Turbinado, maltodextrin, sucanat, dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose. Any of these sound familiar? You may recognize a few. They are all names for sugar and there are many, many more.
Sugar can have many effects on your body. Some are immediate, but many are cumulative over time. For instance, sugar has an effect on your hormones, mood, immunity, anxiety and depression, skin and aging, brain fog and last but not least, weight gain.
Did you realize sugar is an inflammatory food? It can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause heart disease, fatty liver and diabetes. Over time, it can damage cells and block nutrients – even when you eat healthy foods! It causes acne and collagen damage which can lead to wrinkles and aging.
How much do you need?
Recommendation from the American Heart Association indicates women need no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) and men less than 38 grams (9 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. A can of regular soda can have about 39 grams of added sugar. That’s just one can. Ideally, less than 10% of your daily caloric intake should be from sugar.
What is added sugar?
This is sugar not found in whole foods. It is typically added during processing and preparation. Many times what we consider “healthy” food (applesauce, yogurt, peanut butter) can have added sugar.
What can you do?
Learn how to read labels. Educate yourself on the many names for sugar. Check the ingredient list on foods.
Resist cravings. Easier said than done – right? Realize that it will be a struggle. You may not always win each struggle and that’s okay. Acknowledge that sugar is addictive and it will take time and effort to reduce your dependency. When a craving arises trying going for a walk or exercise-something to reset your brain. Try substituting fruit, which is naturally sweet.
Eat whole foods vs packaged, processed foods. Shop the outside aisles at the market vs the inside aisles where all the pre-packaged foods and snacks are found.
Manage stress. You get stressed and what do you do – reach for comfort foods. Instead, try a little self-love to reduce stress; go for a walk, sit outside or listen to your favorite music.
Need additional support and guidance?
Contact our office at 314-475-3126 to schedule a nutrition consult with our nutritionist, Jess.