Sugar problems and how to reduce your intake
Sugar comes naturally in foods like fruits (fructose) and milk (lactose) and in proper amounts, they are good for us. The problem starts when we add processed sugar into everything we eat.
We live in a fast paced type of world, and a lot of times we are so rushed that we do not have time to think about what we eat let alone actually make a meal at home.
We rely on fast foods we can find on the go, frozen meals we can stick in the microwave, prepackaged food or just whatever junk foods we can find to tame the hunger so we can continue rushing through life.
These items are loaded with added sugars that add up one by one every day. According to the American Heart association the proper amount of sugars per day are as follows: “For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons” Read more here
Remember this formula:
4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar
That is 24 grams (6 teaspoons) for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men per day.
Some examples of how sugar sneaks up on you:
- A can of regular coke has 11 grams of sugar. That is 2.75 teaspoons of sugar.
- In one tablespoon of ketchup there are almost 4 grams of sugar.
- Some yogurts can contain 20grams of sugar!
- Tomato- based pasta sauces can contain around 13 grams.
- Packaged juices can have 9 grams.
You see the problem? If you are a women and have a juice in the morning, a coke at lunch with some pasta and tomato sauce, you would have gone way beyond the recommended amount of daily sugar intake (around 33 grams in total)
Convenience comes with a price.
That price is your overall health. Excess added sugars create havoc in your body and have been linked with several health conditions. Here are some of them:
Weight gain and lead to obesity:
Sugar is a carbohydrate, if consumed in moderation is ok the problem is not knowing it is in everything we eat and therefore getting extra calories. Sugar makes you crave sugar, so it’s a vicious cycle.
Sugar does not cause diabetes. Diabetes 1 is caused by genetics and diabetes 2 by lifestyle choices. People that are overweight obese are more likely to develop diabetes 2 than a person who has a healthy weight.
Increase heart issues:
Excess weight leads to high blood pressure and can increase heart failure.
Acne and accelerate skin aging:
When you co some a lot of sugar it goes into your blood stream, which produce a spike in your insulin production, which leads to ”inflammation-producing enzymes which attach to your body’s collagen through an oxidative process known as glycation. This process breaks down collagen and elastin, contributing to aged, sagging and wrinkled looking skin. Glycation not only increases the appearance of aging, but also can aggravate particular skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.” read more about this here
Increase risk of cancer:
According to the Rogel Cancer center, consistent spikes in your blood sugar levels are the problem…. “This spikes results in an increased release of insulin-like growth factor (IGF), which has been shown to help cancer cells grow. If blood glucose levels are better controlled, less IGF is released which likely will decrease cancer growth.” Link here
Dr. Mark Hyman explains that we must “reduce the carcinogenic effects of too much insulin from our high sugar and refined carbohydrate diet” link to reduce our risk of cancer.
There are many other negative effects that sugar has on our bodies like depression or low energy levels but there is a way to control your sugar intake and it is by taking control of what you eat.
Ways to reduce sugar consumption:
- Drink a lot of water.
- Eat a fruit instead (natural sugars are better than processed).
- Plan your meals with time, thinking about what you have to eat when you are already hungry will force you to grab whatever is available and probably won’t be as healthy.
- Protein is your friend, it’s very filling. Meats, eggs, nuts or fish can help you curb your sugar cravings.
- Manage your stress levels.
- Get enough sleep: bad or lack of sleep increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite.
Taking control of what you eat is important for your overall health and wellbeing. If you want to learn more about how I can help you take control of your diet, set up your free initial appointment with me here.
With much love,