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How Not to Get Caught Up in Our Sugar Coated Society

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Who doesn’t like a sugary treat every once in a while?

Well, according to the most recent food consumption survey conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the average American not only likes it every now and then, but rather loves having sugar on a daily basis and in large amounts (22 to 28 teaspoons)!

The additional calories provided by this amount of added sugar is difficult for most to use and will easily go into body storage (think weight gain), but more importantly, it can also change body functions leading to unwanted disease development.

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients (protein and fat are the others) found in foods that the body needs for energy. Carbohydrates are the only energy source that our brain uses and are the body’s primary fuel for working muscles. Natural sugars (like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk) are carbohydrates that are readily digested and provide quick energy to the body. They differ from “added sugars” which are forms of sugar added to a product during processing, packaging or added at the table. Make it a priority to utilize whole food carbohydrates and reduce or eliminate the amount of added sugars in your diet for better health.

How to Lighten the Sugar Load?

We offer you several ways to reduce your consumption of added sugars. This will help to reduce inflammation, blood sugar, weight and improve health. Check these out and see what approach is best for you.

 Avoid Drinking Sugar

Liquid sugar is the most common source of added sugar in the American diet. (Not to pick on sodas but they are a many source!)  Soft drinks have long been thought to be the biggest offender as they contain roughly 17 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can, but there are also a whole new crop of sugar filled drinks (sweet teas, fruit punch pouches and coffee drinks) that far exceed amounts found in traditional sodas. In addition, calories ingested through liquid instead of solid means register differently in the body leading to larger caloric intakes throughout the day to achieve a state of fullness.

Don’t Be Fooled By Sugar Sources

Whether a sugar is in a natural state (such as honey, agave or molasses) or chemically refined (like raw sugar, table sugar or turbinado sugar), it functions the same in the body. Sugar enters the bloodstream and relies on the pancreas to secrete the hormone, insulin, to help bring it into the body cells for use. Consuming a large quantity of any type of sugar at one time makes the body work especially hard and can lead to the inability or a “resistance” in processing them effectively. Reducing portion sizes and frequency of consumption are more advantageous than replacing one type of sugar for another.

Go Easy On Condiments

The “extras” used on your toast, French fries, or even salad may be shockingly high in added sugars. For example, each tablespoon of ketchup contains about a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of a fruited jelly contains not much more than pure sugar.  A good rule of thumb is to keep added condiments to no more than 1 Tablespoon per meal. The use of extracts (vanilla, almond, orange), spices and herbs may provide desired flavors without adding sugar.

For Your Reference!

Commonly Added Sugars

Foods Commonly Containing Added Sugars

Agave Nectar

Breakfast Cereals (cold, instant hot varietals)

Beet Sugar

Bottled Sauces (BBQ, marinades, pasta)

Brown Sugar

Canned Soups

Corn Sweetener

Coffee Creamers

Evaporated Cane Sugar

Condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, dressing)

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Desserts (cakes, candy, doughnuts, pastries)

Honey

Fruits packed in syrups

Invert Sugar

Snack Bars (cereal, granola, protein)

Juice Concentrates

Sweetened Dairy (yogurts, smoothies, milks)

Sweet Sorghum

Sweetened Drinks (sodas, energy drinks, teas)

 

It’s important to recognize that taste buds naturally prefer a sweet taste.  It will take some time to change preference to other flavors. Make a list of the foods and drinks with added sugars that you regularly consume. Pick 2-3 of the highest added sugar containing foods and start the process of reduction. It may prove challenging initially, but your body will thank you in the long run!

 

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