Did you know that your daily sugar intake should be 20-35g? This is sugar in all forms, including what is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, and dairy. But it is common for us to consume more than this without realising.
- Just one can of coke contains 8 teaspoons of sugar (going for diet does not make it any better as this is full of aspartame and acesulfame K, both of which are dangerous artificial sweeteners).
- A bowl of cereal with milk contains up to 5 teaspoons.
- A regular pot of yogurt contains up to 8 teaspoons.
- A regular-sized banana can have a minimum of 19g – almost your daily intake right there!!!
Could you reduce your sugar intake by being more conscious of where it is hidden?
The first reason to ditch sugar is that it makes you fat – especially around your waist and stomach. It converts to fat quicker than fat itself because it raises your insulin levels which leads to fat storage. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate that hits our bloodstream almost immediately, giving you a hit of energy. Your pancreas then excretes insulin to stabilise your blood-sugar levels and this causes them to drop. The result is an energy crash (hence why you often feel tired a short while after eating or drinking sugary products). Your adrenal glands then secrete adrenaline to try and boost your blood sugar levels back up again. When your adrenal glands are overworked you become even more tired and reach for more sugary foods/drinks to boost your energy levels. If you regularly eat sugar, you are literally on an energy rollercoaster that will wear you out as well as increasing your body fat levels. Sugar also makes it harder to lose weight because it prevents your body from burning fat. So no matter how much exercise you may do, if your sugar levels are too high you will not see the benefits and are likely to store fat mainly around your stomach and waist.
- It robs your body of vitamins, causing dull hair and skin.
- Causes emotional, mental, and physical stress.
- Weakens your immune system.
- It is addictive.
- Wears out your internal organs and is thought to be behind the increase in type 2 diabetes.
The Worst Offenders:
- White refined sugar (the type you get in packets and add to coffee).
- Fruit juices (unless freshly squeezed yourself).
- White carbs (pasta, bread, rice, and cereals. Wholewheat does also contain sugars, but is slower at releasing energy than white).
- Alcohol (it is just liquid calories really!)
- Cakes, sweets, biscuits, and ice cream.
Low-fat foods (diet yogurts, most breakfast cereals, health bars, and energy drinks are packed with them to give them flavour. Manufacturers take out the fat & add sugar).
Any ingredient ending in ‘ose’ such as sucrose, glucose, maltose, lactose, dextrose & fructose (check your ‘diet’ drinks for these). Sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, erythitol, aspartame, saccharin, NutraSweet, Splenda, cyclamate, and sucralose.
How to eat sugar:
Always go for good sugar like raw, in-season, thin-skinned fruit such as berries, grapes, and apples. Or good quality honey, especially manuka which contains healthy nutrients.
Never eat sugar on its own (this includes fruit and honey). Always eat some protein and good fat with it (nuts, meat, fish, or natural nut butter) because they slow the rate at which sugar floods into your bloodstream.
So if you think you have been eating well but cannot lose any of the body fat, look again at your food and drink to see if sugar could be the problem. Pay attention to labels and the ‘carbohydrate of which sugars’ element, trying to keep it to a minimum and understand where sugar can be hiding in your diet.
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