nourishment

Nourish Yourself in the New Year by Limiting Sugar

We’re always hearing about advances in modern medicine and healthcare technology, so I was under the impression that life expectancy is increasing as time advances. 

Nope! 

You may be as shocked as I was to find out that life expectancy in the United States is actually decreasing. The obvious question here is…why? 

Chronic disease. 

Chronic diseases are on the rise and have increased dramatically in recent years. To make a long story short, our modern diet is killing us.

Nutrition has fallen by the wayside. As humans, the entire reason we consume food is to obtain nutrients but, these days, we are overfed and undernourished.

Obviously, we’re not doing ourselves any favors with all the processed junk food we’re stuffing our faces. Americans today are consuming more sugar than ever before, and it may be the culprit for the rise in diseases. 

Sugar addiction

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), added sugars account for about 14% of the average person’s daily caloric intake today.  Ideally, sugar should be less than 5% of our total daily caloric intake.

It’s common knowledge that excess sugar is bad. Yet, we still eat it. A lot of it. 

Why?

It’s an addiction. In fact, research has shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Sugar consumption releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter responsible for the pleasurable “high” we experience after receiving a reward, and it motivates us to repeat those rewarding behaviors. 

However, as the behavior is repeated, the brain adjusts and releases less dopamine, so the only way to feel the same high is to repeat the behavior. Our brains become hardwired to crave sugar. Basically, it’s a form of substance abuse and destroying our health. 

Unfortunately, as detrimental as sugar is to our bodies, it’s difficult to avoid. It’s everywhere. It’s in pretty much everything we eat. 

Avoiding sugar altogether is a virtual impossibility. But, it is very possible and actually quite easy to limit your intake.

Here are a few simple tricks that you can implement today to immediately limit the amount of sugar in your diet.

Get rid of soft drinks.

Sorry, but if you want to be healthier, those soft drinks and sodas gotta go. Obesity, diabetes, and a multitude of diseases have been linked to consumption of soda and soft drinks.

And don’t think diet soda is any better. In fact, diet soda may be worse than regular soda. Artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually increase sugar cravings, stimulate the appetite, and promote weight gain. So much for “diet”, huh?

Sodas and soft drinks contain tons of calories and have no nutritional value. They also contain obnoxious amounts of sugar

To put it in perspective, imagine taking a teaspoon of sugar and dumping it on your kitchen table. Now do this ten more times. That’s the amount of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda. It’s literally poison.

Eliminate soda and soft drinks. Add more H2O. You won’t believe the difference this will make in your life.

Cut back on junk food.

Look, I get it. Cutting out junk food altogether is not only tough, it’s unrealistic.

Junk food is fantastic and sometimes the temptation is just too much to overcome. I mean, who doesn’t love curling up on the couch with a bowl of ice cream and some Netflix? 

Fortunately, you don’t have to eliminate junk food entirely to see a benefit. It’s perfectly fine to indulge every now and then, just don’t make it a routine. 

Cut back on sweet foods like cookies, cakes, candy, and yes, even ice cream. You’ll not only lose weight, you’ll feel better and have more energy.

Choose whole fruit over fruit juice.

Sure, some fruit juices contain good stuff like vitamin C, but they’re also pure sugar and contain no fiber or nutrients. When those sugar cravings hit and you need something sweet, reach for some fruit.

Fruit will satisfy your sweet-tooth, and you’ll also nourish your body with vital nutrients and vitamins. Plus, the fiber in fruit slows down digestion, so you don’t get the same sugar spike you get after downing a glass of juice.

Pour the fruit juice down the drain and stock up on bananas, apples, oranges, and other fresh fruit. 

Read food labels.

Cutting back on sugar starts in the grocery store. Pay attention to food labels and learn to spot added sweeteners.

Obviously, candy and baked goodies will have tons of sugar. However, unsuspecting and seemingly healthy foods like yogurt, granola bars, or protein bars can be loaded with sugar or other sweeteners.

A notorious ingredient to watch out for is high-fructose corn syrup. This cheap alternative sweetener is linked to type 2 diabetes and high obesity.

Even though a food is marketed as “sugar-free”, it probably still contains artificial sweeteners, which are just as bad for you as sugar.

Check those food labels.

Nourish yourself. Start today.

These days, the cards are stacked against us. Sugar is everywhere, and it’s all too easy to end up with a surplus of the sweet stuff.

Lay off the junk food and consume nourishing foods. Foods that are grown or born. Stop waiting until Monday or next month or whenever to make changes. Do it today.

If you don’t make time for wellness today, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness tomorrow.

Make no mistake about it, consuming excess sugar will shorten your life and the quality of it.

Published by Hot Mess Press