With snack cakes, sodas, and donuts readily available every 200 feet, it’s no wonder why America leads the obesity ranks on a global scale. Added sugar is sneaking its way into all processed foods, including seemingly innocent products such as spaghetti sauce, yogurt, and even spices such as garlic salt. So what’s the big deal with sugar anyway?
An increased intake of added sugars has been linked to heart disease, certain cancers, leaky gut & other GI issues, depression, liver disease, type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. The American Heart Association’s recommended daily maximum sugar intake is 6 teaspoons for most women and 9 teaspoons for most men. However, the average American is consuming a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar each day! We are going to have to curve a huge lifestyle switch in order to initiate lasting changes in our health.
Contrary to popular belief, consuming one piece of fruit and consuming one soda are two very different things. Yes, the fruit may contain natural sugars, however it also is filled with fiber and an assortment of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our bodies. Increased fiber intake is shown to decrease your blood cholesterol levels, improve gut health, and reduce your risk for diabetes and certain types of cancers. Consuming fiber additionally establishes satiety in the gut, decreasing the desire for sugar cravings after a meal.
While most processed foods these days contain added sugars, there are certain products that top the naughty list. Consider eliminating these foods from your diet altogether due to their extreme amounts of added sugar:
-Certain Protein bars
-Smoothies (i.e. from a smoothie shop)
If you are wanting a touch of sweetness in a recipe, try substituting sugar with a small amount of date paste, honey, applesauce, or stevia. Once you start weaning yourself off of a sugar addiction (yes, many of us are addicted), you will not crave sweets as often. Your energy levels will become more sustained instead of feeling the jittery spikes that partner with the inevitable crashes from sugar consumption.
We can’t blame ourselves entirely for the problem. Thanks to politics, marketing, and bunk-science mingling with the food industry, taking an innocent trip to the grocery store has become a confusing battle for most. Companies are able to place all kinds of claims on their labels, making their products appear much healthier than they really are. Furthermore, the big guys in the food industry hire engineers to design your favorite chips, drinks, cereals, and snack cakes to create a longing for “just one more”. Don’t believe me? Check out this video with Dr. Mark Hyman and Michael Moss, an investigative journalist that blows the whistle on the corruption of the food industry.
Reversing chronic disease is going to take a lot more effort on our end than simply taking a pill. The health and wellness of your mind, body, and spirit all starts with food. Once you begin to understand the science behind how what you eat affects you, you can choose the right nutrition to properly fuel your unique body. Never forget that you have the power to do your part and take control of your health through proper nutrition and other important lifestyle factors such as hydration, adequate sleep, exercise, and positive relationships. Start reducing processed sugars from your diet today and unlock the immediate and long-term benefits…your body and brain will thank you!
Originally written and posted by my daughter, Shea Forcade