We now know that added sugar is bad for us. Consuming sugar in large quantities goes against the natural design of our bodies’ chemistry and metabolism.
Sugar is a refined food, and our bodies don’t need the extra simple carbohydrates that sugar contains.
In order to have a healthy diet, it’s important to limit the amount of added sugar that we consume.
How Big of a Problem is Added Sugar?
In America, overconsumption of sugar is an alarming issue. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day! One teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories, so if you consume 22 teaspoons a day, that’s an extra 330 calories consumed each day, just from sugar. Where does all this sugar come from? Well the answer is processed foods. If you cut down on processed food, your sugar intake will automatically decrease. Try to limit yourself to just 90 calories of added sugar per day, which equates to 6 teaspoons of sugar daily.
Sugar doesn’t help you nutritionally, and there is nothing important that our body needs in sugar. In fact, there’s nothing in sugar that even benefits our bodies in the first place.
It’s nutritionally inadequate, lacking in all of the vitamins and minerals that we need. Sugar is nothing but a source of empty calories.
How To Figure Out What Foods Have Added Sugar
When you eat a food item, the nutritional information will list the total grams of sugar that it contains.
However, how do you know if this sugar is natural, or if it’s just added sugar? The ingredient list will tell you.
Ingredients are always listed from the item that is most prevalent, to the least used item. So, if sugar is listed as the first or second ingredient, you’ll know that the food product is full of added sugar.
Added Sugar in Disguise
Many companies will use different words for sugar to disguise the fact that added sugar is in their products.
Here’s a list of terms that are commonly used to replace the word sugar. Before getting into the list, here is a hint to look out for – the words “syrup,” “sweetener,” and most words that end in “ose” are usually sugar.
This is a list in alphabetical order of the different forms of sugar that can be listed in the ingredients:
•Barley Malt Syrup
•Brown Rice Syrup
•Cane juice crystals
•Coconut Palm Sugar
•Corn syrup solids
•Dehydrated Cane Juice
•Evaporated Cane Juice
•Fruit juice concentrate
•High-fructose corn syrup
•Sorghum or sorghum syrup
This is an extremely long list, but it just goes to show how companies will use a range of different products to avoid using the word “sugar’ in their ingredients list.
more: How To Stop Eating Sugar
Every ingredient on this list affects your body in the same way that sugar does. They all cause your insulin levels to rise and your blood sugar to spike. Basically, they are all harmful and are a form of excess simple carbohydrates.
Sugary drinks are something that should always be avoided. They are extremely unhealthy, and drinking them will lead to weight gain.
Sugary drinks such as pop contain no nutritional benefits. They aren’t filling, because they contain no fiber. If anything, they cause bloating and discomfort.
A high consumption of sugary drinks can lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and heart attacks.
One single 12 ounce can of Coca Cola contains 39 grams of sugar, which equates to 9.33 teaspoons of sugar, and 140 calories.
Even if you consume just one can of coke a day, you are consuming 980 calories of excess sugar a week, coming from just one source – a can of pop.
This quickly adds up, and before you know it, one can of coke a day turns into 3,900 calories of excess sugar a month. If 3,500 calories equal one pound of fat, it’s easy to see how consuming excess sugar leads to long-term weight gain.
Foods to Avoid
Sugary drinks aren’t the only culprit – there’s a host of sugary foods that should be avoided as well. Highly processed foods are everywhere, and almost all of them contain added sugar.
more: The Truth About Sugar
Breakfast foods such as cereal, pop tarts, and oatmeal packets all have large amounts of excess sugar.
The best way to avoid excess sugar is to consume whole foods. Whole foods are foods that don’t come in packaging or boxes, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
The fewer ingredients a food has, the better. You can still eat processed foods in moderation, but avoid making them a staple in your diet. Other processed foods to avoid include cookies, cakes, granola bars, ice cream, spreads such as Nutella, candies, chocolate bars, etc.
Sweet Tooth Cravings
It’s normal to want to eat sweet food, and it’s okay to have a sweet tooth. However, instead of indulging in heavily processed foods full of added sugar, there are better alternatives.
more: Is Sugar Bad For You?
If you are craving something sweet, try having a ripe piece of fruit. Apples, grapes, watermelon, figs, and cherries are all naturally sweet and full of vitamins and nutrients.
If you are craving something such as ice cream, make your own healthy version with no added sugar using frozen bananas and dates as a sweetener.
The less processed sugar that you consume, the more your taste buds will change. The more you eat fruit, the quicker your taste buds will adjust.
Instead of drinking soda, use a juicer to make a green juice that is naturally sweetened with apples and pineapples. Even drinking fresh squeezed orange juice is a healthy and great option.
Added sugar is not something that you want in your diet. The temporary pleasure and satisfaction that you receive from consuming it is not worth all the harmful effects that it has on your body.