Welcome to another fantabulous day of being YOU, playing on this awesome playground (Earth). As you are playing on that playground, and creating your life, I?d like to remind you that everything that SEEMS sweet?is not always so. Yep, that?s right, I?m going to pick on sugar (again) today. I invite you to hear me out on this one, as sugar is truly the demon in our diet, and its effects are enormous and far-reaching.
Sugar intake is not just related to weight gain, although it certainly plays a ginormous hand in our obesity rate, especially in its high fructose corn syrup form. But that?s only the tip of the iceberg. Sugar is also a major player in the creation of diabetes T2, heart disease, cancer (causes cancer and then feeds cancer), fatty liver, ADD & ADHD, and metabolic syndrome. And that?s the short list. Very short. I have a list that I share with clients that is 76 items long of all of the havoc that sugar causes in our beautiful bodies!
And, to make matters worse, sugar is addictive. Like, addictive in the same biochemical, neurotransmitter kind-of-way that cocaine is addictive. The more you have, the more you want. So, no, you?re NOT the only one who struggles with your sugar cravings!
Now, it?s all well and good to inform folks that reducing their sugar intake is an important part of creating Body Sass?. And I find that folks grasp WHY sugar needs to be given its walking papers. But, I often get asked, accompanied by a sort of ?deer in the headlights? expression: ?HOW?!?? Great question, and here?s my Top 10 Ways to Reduce Sugar:
- Don’t add it to foods. This is the easiest and most basic way to immediately reduce the amount of sugar you’re eating. Biggest targets: cereal, coffee and tea.
- Don’t be fooled by “healthy sugar” disguises. Brown sugar, turbinado sugar, raw sugar, honey … it’s all pretty much the same thing as far as your body is concerned.
- Make a real effort to reduce processed carbohydrates. Beware the sugar that is disguised as a grain. ?Huh?? Most processed carbs — breads, bagels, most pastas and snacks — are loaded with flour and other ingredients that convert to sugar in the body almost as fast as pure glucose! That sugar spikes insulin and gets stored as triglycerides, which is a fancy way of saying fat.
- Watch out for “fat-free” snacks. One of the biggest myths is that if a food is fat-free it doesn’t make you fat. Fat-free doesn’t mean calorie-free, and most fat-free snacks are loaded with sugar, to make up for the fact that the processing plant has removed or limited fat, which TASTES GOOD. Solution: they add sugar.
- Shop for color. The more your grocery basket looks like a cornucopia of color, the better. It usually means you’re getting FOOD SASS? in the form of fresh vegetables and low-glycemic fruits such as berries and cherries. Yay for Food Sass?!
- Become a food detective. To reduce sugar, you have to know where it is first. Start reading labels. And then?
- Do the math. Look at the label where it says “total sugars” and divide the number of grams by four. That’s the number of teaspoons of sugar you are ingesting. This exercise alone should scare the pants off you. For optimal health, an adult shouldn?t take in more than 8 tsp. (32 g.) of added sugars per day (less for kids).
- Beware of artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, they can increase cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. They can also deplete the body’s stores of chromium, a nutrient crucial for blood-sugar metabolism.
- Limit fruit. (Notice I didn’t say “eliminate.”) Fruit has sugar, but it also has fiber and good nutrients. Just don’t overdo it. For weight-loss purposes, two servings a day and try to make most of them low-glycemic (like berries!). A good rule of thumb is: eat two times as many veggies as fruits.
- Eliminate fruit juice. It’s a pure sugar hit with none of the fiber and less of the nutrients that are found in the fruit itself.
Small things are big things. Just start somewhere and keep at it. The food you eat builds your body, every day, for better or for worse. Make choices for health!
With love & sugar reduction,