Studies show that sugar can be as addicting as certain types of drugs; and it is easy to understand why! Sugar is readily available at every store and in every kitchen. It seems a lot less harmful than drugs (sugar isn’t illegal) and, honestly, it makes us happy. There really is no question why our bodies crave this addictive substance and why we keep giving into those cravings. However, too much sugar can lead to more problems than we realize. If you are consuming more than the recommended 6-10 teaspoons of added sugar per day, then it is time to start cutting back.
Health Risks of Too Much Sugar:
– Heart Disease
– Poor-functioning immune system
Tips For Cutting Back:
1.) Drink more water – Cravings can be greatly diminished when your body is hydrated, because ehydration can trick you into thinking that you need sugar. Consider drinking a large glass of water and then waiting ten minutes before giving into your craving.
2.) Get more sleep – When you are not sleeping enough, your body and mind will be low on energy because of poor adrenal function. Instinctually, you will start reaching for high-carbohydrate and high-sugar foods that will give you a fast jolt of energy. If you can’t get a full 7-8 hours of sleep each night, try taking a quick power nap when your blood sugars are at their lowest in the afternoon (2-3 hours after your last meal). Even if you can’t schedule in a mid-day siesta, simply recognizing the source of your cravings as exhaustion and not actual hunger may help you put down that donut.
3.) Satisfy your cravings with fruit – While it is true that fruit contains sugar, a fruit’s sugar is also accompanied by fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. None of these things exist in cake, cookies and other refined sugars. Fiber can be especially important for the body because it slows the digestive process of glucose, which means your body will have more time to work off the sugars before it turns into fat.
4.) Don’t buy it – The best way to avoid a sweet tooth is simply to avoid it at the grocery store. If sugar is not accessible in your house, you are obviously less likely to eat it. When shopping, stay towards the edges of the stores. The outside areas of grocery stores contain fresh produce, dairy, and protein — these all contain minimal added sugars. Many (actually, most!) of the processed, packaged foods that are in the middle aisles of grocery stores can be high-sugar culprits and should be avoided.
5.) Read your labels – Cookies, brownies, and ice cream are belligerent sugars, but many people unknowingly consume extra sugar from non-dessert foods like spaghetti sauce, fruit cups, crackers, bread, etc. Many common food items have hidden sugars written in the label. Be sure to read the nutritional facts, and remember that carbohydrates are also sugar, so be sure to pay attention to both the sugar content and the carbohydrate content that is listed on the label.
Have questions about nutrition? Be sure to mention it during your next visit and we would be happy to discuss more health conscious food choices with you!