5 Truths About Sugar

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sugarHave you started our 30 Day Self Guided Whole Body Detox? If not, think about giving it a try. Sugar is everywhere, and it has harmful implications for our health. More and more research  is showing that sugar is a lot more than just empty calories. Some truths about sugar include the following.

1. Sugar is everywhere.  From yogurt to spaghetti sauce, sugar is put in just about anything processed. Be label savvy. Look at the ingredients. As ingredients are listed by weight, the higher up sugar is on the ingredient list, the more sugar that product contains. Sugar should not account for more than 5% (25 grams) of our daily caloric intake. Here is an example. Store-bought spaghetti sauce has about 1.5 tsp of sugar per serving! Picture sprinkling that over your spaghetti next time!

2. We are addicted to sugar. Americans, on average, consume almost 80 grams of added sugar per day (about 19 tsps). That is far above the goal of 25 grams or less! If you are curious to see what that looks like, get out your teaspoons and start scooping. Studies have also shown that sweet flavors can produce addictive-like behaviors, promoting changes in the reward system of the brain that help to drive over-consumption. So we end up eating more sugar!

3. Sugar is harmful to our health. Some of the health consequences of too much sugar aren’t overly surprising, such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, you may not know that too much sugar can also lead to fatty liver disease (no matter your weight) and even damaged memory. Recent studies have also shown that sugar may have more of an impact on blood pressure than salt!

4. You don’t need sugar. This is an easy one, in theory. All you have to do is read labels – if there is added sugar, put it down. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store to find unprocessed, whole foods, and choose unsweetened versions of foods. As your palate becomes accustomed to the taste of unsweetened foods you will notice that you won’t crave the sweet as much.

5. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Research is showing that consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners may promote weight gain, as well as diabetes. Your best bet? Stay away from artificial chemicals, and limit added sugars.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2015
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