sweet – potato chips, instant noodles, canned soup, processed meals, savory sauces, stock cubes etc. If you look, you’ll be amazed to find out just how many foods contain sugar.
Food manufacturers are sneaky too; they don’t always call sugar sugar. In fact, there are over 60 different names for sugar which can lead you to believe your food is sugar-free when, actually, it isn’t. Check out my “61 different Names For Sugar” article to discover all the different names used for sugar.
The dangers of too much sugar
So what makes sugar so harmful? Why should you try and avoid too much added sugar? Those are good questions!
Sugar contains calories but not much else; very few if any vitamins, minerals, or fiber. But, it needs all these things to be digested and used. As a result, it robs your body of valuable nutrients without actually providing any itself. For this reason, sugar is known as being a source of “empty calories”. Empty calories are unhealthy calories as your body needs those nutrients to function properly.
Sugar is also easily converted to fat and interferes with fat burning. When you eat sugar, your blood glucose levels rapidly rise which causes your body to produce insulin. Insulin carries the sugar into your muscle and liver cells but, once they are full, it takes any excess sugar to your fat cells. While insulin levels are high, your body cannot burn fat. Once your blood glucose levels are lowered, you crave more sugar and the cycle begins again.
Excess sugar is also directly linked to a host of serious medical conditions, “5 Healthy Reasons to Avoid Sugar”. We used to think that fat was the most dangerous food group but now it seems it’s sugar that is the worst. Too much sugar can cause:
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
- Mental decline
- Premature aging
- Alzheimer’s’ and Parkinson’s’ diseases
How much sugar should you eat?
So how much sugar should you eat? The answer is as little as possible! However, experts are a bit more specific than that and recommend the following amounts:
Men: 36 grams or 9 teaspoons
Women: 24 grams or 6 teaspoons
That might sound like a lot but, really, it isn’t. For example, a regular can of soda can contain upward of 40 grams of sugar per single serving!
How to cut back on sugar?
Let me help you kick the sugar habit. I’ve got lots of great resources to share including my sugar-busting eating plan – the 20 No Sugar Days Diet.
Cutting back on sugar is probably the most beneficial thing you can do for your weight and your health. It might not be easy at first because of cravings and sugar addiction but it IS possible; I know – I’ve done it.
From my sugar-free experiences, I have produced low-sugar recipes to make living a sugar-free lifestyle easier. I can also teach you the difference between natural and added sugar and what you use to sweeten your food that isn’t bad for you.
Together, we can beat your sugar addiction and, in return, you’ll lose weight and be healthier. C’mon, join me in the quest to eat less sugar!