Sugar is Sugar is Sugar is Sugar!
Sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar!
No, that is not a typo; it’s actually one of my favorite sayings when it comes to diet, believe it or not. There are so many diets out there for quick fixes, and so many products that will go out of their way to make you think that you are buying something that will make you a healthy consumer. How can we tell what’s right and what’s wrong anymore? This subject can easily apply to so many products when talking about food, but today I will to apply it to sugar.
What is sugar? Sugar is a sweet tasting *rolling my eyes* simple carbohydrate that goes by the names of glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, and lactose. Yes sugar is delicious and we all love it, but it can have very harmful effects on the body especially when consumed in excess. On average, we should only be consuming 50g or 13 teaspoons of sugar each day. Unfortunately you can find that in what's considered by many a healthy bottled iced tea alone. The average American is eating over 40 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis. Too much consumption can lead to a slew of diseases including diabetes, cancer, obesity, and heart disease. It is addicting and damaging to our bodies.
Back in the day, people ate real sugar. Then they came out with sugar substitutes (more bad news for another day). High fructose corn syrup started showing up in every product in stores – including breads, salad dressings, and infant formulas. We have heard and seen lots of information about using agave nectar, natural honey, and cane sugar to use as a sweeteners. What in the world are we supposed to do since the definition of healthy sugar changes every other day!?
Personally, I think it’s important to limit the consumption of sugar in general and really strive for that 50g goal. But that’s a hard thing to do of course, and really unrealistic to think that it’s possible to do that 365 days in a year. So here’s where my favorite saying comes in. Yes, raw honey, natural sugar, and cane sugars are obviously better choices than high fructose corn syrup because they are natural, but always remember that sugar is, sugar is, sugar is sugar. If you are eating over 50g of all natural, raw, organic honey every day your body still isn’t going to like having to process that excess amount. It will still put your pancreas and liver in overload mode. Choose the natural when you are consuming, change recipes to use these sweeteners instead of processed white sugar, and try cutting those recipe amounts in half. I like to use organic stevia and fruit to sweeten things. Stevia is great because it’s all natural from a plant and has 0 calories. Use sparingly, as it’s more potent than the real stuff. I put it in my coffee, on steel cut oats, and use it in recipes. Bananas and applesauce can be substituted in recipes that call for sugar. How awesome sauce is that? OK, I've never said that expression before and I promise I won't do it again…
We are so used to having so much sugar that things might taste different at first. After a while (and by that I mean 3 days of cutting back), sweet things you used to eat will taste disgustingly over sweet. Begin reading labels and notice how much you are consuming and see where you can cut back. A few years ago I participated in a 6 week sugar cleanse. I mean ZERO alternate sugars allowed and only two fruits allowed each day. I wasn't able to eat the sugars in any carbohydrates either (including potatoes or corn). The first week I was miserable. I had a headache, I was weak, and I was crabby as hell. This was me detoxing! It’s an addiction that we have been accustomed to our whole lives so of course I would have detox symptoms! After that first week, I felt amazing. Lighter, more alert, less bloated, and more focused. It was such a transformation for me. Of course, I gradually added things back into my diet but my awareness was now heightened. Pineapples and dried fruits were too sweet for me to eat. I won't even start to talk about the syrupy taste of a bite of candy or milk chocolate (which I still can't eat because it tastes so sweet to me). By eliminating sugar, I opened my eyes to how much I actually consumed daily and allowed me to make a change for my personal well being. I encourage you to do the same. Am I saying you should never again have a bowl of ice cream or your favorite candy? Absolutely not. But maybe that bowl of ice cream with candy on top isn't the best thing to have every day for dinner, maybe!
Infinite Warrior offers nutritional counseling and meal planning that can help with this if it seems overwhelming because, I know, it is. Even the smallest step is a step in the right direction. I like to call that first step ‘awareness.’ Pay attention to how much you're consuming and where it comes from and remember, sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar.
Health and lots of love,