Today I want to talk to you about sugar. I used to love sugar! When I mention it, most people think of desserts. Cake, ice cream, cookies, doughnuts, pie, candy, milkshakes, cereal, syrup, bread, coffee cake, sweet tea and the list goes on. What's your favorite? It's common place for American families to have dessert after dinner. We train our kids well with birthday cakes and ice cream at home and at school. We reward them with candy for good behavior or on Valentines day it's a gift that shows our love. We teach our kids that it's a healthy way to celebrate and reward ourselves and receiving it as a gift shows we're loved and possibly well-behaved. But what are we really doing? I believe, we're teaching our children to turn to sugary foods and chemicals to make us feel better when we're down. We learn in PE class that if we're bad, we have to run laps. We're taught that exercise is a form of punishment. That view is even carried over into the world of dieting. "I was bad by eating too much so I have to exercise to lose weight." Are you following me? I could go deeper into the subject of food psychology but that's not the topic of this post.
So what's the big deal about sugar? We know too much of it can lead to obesity and obesity in turn leads to several other diseases and eventually an early death. That's a big deal! It wasn't enough to stop my habit though. I didn't think I was addicted to sugar until I stopped eating it. If you consume it on a daily basis or you crave it, you have some level of addiction.
Sugar can damage your heart, Lower your immune system, cause cancer, Diabetes, candida, inflammation and brain issues. Those are just a few in a long list of health problems linked to sugar. God created our bodies with a self-healing mechanism called the immune system. Without a healthy one, our bodies can't win the constant fight against sickness. Think about that, God gave us this beautiful gift of healing and we're destroying it with doughnuts and candy. Not only that, but we're teaching our kids that sugar's a great thing.
Instead of listing the different types of sugar to avoid, I'll list the ones to enjoy; in moderation! My top choices are fruit and local organic raw honey. Try using medjool dates to sweeten your desserts, they're really sweet and there are a lot of great recipes out there. Eat a piece of fruit to curb a craving. Raw honey has many health benefits, is used medicinally and tastes great.
Grade B maple syrup and stevia are my next choices. You can use as much stevia as you like. Make sure it's 100% stevia. There are a few new products out there that are not pure, they have added chemicals.
Stay away from nutrasweet, high fructose corn syrup and any other artificial sweeteners. They are very harmful!
Sugar is hiding in everything these days. It's in our bread, pickles, condiments, crackers, salad dressings and just about every packaged food item. Read the labels carefully.
The American Heart Association says that 37.5 grams of sugar a day for men is okay and 25 grams for women. Don't take that to mean refined table sugar is a healthy choice. Let's put those numbers into perspective. A banana has approximately 14 grams of sugar (fructose), a regular size candy bar has 30 grams and a serving of ketchup has 3.7 grams per tablespoon.
Americans consume an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days. That's an average of 153 grams per day.
Ready to kick the habit? Here are a few tips. If you have serious health issues, check with your medical doctor.
1. Take it slow. Set a goal of 1 month. Each week lower sugar consumption, this will help to eliminate any withdrawal symptoms.
2. Replace refined sugar desserts and food with healthier versions.
3. Have fruit on hand and keep a Lara Bar with you at all times. They are sweetened with dates and really help to calm a sweet tooth.
I hope this article helps you on your journey to health. Sugar is dangerous and there are so many healthy sweet treats to enjoy that nourish our bodies, why not give up the bad? All you have to lose is sickness and disease and you gain health and energy!