Sugar

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Sugar intake is one of the leading causes of obesity in our country. Too much of it causes Type 2 diabetes. I have a sweet tooth, so I like having healthy treats, but it’s the processed sugars that are killing us. There are so many hidden sugars in our foods that most people don’t even realize they are consuming the amount they are. That’s why it is important to become educated on the foods you are consuming so you know what you are putting into your body.

It may seem obvious, but flavored drinks contain a lot of excess sugar we don’t need. Sodas, energy drinks, and juices contain 30 grams of sugars or more, so if you are drinking more than one a day, you are getting triple the amount of sugar you need in just the drinks alone. On average women should have about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day and men about 9. A soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar or 40 grams. And don’t let diet soda fool you, it is just as bad as the regular stuff. Because of its addictive properties, it is hard to quit drinking soda and other flavored drinks. Not only are these drinks high in sugar, they also contain additives, preservatives, and chemicals that can cause heart disease and other issues.

Processed food is also high in hidden sugars. The many names of sugar can throw you off, so here are a few to look out for when choosing your food: brown rice syrup, evaporated can juice, fruit juice concentrate, fructose, invert sugar, beet sugar, barley malt, dextrose, maltodextrin, and so many more! They disguise it with fancy words or add the word “fruit” and people think it’s ok, but it’s not! There is also a lot of added sugar in low-fat labeled foods, because they replace the fat with sugar. You should never eat anything that is listed “low-fat” because it is worse for you than the regular food item. Fat is actually good for you as long as you are eating the right fats, so you shouldn’t be taking certain fats out of your diet.

This doesn’t mean you don’t ever eat sugar, it just means you need to be more conscious of how much you are taking in. If you eat a clean diet with very little processed food and no flavored drinks, you will be doing fine. Obviously sugar is sugar, but there are better sugars you can be consuming than others. First off, you should be buying organic of whatever type you buy, because it will prevent you from ingesting additives and other chemicals they use to bleach or clean the sugar. When I make treats, I use honey or maple syrup, because even though they are sugars, they are also filled with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Sugar intake should be minimal, but you can still enjoy the foods you love. A good indication that you are eating too much sugar, is if you crave it daily and feel like “you have to have it.” Cleaning up your diet will help with cravings and allow you to have treats on occasion. Fruits are also a good source of sugar that won’t give you the addictive properties.

So as an overview, not all sugars are created equal. Sugar is sugar, but there are healthier options available. Stop drinking the soda and other flavored drinks, not only for the amount of sugar it contains, but to prevent more serious illnesses and diseases. Look out for hidden sugars in your food and educate yourself so you know what to look for. You can still enjoy your life with less sugar! There are so many amazing recipes for treats with zero or very little sugar. I find many amazing recipes on Pinterest and they are so delicious you don’t even know there is very little sugar in them. Take the sugar challenge and start learning to eat with less. It will change your life!

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