‘Sugar is abundant in our society, and getting away from it seems, at times, an impossible task. However, by taking small steps toward a healthier diet, you can get rid of unwanted sugar in your diet’. (1)
But how do we go about cutting sugar from our diet especially when there are many hidden sugars in what we are eating? ‘Not only are we getting added sugar from obvious places like cakes and candy and soda, but its also coming from healthier-sounding packaged products like salad dressing, pasta sauce and yogurt’ says Elyse Powell, a doctoral researcher at UNC. (1)
As explored in the previous blog about improving your brain functioning as a hidden benefit of exercise, sugar does the complete opposite of this. Sugar can lead to cognitive impairment and an overall feeling of ‘Brain fatigue’. (1) How many times have we reached for the chocolate bar at the servo in the afternoon as a ‘pick me up’ or that can of soft drink? How many times has that worked? Often you will feel hungry again after eating a treat high in sugar as the calories are high but it doesn’t offer you much in the way of nutritional value. Your body continues to have cravings because it is actually craving clean energy from healthy whole foods instead. (1)
Giving up sugar cold turkey has caused many people to experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those who are trying to sober up from drugs/alcohol. (1) Sugar has been seen to alter brain chemistry easily leading to an addiction. (1) Because of this if someone eats a lot of sugar cutting back on the amount you eat will only improve your way of life and may avoid those intense withdrawal symptoms. Imagine what sugar is doing to your body if it causes such intensive depressive, mood alternating symptoms when you eliminate it from your diet.
Due to the hidden sugars in the average Australian’s diet today, you may be shocked about how many simple foods such as canned goods and pasta actually have a high sugar content. But that doesn't mean you can't make simple changes to your diet to reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming. To make a difference in the amount of sugar you consume, cut out the obvious sugary foods one or two items a week and you will feel a difference. Then focus on the hidden sugars. slowly wean yourself off the addictive sugar that you have in your diet. By doing this you will increase your hearts health. Your risk of dying from heart disease will decrease. Your skin will clear up. You will greatly lower your risk of developing diabetes. You will feel happier. Your sleep will improve. Your memory will improve, you won’t have brain fog. You will lose weight. (1)
Putting it into perspective according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are: Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). (2) As an example, a fast food whopper (just the burger) is 12 grams of sugar per serve. Add a large coke to this and you are incredibly ingesting 75.5 grams of sugar. Thats three times the daily average of added sugars for a women.
I was aware how sugar is not good for our bodies however was not aware of just how little added sugars we should be ingesting a day. I was also not aware how easy it is to consume double or triple that daily recommended intake. After writing this blog I have since decided to cut back on my sugar intake. I was unknowingly consuming 30 grams of sugar a morning in my iced coffee. Thats more than my daily recommended intake ... in one drink! Completely aware I was addicted to the iced coffee thinking it was for the caffeine content. I now understand it is in fact purely for the sugar content. By replacing my store bought iced coffee with home made (with Stevia) and not eating a square of Vego chocolate a night I’ve lost 1.5 kilos in a week…. coincidence, I think not!