Sugar provides delicious sweetness to food and a nice treat now and then. But Americans consume too much sugar, there some of which we may not be aware of. Added sugar is found in everything from sodas to frozen lasagne, treatment and even hot sauce! Sugar occurs naturally in all foods containing carbohydrates, buy viagra such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains. Since these foods also contain fiber and/or protein, your body is equipped to process them and digests them more slowly, resulting in a steady supply of glucose, or fuel, to your cells. However, many food manufacturers use added sugars to give their products more appeal and to extend their shelf life. These simple sugars digest quickly, causing blood glucose spikes and crashes. The Food and Drug Administration does not require manufacturers to distinguish between natural and added sugars on food labels.
Excess sugar consumption can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, among many other health detriments (ie. suppressed immune system). Given these health implications, the American Heart Association has issued guidelines for added sugar consumption. The association suggests that women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons. For men, the association recommends limiting consumption to 150 calories daily, or 9 teaspoons. Equipped with this recommendation, it’s even more astounding how much sugar is added to our food. Take a look at the photo above and you will see that even the drink with the smallest amount of added sugar is still way over the daily recommended intake…and that’s only one very small beverage.
My point here is not to bash sugar or put an all-out ban on the sweet stuff. My point is to be smart with our consumption of it and keep an eye on our added sugar intake. By doing this we will be helping ourselves and our families stay healthy.
Tips to tame your sweet tooth:
1) Use spices such as cinnamon and ginger and extracts such as almond and vanilla to give dishes natural sweetness.
2) Don’t replace real sugar with artificial sugar. Firstly, artificial sugar is full of nasty chemicals. Secondly, it is not satiating and in the end may cause you to consume more calories anyways. Thirdly, if you are addicted to sugar, it’s like trying to kick a smoking habit by switching from cigarettes to cigars! You aren’t actually taking away the stimulus (the sweet taste) that has a hold on you.
3) Be wary of fat free products. They may be fat free, but often they have a lot more sugar than their regular counterparts. Check the label.
4) Keep healthy snacks on hand. So, when you have a craving, you have planned ahead with a healthy option, thereby setting yourself up for success.
5) Scan the ingredients list on your food labels and be aware of the 60 aliases sugar has! If you see sugar listed, it’s been added, and so it’s best to steer clear or only eat in moderation. This is especially true if sugar is listed within the first 5 ingredients.
6) Constantly remind yourself of the benefit to your body. When I have cravings for unhealthy foods, I try to remind myself of why that choice isn’t good for me. I remind myself that my greatest reason for eating well is to be healthy for my kids and eventually my grandkids and that a handful of gummy bears or a sleeve of Oreos will only serve to prevent that. Eating healthfully has benefits well beyond aesthetics and obtaining the perfect body.
As with any lifestyle change, the first couple of weeks are the hardest. Eventually, it will become habit to reach for sparkling water flavored with fresh lime juice or a piece of fruit, rather than a can of soda pop or a piece of candy.