Thursday, December 11, 2014

Breaking Up With Sugar

I know they say that breaking up is hard to do...but sometimes it's necessary. Especially when it's with the culprit of sugar. 

I wrote a post about the harmful effects of sugar a few years ago. But with the holidays upon us, I thought this was a good time to address this topic again. 

Not only does sugar negatively affect the body in many different ways, but most people are way over-consuming sugar! 

Some form of added sugar is in almost every prepared food these days. 
"...added sugars hide in 74 percent of processed foods under more than 60 different names!"

Just how much sugar is too much?

"The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend limiting your daily added sugar intake to nine teaspoons (38 grams) for men, and six teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The limits for children range from three to six teaspoons (12 - 25 grams) per day, depending on age...and I strongly recommend limiting your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less from all sources, including natural sources such as fruit—regardless of whether you’re male or female."

I eat almost completely sugar-free, but even then I probably get close to these numbers. I eat fruit every day, use honey in my non-yeast bread, and occasionally have an organic granola bar, which contains 9 grams of sugar.

The reason these numbers are so important is because of how our bodies work.

"The main problem with sugar, and processed fructose in particular, is the fact that your liver has a very limited capacity to metabolize it. According to Dr. Lustig, you can safely metabolize about six teaspoons of added sugar per day. As mentioned, the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. All that excess sugar is metabolized into body fat, and leads to all of the chronic metabolic diseases we struggle with...."

The human body is not made to handle the high amounts of sugar people eat today. That's why “sugar consumption in America is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease." 

Many people say, "Well, I don't eat much sugar." But when you ask a few more questions, you realize they are consuming a LOT more sugar than they realize. "Sugar" isn't just cookies or candy. It's in almost every processed food, like tomato sauce, crackers, etc. If you read every label and added up how many grams a day you're consuming, it would probably be well over the recommended amount. 

The kind of sugar you consume is also important. High fructose corn syrup is probably the worst kind of sugar (see my previous post here). White table sugar runs a close second. However, things like fruit, honey, and even small amounts of real maple syrup have various health benefits - as long as they aren't over-consumed.

This time of year it seems like the sugar is flowing freely at every event and place you go. But I hope you'll consider what a gift you'll be giving your body, your health, and your loved ones if you break up with sugar. =) 

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