This ingredient is added into many processed foods, pasteries, beverages, desserts and disguised by many other names.
Can you guess what ingredient I'm talking about?
When you stop and think about it, sugar is LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.
When we get together for birthdays, we celebrate with cake, ice cream, sugary drinks, candy and other treats. When we celebrate with friends, we indulge in champagne or mixed drinks, wine and/or processed foods.
You're probably thinking, but those occasions don't happen very often so it's okay to indulge once in a while.
Yes, those are special circumstances, but did you know that more than two thirds of Americans consume ten percent of their daily calories through sugar…and ten percent of them consume a staggering 25 percent of their calories in sugar! YIKES!
The recommended daily intake of sugar is no more than five percent of your diet, or about six teaspoons of the sweet stuff per day, per the World Health Organization.
Has it always been like this?
HOW WE GOT OUR SWEET TOOTH
300 years ago many people didn’t even know that sugar existed! It only became a global commodity about 250 years ago when trading on the seas was booming.
That’s right – sugar is relatively NEW to the human diet.
Sugar, alcohol, tobacco and opium became (for the first time ever) profitable global commodities.
Our lives and our bodies have changed significantly in the past 300 years, and for the latter; they haven’t improved much.
What doesn’t kill us via famine or plague now kills us more slowly via coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancers.
SUGAR IS PERMEATING OUR DIETS
What was once a guilty pleasure is now a part of our morning beverage ritual, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and after-dinner night cap.
Ask yourself: have you ever gone a single day in your life without sugar?
It’s likely that you have not.
That’s because sugar takes many forms and it isn’t just something reserved for cookies, cakes and sweets.
In the U.S. it is the most popular addition to foods across the board. And MOST processed foods have it.
It’s disguised on many food labels under these nicknames: sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, maltose, glucose, fructose, corn sweetener, honey, corn syrup, sucrose, sorghum syrup, sorbitol, brown sugar, lactose, molasses, syrup, fruit juice concentrate, etc. Check out all the ways food manufacturers are deceiving us by placing these different names for sugar on our nutrition labels.
Food manufacturers often list different types of added sugars as the seventh, eighth and ninth items on an ingredient list to fool you into thinking there's not a significant amount of added sweeteners. When you add it up, it's No. 1. Pretty sneaky—and pretty scary.
ALL of the above are empty calories and should be avoided!
Too much sugar can lead to this.....
WHY SUGAR MAKES YOU GAIN WEIGHT
How bad can sugar be?
Well consider this: one measly teaspoon of white sugar has 15 calories, a teaspoon of corn syrup has 20 calories and the average can of soda has 11 TEASPOONS of sugar… translating to between 165 and 220 calories just from sugar. YUCK!
A couple hundred years ago when sugar started to creep into the American diet, people only ate about 2 lbs per year. Today the average American eats over 150 pounds of sugar per year.
That’s 3 POUNDS of sugar per WEEK! The average American even consumes more than 40 teaspoons DAILY of sugar.
Imagine setting 40 teaspoons of anything in front of you. It’s overwhelming… and indeed it’s a scary thought!
According to the Rodale News, too much sugar also interferes with your body’s ability to feel “full” when eating.
This causes you to eat much more than you otherwise would.
Extra sugar is stored as fat in the body, so the connection is obvious. The more sugar you eat, the more you eat, period, and the more of those empty calories you consume, the more fat you store on your body.
YOUR BRAIN ON SUGAR
When you consume sugar; taste receptors signal different areas of the brain, one being the cerebral cortex. Your brain rewards you for it and tells you to have more sugar.
In fact, sugar has the same effect on your brain’s pleasure centers as certain recreational drugs like opiates do. That’s why people want more and more of these things and become addicted.
In laboratory studies, scientists manage to make rats so addicted to sugar that they (the rats, not the researchers) got the shakes and started to freak out (whatever that looks like for a rat) when the sugar was taken out of their diet.
And yes, your brain’s reaction to sugar does lead to sugar addiction.
Much like when you stop drinking sugared-up coffee in the mornings, you will feel headaches and other body problems when you take this stuff out of your body and out of your daily consumption.
This is because your body longs for the drug and this is the cycle of addiction that keeps many people on sugar long after they know it is bad for them.
It takes your body several days to adjust to lower amounts of sugar in your diet.
Once you do, though, you’ll find high levels of sugar distasteful, which will help keep you on the right track.
EXCESS SUGAR CAN CAUSE HEART ATTACKS
Studies show that high sugar levels help prompt your liver to produce more bad cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart attack.
A study in the JAMA Internal Medicine of 40,000 people found that those with the highest sugar intakes increased their risk of heart attacks by a whopping 400%!
When you sit down and think about it, eating most baked goods or processed cookies and cakes are WORSE than eating a candy bar! Look at the sugar content in grams and the calorie count the next time you are contemplating that toaster pastry or blueberry muffin at the store. You'll be surprised at what is hiding in that ingredient list!
We are inundated with sugar-bomb snacks containing hundreds of empty calories every single day.
These days, it is so difficult to completely stay away from sugar unless you grow your own food, eat only whole foods and never eat anywhere other than your home.
HOW TO CUT DOWN ON YOUR SUGAR CONSUMPTION...NATURALLY
By now, you know that too much sugar is super harmful to your body. It is now harder than ever to avoid sugar completely, but there are ways you can cut down your daily consumption.
1. READ FOOD LABELS - The ingredients list is sure to tell you whether or not a certain food has any hidden sugar. Keep that list of nicknames with you until you get the hang of recognizing the tricky way food manufactures disguise the ingredients. This one step will help cut out a majority of your added sugar each day.
2. DON'T DRINK YOUR CALORIES - Simply cutting out anything other than water and tea is sure to significantly cut down on your sugar intake each day. Diet sodas, clear sodas, fruit juices, sports drinks, fancy calorie and sugar-laden coffee drinks, lemonades and powder drink mixes are all HUGE culprits in added sugar. Avoid these, if at all possible! If you need some flavor in your life, add in some fresh lemon, orange or grapefruit slices, cucumbers, organic berries, honey or cinnamon to your water or tea for a burst of flavor!
3. ELIMINATE 1 SUGARY FOOD AT A TIME - If you are seriously wanting to eliminate sugar completely, it's not a great idea to cut out everything at once. Your body has become addicted to sugar and will go through withdrawl symptoms if cut-off completely. This will cause your body to crave sugar like crazy and it will be almost impossible to achieve your goal. Eliminating one sugary food or beverage at a time is the smart way to detox your body slowly. If you like to drink soda multiple times a day, simply cut the number of times you drink it by half. Once your body is used to that, cut it by half again, and keep repeating until you are no longer consuming that food/beverage. Once you have eliminated one unhealthy food/beverage, move on to the next one. This will take time, but it is more likely you will not crave sugar if you cut it out the proper way.
4. EAT MOST MEALS AT HOME - Cooking your own food with ingredients that you have carefully purchased is one MAJOR way to avoid any added sugars and unhealthy additives. Last week, we gave you 4 super nutritious recipes for smoothies to make at home with your WuLong - this is FAR better than purchasing a so-called healthy, sugar-laden smoothie at the drive-thru on your way to work. When you prepare your meals and snacks at home, you can have peace of mind knowing exactly what is going into them and you'll most likely lose a few pounds in the meantime!
5. ELIMINATE SUGAR CRAVINGS NATURALLY - Drinking WuLong tea naturally curbs any cravings, especially the cravings for the birthday cake your coworkers brought in for someone's birthday, or the doughnuts your boss brought in for the staff to enjoy. When you drink WuLong tea, your body regulates insulin spikes resulting in fewer hunger pangs and unhealthy food cravings. This natural tea is absolutely essential when trying to get healthy and live a longer life. Just read about how it has seriously changed my life here.
I don't know about you, but around 3 PM, I usually start to get pretty tired and I start to crave some sweet and salty snack foods. It's at this time that I brew myself a cup of WuLong Tea, perk up, and ditch those unhealthy cravings. It satifies me until dinner and gives me that extra push that I need to finish my day.
These days, it is crucial that you take your health into your own hands. Do your research. Find a few food companies/farmers you can trust and only purchase food that will help you - not hurt you.
I always think about it as preventative care. We go to the dentist twice a year for teeth cleanings and to the doctor for annual physicals to prevent any serious problems - why don't we take that same proactive approach to what we put inside our bodies.
The other day I stumbled upon this and it really got me thinking....
That saying, "You are what you eat" is SO true!
Eat Clean. Eat Natural. Drink Oolong. It's as simple as that!
How do you cut down on sugar on a daily basis?
Cheers to you!
Yours in Health & Happiness,