It’s easy to look at a candy bar, ice cream or cake and see the word sugar written all over it. The side effects are easily felt as well especially if too much is consumed. But when it comes to fresh fruit, yogurt or a glass of apple juice it’s not as easy to see the amount of sugar in each product.
“Today, the average sugar intake in the U.S. is 22 teaspoons per person per day, which is four times the amount that the World Health Organization suggests is healthy. Eating too much sugar is linked to a laundry list of negative health effects, including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.”
It’s no secret that sugar is easily available on every street corner and is in the cabinets of many homes here in America. But the real question is how can we find balance? When we go to the store and the Ice cream is on sale how can we say no and walk away?
The difference between natural and processed or refined sugar:
Processed/refined sugar is scientifically referred to as sucrose. It is derived from cane sugar or beet sugar. It isn’t completely deprived of its nutrients but there are added chemicals that raise blood sugar levels faster that cause more energy/hunger swings.
“Regarding ‘natural’ sugar, all plants produce sugar as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Fruits and vegetables have sugar in the form of fructose, which is broken down more slowly by the body than sucrose. In addition, fruits and veggies boast vitamins and minerals also have fiber to slow down the digestion of their natural sugars, which leads to more stable blood sugar levels.”
It is very important to know the difference between the two. The real thing to note is that processed and refined sugars do absolutely nothing for your body. They don’t have a significant amount (if any) nutrients and nothing about them ensures a healthier state of being.
6 Signs that you’re eating too much sugar:
Breaking out a little more than usual? One of the symptoms of eating too much sugar is increased acne. There was a study done in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where participants that had more acne had higher sugar intake than the people with little to mild acne.
This includes weight gain, abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides.
A high sugar intake will elevate blood sugar levels which can then lead to headaches or migraines. Imbalanced blood sugar levels (too high or to low) can do this.
Affects signals to the brain
The excessive amounts of fructose fool your metabolic system by turning off your bodies appetite-control system. In the end, too much sugar causes overeating and insulin resistance.
After a workout you crash
It is very important to fuel the body properly before and after a workout, but if you’re crashing after working out too much sugar may be your problem. “If you spike your blood sugar with a very sugary item right before an intense effort, you can end up feeling very fatigued and pretty miserable afterward,” says Sara Folta, PhD.
Feeling under the Weather (Pain, Tension)
A high-sugar diet spikes levels of inflammation throughout the body, which will cause more pain and tension in your body. This is also linked to higher levels of depression, according to prevention.com.
On the other hand, sugar has been proven to be addictive. Refined sugars cause an exceedingly large amount of dopamine to be released within the brain. Because of this large release we can start to become addicted. “Scientists have found that sugar is addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. Just like those hard-core drugs, getting off sugar leads to withdrawal and cravings, requiring an actual detox process to wean off.”
Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University said, “For millions of years, our cravings and digestive systems were exquisitely balanced because sugar was rare. Apart from honey, most of the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate were no sweeter than a carrot. The invention of farming made starchy foods more abundant, but it wasn’t until very recently that technology made pure sugar bountiful.”
I notice a difference in more than just my workouts when I consume too much sugar. It can affect my mood and determination to get things done. If you’re finding yourself craving chocolate make sure that your magnesium levels are in balance. Their has been research done that shows correlation between the two.
Really cut back (or cut out completely) excess amounts of refined/processed sugars. There are no substantial nutrients from refined sugars and really they are just helping to cover up a bigger problem.
Be aware and in tune with your body. Ask yourself why you want that in the first place. Maybe your low on magnesium or maybe your body is crying out for calcium or B vitamins. Take time to do research and really try to make a change instead of giving in and covering up the real issue.
Also start reading the labels and find out what items you buy that have a lot of sugar in them that you weren’t aware of. Look at the apple juice and yogurt labels and if the amount of sugar is alarming start cutting back on those items as well. There is a high importance when it comes to reading labels and it’s worth the extra time to take a look at them.
2 years ago I cut out all access sugar out of my diet for 6 months. I ate a healthy amount of fruits and stayed away from brownies, ice cream, cookies, cake, candy, and even juice and other foods high in sugar. It was so interesting to watch the change in my body. At first it was really difficult but once I was about a month or two in, those things didn’t even look good to me anymore. Even when other people around me were indulging in cake and sweets, I found myself able to be around it and not have the desire to pick it up and eat it.
It’s hard to say no around the holidays and especially in the summer now that all the ice cream shops are open, but there is no better time to start than now. Join me in saying no because your body really doesn’t need it, and you’re better off skipping the dessert isle at the store. Not only will you feel better, but also you will look better! Now who doesn’t want that??