How To Avoid The Sugar Rush
First of all, sugar hides in packaged foods. Eat fresh foods so that you can manage your sugar intake. If you need sugar, you can always substitute it with another sweet taste, such as vanilla.
And then, eat small meals often. If you starve yourself to keep the pounds down, youre likely to experience energy slumps. That will make you reach for a Hersheys bar.
Also, recognize sugars other names, such as fructose or sucrose. Youll notice them on food labels. They can amount to a lot of sugar.
In all, a sugar intake, if left unchecked may leave you with a host of physical, mental and emotional woes.
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How To Cut Back On Sugar
One of the best ways to cut back is to eliminate sugary drinks, like soda, sweet tea, lemonade, and the like. When it comes to the obvious sugary foods, like baked goods, ice cream, and other treats, be selective and strategic. I advise my clients to rank indulgences on a scale from 0-5, with 0 being just meh and 5 being a cant-live-without favorite. If something doesnt rate at least a 4, you probably wont regret forgoing it.
Enjoy goodies that are truly special, but make simple tweaks to create balance. For example, if you know you want a cookie after lunch, opt for a veggie-packed salad topped with lean protein instead of a carb-heavy sandwich or wrap. And to scope out concealed sources of sugar, become an avid label reader. Look at not just the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts panel but also the ingredient list for terms that end in -ose, like glucose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose, as well as the word syrup.
When the foundation of your diet is fresh, unprocessed whole food, and less of what you eat comes in a package, youll automatically slash your added sugar intake. It may just be the most impactful change you can make for your everyday energy and overall health.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Healths contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees.
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What Happens When You Consume Too Much Sugar
The moment something sweet lands on your tongue, your brain’s reward system kicks into gear, releasing dopamine and feel-good chemicals. “More,” it says, “give me more.”
Sugar has been described as highly addictive. It’s even called a drug in some nutritional circles. But is sugar really that bad?
The truth is, everything in moderation is OK that includes sugar. However, most people do not moderate their sugar intake.
Indeed, the average American eats about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day. That’s a lot more than the American Heart Association’s recommended daily added sugar maximum of 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men.
It’s not the occasional teaspoon of sugar in your tea or even that scoop of ice cream you sneak before bed that’s doing the great damage. Instead, it’s the steady onslaught of sugar day in and day out. Over time, that excessive amount of sugar adds up-and can do real damage to your body. Here’s how.
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You’re Experiencing Digestive Issues And Irregular Bowel Movements
Some research suggests that sugar might decrease the diversity of healthy bacteria in your gut within as little as a week, making your digestive system sluggish. “Too much white sugar won’t help you if you’re trying to promote healthy bacteria in your system,” adds Zeitlin. Foods naturally high in fiber have a positive impactâand people eating lots of sugar generally aren’t eating a lot of fiber, says Ansel.
How Much Sugar Is Too Much
When it comes to how much added sugar to eat per day, the answer isn’t so clearcut.
The most recent dietary guidelines recommend that added sugars make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories. That equates to 38 grams for women on a 1,500-calorie diet or 50 grams for men on a 2,000-calorie diet.
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You Keep Getting Cavities
This one’s a no-brainer, but sugar is a major cause behind tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. When sugar sits on your teeth, it feeds plaque bacteria that are already naturally there, producing acids that wear away at your tooth enamel , which leads to cavities. “The worst is a combo of sugar and acid, which you get from sports drink or soda, since both destroy tooth enamel,” says Ansel. “People who drink lots of these drinks tend to have lots more dental problems.”
Solution: Swap the soda for sparkling or mineral water infused with your favorite fruit and/or herbs, like watermelon and basil or blackberries and mint.
Sugar Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Numerous studies have found that added sugars can produce changes in neurochemistry and behavior similar to those of other addictive drugs. When initially cutting out sugar after long-term use, one may experience withdrawal symptoms. Sugar detox symptoms should resolve within a few days, but may include:
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Negative Effects Of Sugar On The Body
Per Harvard Health Publishing, when we eat sugar, most of it gets broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. Specialized enzymes attack larger molecules and convert them into three simpler sugars: glucose, galactose, and fructose. The liver and muscles store some of the glucose as glycogen, a molecule that can be turned back into glucose when your body needs it.
When glucose enters the bloodstream, however, levels of blood glucose rise. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin to help glucose get where it needs to go in your body. If youre consuming large amounts of added sugar, the cells can become resistant to insulin over time a risk factor for systemic inflammation, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
According to a study published in November 2016 in the journal Nutrients, consuming too much added sugar has also been linked to weight gain and obesity, risk factors for heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cancer.
Excessive intakes of added sugars impact our energy, mood, weight, and disease risk, Cording says. Across the board it can impact our physical and mental well-being.
In order for us to function as smoothly and as normally as possible, we need our blood sugar to be operating in the Goldilocks zone of energy, says William W. Li, MD, a physician in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and author of Eat to Beat Disease.
Put The Kibosh On Condiments
Dressings, sauces, and other condiments may hinder your healthy-eating efforts. One tablespoon of ketchup, for example, has 4 grams of sugar, according to U.S. dietary guidelines. Many condiments can be high in sugar, but its tricky because there are essentially more than 60 different names for sugar, says Ewoldt. So get to know foods with hidden sugars.
When youre looking at the label, it might not say sugar, but it could say high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, rice syrup, or molasses, which are all essentially sugar. In fact, there are at least 40 sneaky nicknames for sugar you might not recognize. Drizzle leafy greens with olive oil or spread avocado on a turkey burger to avoid going overboard with sugar. Heres what happens to your skin when you eat sugar.
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Reducing Sugar In Food
- Rather than spreading high-sugar jam, marmalade, syrup, chocolate spread or honey on your toast, try a lower-fat spread, reduced-sugar jam or fruit spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead.
- Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the reduced- or lower-sugar version.
- Try reducing the sugar you use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream.
- Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup.
- Choose unsweetened wholegrain breakfast cereals that are not frosted, or coated with chocolate or honey.
- Choose unsweetened cereal and try adding some fruit for sweetness, which will contribute to your 5 A Day. Sliced bananas, dried fruit and berries are all good options.
The Food Scanner app from Change4Life can help you check how much sugar you or your child is having. Using your smartphone, the app can scan the barcode on food packets to find out exactly how much sugar is in it. Get it on the App Store and .
Having Too Much Sugar
Although sugar provides less energy than fat, it can contribute to the energy density of foods and drinks. Its easy to overindulge in foods, especially drinks, with high sugar content.Having too much sugar is not the only reason for obesity or being overweight, but it does add to the amount of kilojoules in food. Eating too much of any food, without doing enough exercise, will cause you to become overweight.
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Signs Youre Eating Too Much Sugar & What To Do About It
Sugar is one of the most commonly consumed foods in the world, and while it may not seem like a big deal when youre eating it in moderation, too much sugar can have serious consequences for your health. In this article, well explore some of the signs that youre eating too much sugar, and how you can start to reduce your intake.
Labels On The Back Of Packaging
It’s important to look for the “of which sugars” figure on nutrition labels, which is part of the carbohydrate information.
While this does not tell you the amount of free sugars, it’s a useful way of comparing labels and can help you choose foods that are lower in sugar overall.
Look for the “Carbohydrates of which sugars” figure on the nutrition label.
Products are considered to either be high or low in sugar if they fall above or below the following thresholds:
- high: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
- low: 5g or less of total sugars per 100g
If the amount of sugars per 100g is between these figures, that’s regarded as a medium level.
The “of which sugars” figure describes the total amount of sugars from all sources free sugars, plus those from milk, and those present in fruit and vegetables.
For example, plain yoghurt may contain as much as 8g per serving, but none of these are free sugars, as they all come from milk.
The same applies to an individual portion of fruit. An apple might contain around 11g of total sugar, depending on the size of the fruit selected, the variety and the stage of ripeness.
But sugar in fruit is not considered free sugars unless the fruit is juiced or puréed.
This means food containing fruit or milk will be a healthier choice than one containing lots of free sugars, even if the 2 products contain the same total amount of sugar.
You can tell if the food contains lots of added sugars by checking the ingredients list.
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Simple Ways To Stop Eating Lots Of Sugar
Eating too much sugar may be devastating for your health.
Added sugar, which is the sugar found in sodas, sweets, and other processed foods, has been shown to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay .
Research suggests that most Americans eat anywhere from 5592 grams of added sugar daily, which is equivalent to 1322 teaspoons of table sugar each day representing about 1216% of daily calorie intake .
This is significantly more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of getting less than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars .
The World Health Organization goes a step further, recommending less than 5% of calories from added sugar for optimal health .
However, it can be challenging to slash added sugars from your diet. This article lists 13 simple ways to stop eating so much sugar.
Use Insulin If You Need It
Depending on the type and severity of your diabetes, you may take insulin to help manage it. After eating excess sugar and experiencing hyperglycemia, you may require insulin to help your blood sugar stabilize. However, this is unique to every individual. The type of insulin, dosage, and time of dosage is different for everyone. You must consult with your doctor or endocrinologist about your specific insulin needs, and follow the recommendation they provide you. If dosed and used correctly, insulin helps to stabilize the blood sugar after eating too much sugar.
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You Don’t Feel As Strong Or You’ve Lost Muscle Mass
Researchers found a link between refined sugar and age-related muscle loss due to sugar inhibiting the body’s ability to synthesize protein into muscle. Additionally, an animal study noted that sugar-fed rats lost more lean body mass and retained more fat mass than complex-carb-fed rats. Once you start to curb your sweet cravings and limit your consumption of sugar, you’ll start to see a difference in your workouts and feel stronger.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
Make Your Own Healthy Snacks For Kids
Processed food is often ground zero for added sugar. So the more food you that you can prepare at home, the better. Baking mini-muffins rather than getting them from the store makes a difference. While your version might have sugar in it, you can choose a more natural type of sugar or control the amount, Hyland explains.
You can also try making homemade granola bars that are sweetened with dates to avoid adding sugar. But if being Susie Homemaker isnt your thing, you can go unprocessed without turning on your oven. For example, opt for fresh or dried fruit over fruit snacks.
There is one caveat: While honey and maple syrup are often seen as more natural sweeteners, they still count as added sugar. A benefit is that you typically dont have to use as much since theyre sweeter than regular sugar, and they also contain some nutrients, says Hyland.
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Can Lead To Fatty Liver
A high intake of fructose has been consistently linked to an increased risk of fatty liver.
Unlike glucose and other types of sugar, which are taken up by many cells throughout the body, fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver.
In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen.
However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat.
Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose overload your liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease , a condition characterized by excessive fat buildup in the liver .
A study in over 5,900 adults showed that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily had a 56% higher risk of developing NAFLD, compared to people who did not .
Eating too much sugar may lead to NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver.
Reducing Sugar In Drinks
- Instead of sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash, go for water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free, diet or no-added-sugar drinks. While the amount of sugar in whole and lower-fat milk is the same, choosing lower-fat milk reduces your saturated fat intake.
- Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day.
- If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting no-added-sugar squash with sparkling water.
- If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether. Alternatively, switch to a sweetener.
The NHS Change4Life website has more tips to help you cut back on sugary drinks.
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May Increase Your Risk Of Depression
While a healthy diet can help improve your mood, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression.
Consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression .
Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugars detrimental impact on mental health .
A study following 8,000 people for 22 years showed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day .
Another study in over 69,000 women demonstrated that those with the highest intakes of added sugars had a significantly greater risk of depression, compared to those with the lowest intakes .
A diet rich in added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women.