I love sugar so why won’t it love me back?
SUGAR (even the natural kind) is currently getting a bad rap from best-selling books, diet gurus and even mainstream doctors. Experts share what the real problems are and the smartest ways to cut back.
Take the following quiz below to find out if you’re hooked. Answer True or False for each question.
1) I crave something sweet after nearly every meal. 2) I have at least one soft drink (diet or regular) a day. 3) When I see something sweet, I have trouble passing it up. 4) I almost always have some sort of chocolate or candy every day. 5) I sometimes feel out of control when eating sweets.
If you answered TRUE TO THREE OR MORE questions, you’re under sugar’s spell and it might be time to start curbing your intake.
Guilty to numbers 1, 3 and 4. My correct score should really be 2 ½. I struggled with answering yes to #1 because I don’t always eat sweets after breakfast or lunch.
WHAT’S SO BAD
It can add belly bulge. Ab fat anyone? What you eat matters – counting calories are not the only thing that counts. Sugary foods are rapidly absorbed, precipitating insulin spikes that cause rebound hunger and elevated triglyceride levels (increasing your risk of heart disease). Scarier still, surplus fructose can build fat deep in the abdomen, which is the worst place in terms of health risks.
IT AGES YOU
Excess suger in your diet can trigger the formation of advanced glycation end-products, which can cause premature lines and wrinkles. WAIT: you can use sugar based products for your skin? Sugar actually works well as a topical exfoliant, gently sloughing off dead layers to reveal smoother, brighter skin. That’s great and all but will it still satisfy my craving for something sweet while it’s on my skin? I don’t think so! My question is can you eat sugar and then use wrinkle reducing products to wipe off the accumulated line damage after? – probably not! We’ll do skincare in another post then.
DON’T BE A FAKER
Satisfying your cravings with artificial substitutes isn’t a smart swap. People who drink diet sodas are more likely to gain extra pounds. One possible explanation? The faux stuff primes your palate to crave sweets, making it harder to scale back. Plus the fake stuff is even worse for you in general.
SUGAR GETS BUSTED
Since it’s publication in February, the “Blood Sugar Solution” has been generating a buzz and landing on the best-seller list for at least 12 weeks. Followers of Dr. Mark Hyman’s no-added-sugers edict are staving off what he calls “diabesity,” a cluster of symptoms that can lead to serious health issues. (Little Brown, $28; amazon.com)
Slashing Sugar Made Simple: some strategies to slowly step away from sweets without sacrificing taste or satiety.
Pick the finest fruit – few dietitians advise cutting out fruit entirely since it has fiber along with the natural sugars. Focus on low-sugar, high-fiber, and phytonutrient-rich choices like blueberries and peaches over super-sweet fruits like pineapple.
Beware of breakfast cereals – even the seemingly wholesome varieties can be laden with the white stuff. A serving of Kashi Go Lean Crunch has a whopping 13 grams of sugar. That is the main reason why I make my own granola. The only additional sugars is with added dried fruit.
Avoid Hidden Sugar – sweeteners go by many names and can be lurking where you least expect them. Common sources include breads, ketchup, pasta sauce, peanut butter, salad dressings and soups. Read the labels carefully. Bone up on the aliases you may find on labels, such as brown rice syrup, corn syrup, solids, dexrin, galactose, and malt syrup.
Sip Smarter – be wary of drinking too much juice. Juice might seem health savvy -witness the juice-cleanse craze. But most are high in sugar too. Eating the whole fruit is more filling for fewer calories or dilute your juice with some water. I love juicing but will add veggies like carrots, kale and cucumber to balance out the fruit intake. Watch out for the sugar intake in energy shakes too.
*TIP: It may not be chocolate but for a healthy take on something sweet try baked sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon.
**If you can’t CUT OUT then at least CUT DOWN. Eating sugar in desserts, ice cream, etc. is my guilty pleasure but I vow to cut down…..bit by bit (or bite by bite).
You might also be interested in: How YOU can become almost totally resistant to colds, influenza, and other infections with the bestselling author of SUPER IMMUNITY on Transforming Health with Brad King. VoiceAmerica.com – #1 internet radio station in North America. Listen to this and other health related issues with Brad King every Wednesday live at noon (pacific standard time) and 3:00 p.m. (EST).