Why is Sugar Bad? And Tricks to Go Sugarless
Sugar tastes amazing, which is why it’s added to just about everything, but every health nut under the sun says it’s bad for you. Why? Oh why, healthy people must you kill my joy?
Why is sugar bad? Let me count the ways:
- Sugar increases your risk of obesity
- Obesity can lead to things like diabetes
- Sugar fills your body with calories devoid of nutrients you would get if you ate healthy foods instead
- Sugar causes cavities in teeth
- You don’t need added sugar. Your body makes glucose to fuel your brain from whole foods like fruit, vegetables, milk and carbohydrates
- A major study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that it may risk your risk of dying of heart disease, even if you aren’t overweight
The American Heart Association recommends that a woman should get no more than 100 calories per day from added sugar. That’s about 6 teaspoons of sugar. One can of Coke has about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar. Yikes!
The study in JAMA noted that a lot of our sugar calories come from beverages. Soda is an obvious sugar source, but so are fruit juices and energy drinks.
A Connecticut College study (albeit a small study) suggests that sugar is as addictive as cocaine…in rats. Researchers fed rats Oreo cookies and compared their brain activity to rats on cocaine and found that it activated the same areas. Also, rats broke apart the cookie and ate the creamy filling in the middle first. I’m not making this up.
If sugar is your crack, then try these tricks to go sugarless:
- Choose naturally sweet foods. Eat an apple for breakfast or try some berries for a mid morning snack. I always aim to eat my fruit in the morning or just before cardio so the fructose is more likely to be burned off rather than converting to fat storage.
- Substitute Stevia for sugar. It takes about a week to get used to the after taste but once you get past that it provides the sweetness without the calories
- Add a little apple cider vinegar to your salad. It helps to regulate your blood sugar so you don’t get those sugar highs and lows in the afternoon. Here’s a recipe I use to make honey mustard salad dressing (without the honey…and the calories.)
- Remind yourself that food is fuel, not your friend. I’m an emotional eater and when I’m sad or anxious I tend to reach for comfort foods like chocolate chip cookies. But food is meant to fuel your body. That’s it. If you’re having a bad day take a walk, write in a journal or try talking to a real friend instead of pretending that the Pillsbury Dough Boy is.
Hope that helps!
If you’re serious about getting healthy, but need help getting started, try my S.L.I. Method on my website ShesLosingIt.com. Only YOU can do the work, but I can give you the tools that I’ve learned over the past five years about nutrition, exercise and overcoming excuses.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!!!
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