What’s the big deal about sugar?
Updated: Dec 22, 2017
This is it. The time of year the majority of us indulge in the holidays and all its sugary deliciousness. A cookie here, a piece of pie there, maybe some special holiday candies effortlessly find their way into our bodies. No harm in it, right?
Americans consume, on average, over 140 pounds of sugar each year. That means 6 ounces (or 170 grams per DAY). Remember, this is an AVERAGE! Moderation, while wonderful in theory, doesn't work for most people, especially when it comes to sugar and certainly for those with weight loss or health goals. It seems easy to say, "You only live once" and apply it in this situation. That said, if you want excellent quality of life, it's time to really consider this quote.
Sugar is not the same natural food source like it was for our ancestors. Back then it was straight from the sugar cane, or eaten as a whole piece of fruit, which included fibers that slowed down the absorption process. Plus, it was the occasional treat, not the norm. Today's sugar is everywhere and hidden in almost everything, especially in "healthy" packaged foods. Sugar is so highly refined and processed that it enters our bloodstream in a rush. Like a broken dam, refined sugar inundates our system with nothing to stop it.
Once we have that hit--and I say this because our brain experiences pleasure upon sugar ingestion like a drug--it is so easy to overindulge and keep going back for more. We willingly put ourselves on this rollercoaster on a daily basis.
Our bodies can only handle so much sugar at once. Any sugar that isn't immediately used for energy is stored in the liver for later and the rest converts to body fat. We experience a variety of effects as our body attempts to minimize the impact of what we just consumed. Brain fog, excitability followed by a drop in energy, headache, thirst, stress, anxiety, mood swings, and more food cravings are just some of the symptoms. We begin to have more dramatic health changes over time such as weight gain, psychological changes (memory issues, depression, irritability, etc.), insomnia, fatigue, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance and even diabetes.
Now that you're educated on the effects of sugar (without all the extra "science-y" stuff), it's time to use that knowledge to make better food choices. Avoid sweets and pre-packaged, processed foods as much as possible. If you must have something, choose a piece of fruit or a small amount of the item and be done. Kicking the sugar habit can be difficult, but it can feel much more manageable with support. Join my Restart® class for a guided sugar detox to get started.