Let’s talk about sugar. You are at birthday party and celebrate with a serving of cake and ice cream. Consciously you are enjoying a sugar-filled treat with loved ones, wonderful. What about when you sit down to a bowl of cereal, a can of vegetables, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, sipping on a soft drink throughout the day at work, coffee with cream and sugar in the morning, some more coffee with cream and sugar when you hit that mid-afternoon wall. Sugar is everywhere and as humans we are naturally drawn to sweet things. So without eliminating sugar from our diets, (heck, that’s impossible…I love a sweet treat), let’s become more conscious about the amounts of sugar we are consuming and the effects it has on our bodies.
Just having celebrated Memorial Day, we are proud to be Americans! Are we also proud of being addicted to sugar? As Americans, we consume 150 pounds of sugar per year, 55 pounds of white flour per year and 53 gallons of soda per year. WOW! In comparison, on average we consume 8 pounds of broccoli per year (wa wa). From the liberal recommendation of the USDA, we should consume no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day, yet we are consuming 32 teaspoons of sugar per day! This isn’t all coming from our occasional piece of birthday cake. Let’s gain some knowledge on where all this sugar is sneaking into our diets.
- Lemon poppyseed Clif Bar contains 21 grams of sugar, or 5 teaspoons.
- Chocolate-glazed cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts contains 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons.
- 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino contains 44 grams of sugar, 10 teaspoons
Like the many names you may want to yell while working out, sugar too has many names and will read on labels as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose. When sugar comes in these forms or as sucrose (refined table sugar), it lacks the ‘good stuff’. Not only does this cause more stress on our bodies to digest it, the body must deplete its own stored minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. As well as being nutrient deficient, foods high in sucrose are often empty calories, in which, our bodies are consuming high levels of calories but still lack nutrient value so trigger additional hunger signals. Along with additional hunger signals, sugar can cause havoc on health through depression, mood swings, chronic fatigue, type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, high cholesterol, decreased immune function, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, acne, PMS, ADD, cancer, binging, hormone imbalance and belly fat. With the ability to limit sugar intake, health, moods and energy increase while fluctuating insulin levels that cause belly fat, decreases!
In order to be successful, it’s not about eliminating negative things, but adding the ‘good stuff’ in to make your feel more bountiful! So let’s chat about the benefits of unprocessed sugar. Unprocessed sugars are found in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, and contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When these foods are chewed, cooked and digested, the natural carbohydrates break down into separate glucose molecules and enter the bloodstream evenly, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients.
Add some whole foods that are naturally sweet into your diet the and see if it provides any satisfaction to your sweet tooth. Some of my favorites are sweet potatoes with cinnamon, apples with nut butter, steamed veggies or oatmeal with cacao powder and maple syrup. Have fun playing with some new energy snacks and share some of your favorites! You have the power over sugar, so make choices that support your body, energy and your relationships! Honestly, my moodiest times come from overloads in sugar. Suddenly I’m engaging in a conversation that is turning south, noticing I don’t sound like myself…not good. So in honor of happy moods and sharing joy in relationships, my husband, Mike and I are celebrating our first anniversary today and will choose to get active and eat real foods because we know this best supports how we feel about ourselves in which we can more lovingly enjoy one another!
Starting with sugar, ending with love….strange how it’s all connected