Sugar is no joke. In fact, some people spend as much time struggling to ‘quit’ sugar as much as others dealing with alcohol or drug addictions.
And the sugar industry isn’t doing you any favors. Even if you’re trying to go without, sugars and syrups are literally hiding in many of the foods you eat, even savory things such as tomato sauce.
In fact, sugar is in almost everything the food industry puts on your grocery shelves – it’s pretty much everywhere.
You’ve heard the old saying … “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”? Well …
Sugar Rarely Goes by its True Name
According to the FDA, you can find over 60 names for sugar. That means you’ve got to educate yourself about all of sugars’ aliases. If you see any of these words on your food labels or ingredient lists at a restaurant, you might as well be reading the word “sugar”:
Also, some artificial sweeteners can be as dangerous as the substance they’re trying to imitate. So skip the splenda or sweet-n-low and go for stevia instead!
What Effects Can Too Much Sugar Have on Your Body?
Well, of course, there’s the obvious – it can spike your blood sugar. This can occur when your body can’t properly move the sugar from your blood into other cells. If you don’t watch your sugar intake, this can result in some serious health issues.
Sugar Can Cause You to Gain Weight
A recent study followed 500 students’ intake of sugary beverages for a year-and-a-half. The result? Well, for every serving of sugary drink ingested each day, the students’ BMI (Body Mass Index) and instances of obesity actually increased.1
So you see, sugar can really mess with your metabolism. It can sneak in and deactivate the very system responsible for telling your body it’s hungry. When your body misses these signals, you’re naturally inclined to eat more and more – which means gaining more and more weight.
You Can Get Addicted to Sugar
You may think sugar on your grapefruit or syrup on your pancakes tastes great, but enjoying sugar is a passing sensation. The problems it leaves you with, however, are real.
In fact, recent research suggests sugary snacks – and even snacks sweetened with artificial sweeteners – can trigger your brain’s reward responses.
Some studies even suggest that sugar can interact with your brain’s pleasure center.
Unfortunately, when this happens, it can form habits that cause people to grow dependent. It’s an easy-to-crave substance in the same way certain drugs are.2
Sugar Consumption May Cause High Blood Pressure3
As your arteries get narrower, your blood pressure rises. And there could be a relationship between the amount of sugar you eat and the size of your arteries.
Unfortunately, you can have high blood pressure for a long time and not feel the symptoms. So if you eat a lot of sugar, you should probably check your blood pressure with your healthcare professional as soon as you can – and keep checking it regularly – blood pressure can change fairly quickly.
Inflammation is one of the responses your immune system can cause to fight toxicity or disease. Because sugar isn’t the best for you, it can cause your immune system to fire up and ignite an inflammatory response.
And sugar can really screw up the way your body is meant to function. For instance, there are these tiny proteins secreted by your immune system that send necessary signals to other cells and organs in your body.4,5
So, how much sugar are you actually eating?
Believe it or not, it’s estimated that the average American eats around 150 pounds of sugar every year!6
Think about that for a second – that’s almost the weight of most fully grown adults. You really are eating your weight in sugar!
The truth is, the human body wasn’t meant to deal with such crazy amounts of sugar. And your body wasn’t even built to handle the kinds of processed sugars packed into all that gluttonous boxed, bagged, shrink-wrapped, and prepared food.
How Do You Spot the Master of Disguise … and Then Beat It?
First, you must realize that sugar is literally in almost everything. Sugar is even in your favorite “healthy” products – even sports drinks, protein bars, and salad dressings.
It’s hiding everywhere – in ‘good-for-you bread, green juices, light creamer for your coffee – even healthy, fruit-filled yogurts are usually loaded with sugary syrup. First and foremost, you want to…
Make Your Meals at Home
If it is bagged, boxed, or even at prepped at your favorite restaurant, it can hide tons of weird ingredients.
So often, foods that seem like they should be natural are packed with hidden sugars, like high-fructose corn syrup. Restaurants may also claim their healthier items are made with substances like turbinado sugar which is obtained from the first pressed pieces of sugar cane. The assumption is that it undergoes less processing, so it’s healthier – but sugar is still sugar. The bottom line? Stay away.
Instead, cook whole foods at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting in your body. And you can be in control of keeping things like syrup out of your fridge and pantry.
Kick Fruit to the Curb
Some folks might want to get rid of all fruit. But, if that feels extreme, stop eating fruit that’s not in season. That means you can still enjoy pears, pomegranates, and apples in the fall, citrus and persimmons in the winter, berries and plums in the spring and summer.
Also, choose fruits that are high in polyphenols — the natural chemicals found in plant foods (like coffee or cocoa powder). They can help protect against certain health issues. Stick to pomegranates, blueberries, and blackberries.
Water, Coffee, & Tea are Your New Best Friends
Drink lots, and drink often – but, only coffee, tea, and water. You must get rid of soda, sweet tea, and juice. And don’t sweeten your coffee or tea with sweeteners or syrup.
Water really is your body’s best friend. And you can even treat yourself to a glass of wine every now and again. And when you go for coffee or tea, make sure it’s plain.
In the end …
You CAN spot the master of disguise – sugar. Just stay away from these no-no ingredients:
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Turbinado Sugar
Again, research what you’re putting in your body. There are a lot of ways to enjoy your breakfast without sugar in your coffee, and without syrup on your french toast (or french toast at all, for that matter). You’ll still be able to enjoy eating wonderful, flavorful foods. And you’ll be happy to know the food you’re putting in your body is the food you’re supposed to be putting in your body.
1. Ryan T. Hurt, Stephen A. McClave. “The Obesity Epidemic: Challenges, Health Initiatives, And Implications For Gastroenterologists”.PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2010. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.
3. Khitan, Zeid and Dong Hyun Kim. “Fructose: A Key Factor In The Development Of Metabolic Syndrome And Hypertension”. N.p., 2013. Print.
5. Giugliano D, et al. “The Effects Of Diet On Inflammation: Emphasis On The Metabolic Syndrome. – Pubmed – NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2006. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.
6. ”How Much Sugar Do You Eat? You May Be Surprised!”. N.p., 2014. Print.