Breaking up with sugar is hard to do! Let’s not lie! We all love sugar. You might enjoy brownies, cookies, candy bars or just barbecue sauce, but sugar is at the base of most diets. How do I know? Because according to the USDA, the average American consumes 94 daily grams (23.5 tsp) of daily sugar. We have hit an alarming rate of sugar consumption, and there’s growing evidence of a causal relationship between sugar, obesity, and disease. We’ve reached what is considered an epidemic. Currently 2 of 3 American Adults are considered overweight and 1 in 3 are obese.
Like me, you are probably pondering the statistics and wondering what you can do to protect yourself? The best action one can take is to get educated on identifying sugar and hidden sugars, learn its effects, gain the knowledge required to read labels, and ultimately break the sugar addiction! And, “yes,” it truly is an addictive substance! We’ll have to attack that one in another blog! But first, let’s gain an understanding of sugar!
The simplest of all sugars is a monosaccharide, which are the building blocks for all types of carbohydrates. No wonder we don’t speak highly of carbs, right? There are three types of monosaccharides: glucose, fructose, and galactose, and these small units can be combined to create another category of sugars: disaccharides. For now, fructose is the focus, because it causes so many issues…starting with the liver.
When talking about sugar, generally you are referring to table sugar or sucrose, which is half glucose and half fructose. Your body uses each of these differently…glucose releases insulin to move this sugar’s energy into your (muscle’s) cells. Fructose, however, is metabolized in your liver, where extra insulin is created, and the fructose is stored as fat. In this case, our body doesn’t get the signal to turn off the appetite hormones since no energy was provided to your body’s cells, so we eat more sugar and more of everything…appetite is uncontrollable! This is where everything starts to go “south!”
“Sugar, especially in excess, creates fat, food addiction, and disease!”
The above being the case, it’s tempting to use other “more natural” sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup since they each have lower glycemic indexes and slower release (of blood sugars and insulin) in the body. Sadly, we think of these natural sweeteners as adding more nutrition, so we use even more of these substances. Ultimately, sugar is sugar, and in excess, sugar is fat! Now that you are shaking in your shoes, knowing fully well that sugar is inevitably going to be in your diet, you are wondering, “how much is okay?”
Let’s face it, with the increasing amounts and availability of sugar, it’s becoming exceptionally challenging to limit your intake… 74% of packaged foods contain hidden sugars! The World Health Organization and the American Heart Association recommend a maximum of 6 daily teaspoons for females and only 9 teaspoons for males. To calculate your personal daily intake, read your labels and divide the total grams of sugar by 4 (there are 4 grams in 1 teaspoon of sugar). For example, if you drink an 8 ounce Gatorade with 14 grams of sugar, you have consumed 3.5 teaspoons of sugar (14g/4 tsp = 3.5 tsp)!!…Over HALF of your daily intake! Consume a few simple carbohydrates such as breads and pastas, and it’s easy to add to the sugar load. But, if you want to reduce weight, improve energy, reduce risk of disease, and even have better skin – that glows, all indicators point to one action: break your sugar addiction, or at least reduce your sugar intake. Here’s how!
When reducing or cutting out sugars, you will want to take at least 5 actions:
- OVERCROWD your diet with healthy proteins and fats
- EAT WHOLE FRUIT, no sugary beverages…including juice
- READ LABELS, calculate the teaspoons of sugar, and be aware of serving sizes
- IDENTIFY the names for hidden sugars
- USE NATURAL SWEETENERS with a lower glycemic index
If you are ready to TRANSFORM your health and cut the sugars in your diet, schedule your FREE 30 minute Health Coaching Consultation today at PacerKristen.com!