Eliminating Added Sugar

Sugar is hidden in many foods that we consume on a daily basis, such as sodas, fruit juices, candies, and ice cream. In fact, one can of soda has over 10 teaspoons of sugar in it!  It also lurks in almost all processed foods, including breads, meats, and even your favorite condiments like Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.  You add it to your morning cup of coffee or tea, bake it into pastries, cakes and cookies and even sprinkle it all over your breakfast cereal or on your oatmeal.  It seems impossible to avoid it altogether.

Sugar is one of the most damaging substances that you can eat and we are addicted to it. But how exactly does sugar work in our body, and what are the side effects of eating too much sugar on people’s health?  An average person consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day, however newest studies show that the average person consumes close to 126 grams of sugar!  What’s even more disturbing is that people are consuming excessive sugar in the form of fructose or high-fructose corn syrup. This highly processed form of sugar is cheaper yet 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, which is why many food and beverage manufacturers decided to use it for their products, as it would allow them to save money in the long run.

The bad news is that the human body is not made to consume excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. In fact, your body metabolizes fructose differently than sugar.  It is actually metabolized directly into fat which can cause a whole host of problems that can have many negative effects on your health, including insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, liver damage (similar to the effects of alcohol), decreased HDL and increase LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and high blood pressure, to name a few!

Excess sugar also increases your risk of other diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Your liver metabolizes alcohol the same way as sugar.  Some studies found that fructose is readily used by cancer cells to increase their growth which allows the cancer to spread faster.  Also, there is also a growing body of research that shows a strong connection a high fructose diet and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through the same pathway that causes type 2 diabetes. Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders may be caused by the constant burning of glucose for fuel by your brain.

Remember too that ALL food with the exception of meat and fat, are carbohydrates and ALL carbohydrates break down into sugar in your body, which increases your insulin levels and causes insulin resistance. Remember that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are also a no-no, as they actually come with a whole new set of health problems that are much worse than what sugar or corn syrup can bring.

Step 1 of eliminating added sugars is understanding why excess sugar is bad for your health and will sabotage you in your weight loss efforts.  Learn to read labels so you can identify hidden sugars.

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