The average American consumes 43,000 more calories each year from sugar than they did in 1977. Part of this increase can be attributed to the rise in popularity of soft drinks and the fact that food manufacturers sneak in sugar of all kinds into foods that we eat every day. Most people eat 16 teaspoons of sugar each day from processed foods alone; each teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories of sugar.
Sugar has no nutritional value at all and is often referred to as empty calories. Not only is sugar void of any sustenance but it is also highly dangerous. Do you pass on nourishing vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and whole grains in place of sweet tasting treats? This often leaves you void of minerals, vitamins and fiber.
A diet high in sugar can cause obesity and put you at a significant risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Too much sugar upsets metabolism by causing insulin spikes followed by sugar cravings; an addictive cycle often ensues. Excess sugar can cause headaches, joint pain, allergies, hyperactivity, depression, aggression and irritability and digestive disorders. In addition, a diet high in sugar hastens the aging process and promotes hormone imbalance.
The scary thing about sugar is that it hides in places and under many different names. Knowing these names and what to look for will help you avoid unintentional consumption. Here are just some to look out for.
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Barley malt
- Cane juice crystals
- Corn syrup
- Confectioner’s syrup
- Carob syrup
- Date sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Diastatic malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Fruit juice
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup
- Grape sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
According to the American Heart Association, we should restrict our sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons a day. To put this in perspective, a 12-ounce soda contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar.
Tips For Cutting Out Sugar
Stop Drinking Soda: Switch from soda to water with lemon or a handful of berries and fresh mint. Consuming water is an excellent way to detoxify the body.
Be Mindful: It is easy to not think about the amount of sugar you are consuming. Before you order that coffee drink or reach for something processed, check the ingredients.
Reduce Processed Food Consumption: Sugar hides in almost all processed foods so cutting back on packaged, bagged, canned or otherwise fast foods will definitely help reduce your sugar consumption. Even packaged foods that note they are sugar free or sugar reduced can still contain a significant amount of sugar.
Choose Natural Sweeteners: Even organic sugar is still sugar and has the same impact in the body as regular refined sugar. When cooking choose raw stevia which is an herb or coconut crystals. Both of these will not impact your blood sugar and are a good alternative for baking or sweetening beverages.
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