It's National Nutrition Month, so let's revisit a post about sugar...
No doubt about it, sugar is a hot topic for anyone wanting to lose weight. Many clients tell me that they are addicted to sugar. Well, it does affect the same "feeling good" brain hormones as many street drugs. When you eat too many sugary foods, it alerts the part of the brain that controls how much we eat. Unlike fat or sodium, you don’t actually have a physical need to eat sugar. It has zero nutritional value. However, your body naturally turns food into sugars (glucose) to fuel the body and brain. Artificial sweeteners trick our body about how food should be metabolized.
We know that foods, like candy and ice cream, are high in sugar. But you may be surprised at the high amount of sugar in foods that you wouldn’t expect. It’s added to most processed foods and beverages. Sugar is added because of flavor but also because it can help preserve foods, fuel fermentation (like in bread) and serves as a bulking agent. Sugar occurs naturally in foods like fruit, milk, vegetables and even some grains. Remember sugar has 0 nutritional benefit!
Why you want to stay away from added sugars:
- Tooth decay - Sugar allows bacteria to grow in your mouth
- Poor nutrition - You fill up and then don’t eat the healthy foods
- Weight gain - It adds calories but no nutrition to foods and usually causes overeating
- Higher triglycerides - Eating too many sugars can increase triglyceride levels which can increase risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association suggests no more than 100 calories / day (or about 30 grams) from added sugar for women. That is about 5 teaspoons per day. Most Americans are eating closer to 31 teaspoons per day! One soda has 9 teaspoons of sugar
Sugar Surprise- These foods are all high in sugar:
- 1 Package Oatmeal – 15 grams
- 1 Protein Bar – 15 grams
- 1 Tbl. Salad Dressing – 6 grams
- 1 Cup Granola – 24 grams
- ½ Cup Tomato Sauce – 10 grams
- 1 20 oz. Bottle Ice Tea – 56 grams
- 1 oz. Ketchup – 6 grams
- 12 oz. Sport Drink – 42 grams
- 8 oz. fruit flavored yogurt – 26 – 39 grams
Eliminate Hidden Sugars
You don’t have to worry about naturally occurring sugars in fruit and milk, for example, for your health. It is the added sugars that cause the problem. Read labels and stay away from: Fructose, Maltose, Sorbitol, Evaporated cane juice, Syrups, Xylotol and sugars ending in "ol" or "ose".
Going on a total sugar detox will probably get you quickly back to old habits. Instead start replacing one sugary snack at a time. As your diet gets cleaner, you will reduce your need for the taste of sugar.