Can I tell you a secret?
Fat doesn’t make us fat..sugar does
So many people are afraid of ALL fat because of the high calories, what they think they’ve “heard” about saturated fat etc…but the truth is the extra weight is likely from sugar consumption. Both hidden sugars in all the food we eat AND the obvious sugars we consume in soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks, daily treats etc.
Don’t be afraid of fat…be afraid of sugar ️Today we are going to talk about why you should be afraid of sugar, next time I’ll hit up why you should give healthy fat a little more love!
What’s the fuss about sugar?
You’re talking to a sweet tooth girl over here..I know it’s hard. It’s because sugar is legit addicting…like a drug. Research shows that while sugar is an energy source, the way it works in the body more closely resembles ethanol (grain alcohol), which is another nonessential energy source. So if alcohol is labeled as an addictive substance, and sugar creates a response in your body much like alcohol wouldn’t it be pretty easy to accept its potential negative effects on the body when used in excess? Sugar withdrawal presents itself as uncontrollable cravings, headaches, body aches & pains, mood swings, shakes, insomnia, depression, and fatigue.. just to name a few. While sugar does not cause people to be impaired to the point of not driving it does share the same chronic damage to long term health. To start it is an inflammation substance and inflammation is the precursor for all disease. Excess sugar intake raises uric acid levels in your urine (risk of kidney disease), causes metabolic problems (weight gain, abdominal fat storage, increases LDL levels (bad cholesterol), overloads the liver (this is where fructose is metabolized), and creates a disruption in hormonal signaling of hunger/satiety.
This is really a topic that calls for further research and has been getting more attention over the past 10 years. While there is definitely controversy about sugar intake being the main cause of the rise of obesity, one thing that we can’t fight about is the hidden added sugars in any food we buy as well as the obvious abundant added sugars in beverages, candy, & treats does add to the total calories consumed per day and excess calories does cause weight gain regardless of your sugar beliefs.
For me, I’m all about the balance. I’m not going to tell you that you should consume no sugar at all-because that is unrealistic and I’m all about keeping it real. BUT I’m also not going to sit back and tell you to have at it because sugar has no bearing on your health-that is just not true, and it has actually has a pretty significant one.We do know this for sure: sugar is an inflammatory substance and feeds disease processes, it is addictive, and we definitely consume way too much of it. We also know that sugar likely has a toxicity point & your tolerance for it can increase, just like alcohol. My goal was to talk about healthy fat too, and how it can do the opposite of make you fat… it can really have some POSITIVE effects on your health. BUT there is just too much to talk about so we will save that for next week. Be sure to “follow” my blog when you’re done reading this one so you are notified of my future posts 😉 Alright back to sugar…
So let’s talk. How much sugar should you consume & how can you start decreasing your intake?
The America Heart Association has these recommendations:
Women= no more than 6tsp (24g) of added sugar per day
Men= no more than 9tsp (36g) of added sugar per day
Children age 4-8= no more than 3tsp (12g) of added sugar per day
No. I’m serious. Most Americans are consuming 4-5x that amount of sugar. Let’s take one packet of flavored instant oatmeal for example. 12g of sugar. For a woman that is HALF your recommended max daily sugar intake. Did you say 2tsp of sugar in your coffee with that? Ok you’ve got 1tsp left for the day and we haven’t even talked about that yogurt you are eating for lunch yet, the afternoon latte, or dinner, or any soda/tea/candy/dessert that may come your way still throughout the day. Get what I’m saying? We consume wayyyyy too much sugar.
So what do we do? One problem is that the added sugars are not currently required on all food labels. So some sugar may be naturally occurring, like applesauce, but the company may have also added some sugar too. We only get to see total grams of sugar on labels. The good news is that more and more products are beginning to spell out added sugars as a line item on the nutrition label.
Tips for being mindful:
- Buy foods WITHOUT added sugar. If sugar is listed as an ingredient there is added sugar. Be aware that sugar has many different names (cane sugar, dextrose, molasses, honey, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup etc.).
- Choose plain oatmeal and add 1tsp of pure maple syrup or brown sugar. Now you’ve only had 4g of sugar vs the 12 that came in the presweetened. I would personally like to choose where I put my sugar vs. let the company decide for me.
- Drink more water & wean yourself off sweetened beverages.
- Ask for half the pumps of syrup at the coffee shop to start
- cut your sugar in your coffee & tea at home down by 1tsp at a time
- Don’t replace sugary beverages with diet drinks–we will leave that topic for another day but calories are not the only enemy with sugar. Work on cutting out the level of sweetness you “need” not just grams of sugar.
- Eat less processed foods
- Processed foods have tons of hidden sugar. By eating fresh food and cooking simple meals with whole food ingredients you will naturally limit sugar intake.
- It doesn’t have to be all or nothing
- Start small. One positive change at a time will have amazing effects on your health as you continue to reduce sugar intake.
Are you ready to say goodbye to excessive amounts of sugar?
I know its hard… but its always easier with friends! In February I’m running an online challenge and support group to help guide you through a sugar detox and give you a clean slate to break bad habits and taste food again without all the sugar. Would you like to join me? I’d love to chat with you about the details. Fill out this form and I’ll make sure you get the information about the challenge before we start!