Sugar hides in most products that we ingest on a daily basis & I achieved great results by firstly becoming aware & educated on this particular topic. Sugar impacts negatively on your diet and health & by implementing the following you will be off to a great start!
I don’t eat that much sugar so cutting it won’t really make a difference, or will it??
Years ago a friend from my running group mentioned to me that ever since he cut added sugar from his diet, he started to see immediate results almost effortlessly. I can remember thinking that I didn’t agree with him then because I didn’t eat much sugar at the time and didn’t see any results even while running??
I never did anything about this advice but I can remember the day that he shared this with me as clear as it was yesterday & for some reason this advice stuck. It was only until 2010 when I decided to change my life for good that I actually gave this idea a chance and this is how I went about it.
How much sugar did I ingest on a daily basis? Hey, I thought I was eating healthy!?
I sat down and documented my previous day’s consumption, luckily a very healthy day 🙂
I honestly thought that this was a healthy diet as the foods that I ingested are generally healthy. Fruit juice, rolled oats, chicken breast with greens sounds pretty healthy to me!
What I didn’t think about was everything I was eating & drinking in between meals, as snacks & for some reason I conveniently forgot about these.
The schedule to the right lists everything that I ate during that particular day. I then consulted various websites that provided nutritional information in order to understand how many grams of sugar the foods contained that I ate.
There are roughly 4,2 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. So the column on the far right shows the amount of sugar based on a teaspoon measurement for each item that I ingested.
When I totalled everything I came to some 96 teaspoons of sugar that I ingested for that particular day & this was basically my usual diet routine for years. My habits had to change!
I always thought that something like raisins would be a healthier alternative to sweets made from refined sugar, but just compare the raisins in my schedule with the chocolate and you will find that you basically get the same amount of sugar either way. This made me think differently about dried fruit as a lower sugar alternative.
Suddenly it made sense after years of ignorance, clarity at last!
It suddenly made sense why I never lost weight while training hard in the gym or running. According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugar you should eat in a day comes to some 9 teaspoons for men (36g) & 6 teaspoons for women (24g). If the natural sugar ingested from fruit & healthy food is set aside in the above schedule then I was still averaging about 45 teaspoons of added sugar per day, 5 times the recommended allowance!
It also made sense why the abundance of sugar made my liver become resistant to insulin (important hormone that helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy), causing me to struggle with type 2 diabetes. Also why my joints continuously ached due to the inflammation associated with too much sugar!
Luckily I grasped it then and started to manage sugar intake. Studies have shown that high sugar intake may lead to conditions such as depression in adults, heart disease & stroke, kidney failure & even impotence.
Study labels & be informed about sugar content?
Do yourself a favour and start reading the labels on the packaging before you buy it and you will find that most everything has sugar in it. You expect baked goods, candy & soft drinks to be the culprits / be high in sugar content but sometimes it hides in the most unexpected products.
This takes me back to my post about exceptions & rules in that, if most of what we buy and consume has sugar in it then the rule is that we are consuming sugar on a daily basis. It is not the exception like eating clean and then eating a slice of red velvet cheesecake once a week.
Also, be aware that under ingredients on the label you will find that the word sugar is sometimes disguised under another name and it is important that you investigate this.
If you want to replace sugar then there are alternatives!
Personally, I haven’t found a replacement that I like so I decided to cut sugar all together. You have to be particular as to what you put into your body, so I have conditioned myself over the years to avoid foods that I know is unhealthy & then just eliminate them as a rule. I sometimes use stevia though as it is listed as one of the healthiest alternatives, but you can also choose from the following alternatives; Xylitol, Erythritol, Yacon syrup.
It was really an eye-opener for me and I believe that by learning more about the negative effects of sugar you will be able to avoid becoming a victim. Here’s a challenge for you; I encourage you to do the same exercise as I did because this enables you to confirm if you are actually honest with yourself. Numbers don’t lie!! Cut sugar out your diet.
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All the best