Did you know that The American Heart Association’s daily recommended sugar allowance is 36 grams for men, 20 grams for women, and 12 grams for kids?
Did you know that our daily intake averages 95 grams?
We have a serious problem that has large impacts that slowly eat away at our health for some, while others it can damage their body much faster. While everyone is focused on the opioid epidemic, sugar has been shown to have the same effects on the brain that cocaine does under MRI. That addictive nature, with the occurences of diabetes and obesity on the rise throughout the country, occurring at earlier and earlier ages, we are teaching our kids bad habits, getting them addicted to harmful foods, and marketing can even mislead consumers to think they are eating a health food that contains added sugar.
There are over 600,000 different packaged food items in grocery stores today — and 80% of them contain added sugars. But identifying traditional sugar is not the defense, you have to understand how sugar works, and the different forms it takes and the impact they could have on your body such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, obesity, and cancer.
Here’s a Quick List to Combat Sugar in Your Diet:
- Cut back on soda, diet soda, and sugary drinks. – Instead try fruit flavored water or green tea with a dash of local honey (Learn More About What’s So Important about Local Honey)
- Read food labels – You’ll quickly realize just how often sugar is added to foods when you look for it on ingredients lists!
- Learn sugar’s aliases – When you read food labels, you’ll need to look for more than just the word “sugar.” Sugar hides under several sneaky names, including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (or any word ending in “-ose”), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup.
- Buy unsweetened – Once you know where sugar hides, you can start making changes. One strategy: buy foods labeled “no added sugar” or “unsweetened.” You may notice even the peanut butter you were eating had added sugar in it!
- Don’t go cold turkey – Quitting sugar cold turkey isn’t realistic for most people. After all, studies have shown sugar activates the same parts of the brain that cocaine does! Try cutting back slowly. If you normally put two packets of sugar in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally add only a splash of milk
- Don’t Forget Protein & Fat Are Your Friends! – Unhealthy carbs loaded with high fructose corn syrup, or other sugars can cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly and crash just as quickly. To minimize this, pair protein, healthy fats, and fiber with your meal, together they can slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you feeling full for longer!
- Never go fake! – This may be the most important, because science is only beginning to understand the dangers associated with artificial sweeteners, what they can do to your body and your brain! When you’re reducing your sugar intake, you may be tempted to switch to artificial sugars for your sweet fix. But resist reaching for the diet soda or sugar-free candy, these may make your sugar addiction worse!
- Don’t Give Up – Taking the first step to tackling sugar addiction is the most important. You’ve made a decision in your mind that will change your life forever, but you have to persist. Some people say its mind over matter, other people find ways of coping with sugar cravings, but whatever you do, keep on educating yourself and move in the right direction. If you ever feel sick, or weak you may want to see a healthcare practitioner to check to see if there aren’t any other issues going on inside your body.