Sweet sweet sugar!
The one food people crave can have so many negative effects on your body!
Added sugar can be found in the most unexpected foods; people tend to rely on quick, processed foods for meals and snacks which contain a high sugar content.
In the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children. Dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day
Natural occurring sugars, which we should consume, are found in fruit in the form fructose and in milk as lactose.
Added sugars are found in candy, desserts, and any foods that are processed. The most common foods are soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, pies, milk products, ice cream, granola bars, and even some health foods such as protein shakes and breakfast foods.
I always told people I was healthy, yet I couldn’t figure out why I could not lose weight and was always bloated and tired. It was after i started a food journal that I saw a trend. The foods I was eating were high in sugars, and were processed. Once i made the decision to cut out added sugar, I felt so much better. I lost 14 lbs and had more energy and NO bloating. My headaches improved. My acne disappeared. I was so proud of myself since I never thought I could do it. I was the one who loved chocolate, ice cream and depended on my Snickers candy bar for when I was stressed. The craziest part is I don’t crave it now. I decided I was done and haven’t turned back.
There are many reasons to avoid sugar since it can cause so many issues and disease:
- weight gain
- heart disease
- acne and skin issues
- increased risk of cancer
- uncontrolled diabetes
- decreased energy
- fatty liver
- poor dental health
- increased gut permeability
A diet high in sugar can lead to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is to blame for several autoimmune diseases, cancer and mental health disorders.
The following are causes of over consumption of added sugars:
Excess production of AGEs: Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that form when protein or fat combine with sugar in the blood. Too many AGEs leads to oxidative stress and inflammation and disease.
Increased gut permeability: Bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles can easily move out of the gut and into the bloodstream, leading to inflammation along with poor digestive health such as dumping syndrome. This leads to poor electrolyte and vitamin and mineral absorption, hence disease.
Weight gain: A diet high in added sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. Excess body fat has been linked to inflammation, partly due to insulin resistance.
Diets high in added sugar produce pro-inflammatory molecules in the body. Over time, this creates an environment of chronic, low-grade inflammation and will lead to the chronic diseases as mentioned above as well as autoimmune disease.
The American Heart Association recommends that men limit added sugar to 36 grams a day— which translates to 150 calories or 9 teaspoons. For women, they recommend no more than 25 grams per day, which equals 100 calories or 6 teaspoons.
Unlike added sugars, natural sugars don’t cause inflammation and are unlikely to cause chronic disease.
Over time, inflammation leads to high levels of oxidative stress which can cause damage to your tissues and DNA, this is the cause of the diseases as mentioned above.
Are you someone who consumes a diet high in processed foods and simple sugar? Are you a stress or emotional eater? Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression? Here is a plan that you can follow to become healthier.
- Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water, flavored water with fresh or frozen fruit or unsweetened seltzer.
- Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
- Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt.
- Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
- Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips. I use Cacao.
- Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressing.
- Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
- Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
- Swap your morning cereal for a bowl of rolled oats topped with nut butter and fresh berries, or an omelet made with fresh greens.
- Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich.
- Use natural nut butters in place of sweet spreads like Nutella.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, however when you have consistent and chronic inflammation, acute on chronic disease will occur. Your body starts fighting itself. Autoimmune disease occurs when the body fights itself or attacks itself. It can also lead to chronic allergies; food and seasonal.
How can you prevent sugar-induced inflammation? Stop eating so much added sugar. It’s easy. Just stop! Make this a new goal. Change your habits. Change your MINDSET! You want to get well. You don’t want to be sick, I know you don’t, I didn’t I was willing to do anything so I could feel better.
Diets rich in fruits and veggies, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains can have an anti-inflammatory effect. These are the foods you want to ingest to fight the effects of the added sugars you may be adding to your diet. These are the foods that are protective and beneficial to your body and overall health.
I challenge you to try 1 week without added sugars and see how you feel. After 1 week, go another week and so on!
Journal your food choices and your emotions as you give up added sugar. Do you notice a difference in your energy? Your health? Your skin?
Let me know how you do. Contact me for information on how we can work together to Transform your thought processes from “stuck” to “unstuck” so you can achieve coping skills to reach your goals of overall wellness! I want to see you succeed; I want you to reach your health goals. Are you ready to move forward? Are you ready to become Unstuck and learn ways to improve your health? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can put a plan together specific for you!
Tina Butt, Health and Wellness Coach
Owner of Qualified Wellness Solutions, LLC