Sugar and the Unsweet Truth: It Could Be Killing You

Sugar and the Unsweet Truth: It Could Be Killing You

Do you know how much the average American consumes in sugar each week? The frightening truth:
2-3 lbs of sugar every week!

The American Heart Association’s recommended daily amounts of sugar a day are a maximum of 30 grams for women and 45 grams for men. To put it in perspective, 1 teaspoon equals approximately 4.2 grams. If you do the math, the average American is consuming 4 – 6 times more than the recommended amount.

So, what’s the big deal? Sugar can’t be all that bad, or can it? How can something that tastes so good be bad for you? One thing that most don’t know about is that an increase in sugar weakens your immune system. The effects can last up to several hours. Drinking pop all day can seem harmless, but what it’s doing is keeping your body in a compromised state all day long. A bottle of pop may only cost a dollar, but think of the total cost it’s creating on your overall health. A diet high in sugar can also aggravate asthma, cause mood swings, provoke personality changes, cause diabetes, increase your risk of heart disease, increase blood pressure, increase your triglycerides and cholesterol, and increase fat stores. Think it’s a big deal now?

Sugar is often in things we don’t even think about: bread, cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, condiments, and spaghetti sauce.

There’s a hot sauce commercial that has an elderly lady quoting “I put that stuff on everything.” I wrote the edited version of what she really said. I used to compete in bodybuilding, and would go on extremely strict diets of which included eating a lot of chicken, vegetables and egg whites. So, for me, it was ketchup. I would put “that stuff” on everything! It didn’t even dawn on me how much sugar it had in it. I was dumping sugar on my diet food without realizing it – no wonder I got colds a lot and had a hard time losing my belly! 

Years after the fact I know to read nutrition labels on everything, and to think about the sugar content in what I’m eating and drinking. To make it simple, I tell my clients to try and keep their sugar intake below 10 grams for everything they eat. It’s a simple way to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Did you know an average 20 ounce bottle of pop contains 65 grams? That’s more than double the daily recommended amount for a woman!

A diet high in sugar causes a lot of stress on your body. An increase in sugar causes your pancreas to release insulin to drop the blood sugar. Then your blood sugar ends up dropping too low, leaving you tired and craving sweets again.

This vicious cycle won’t stop unless you stop choosing to consume sweets.

Over time, this high intake of sweets will wreak havoc on your body and can result in diabetes. Your body becomes resistant to insulin, causing elevated blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels increase the fat in your blood, clogging your arteries and increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. This isn’t something to take lightly. Your diet can be killing you, and you need to be aware of it!

All carbohydrates break down into sugar, but not all carbs are bad for you. The best sources of carbohydrates to eat are complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, beans, and whole grains (the less processed the better). These types of carbs break down slower than your simple carbs and are less likely to be stored as body fat. Complex carbs provide needed nutrients and fiber where as simple carbs don’t. Simple carbs are refined carbohydrates and sugars – white bread, white rice, pop, pastries, cakes, and cookies. Read the labels, and keep your sugar intake to a minimum. Start tracking the amount you consume in a day and try to find lower sugar alternatives.

Avoid sweets to be sweet, to yourself and your body – for that is the best treat you can give yourself!