Throughout history, sugary treats have been the staple food of happiness in America. Could it be that it is now the root of our misery? Since 1950, America’s sugar consumption has increased by 39%. American’s on average consumed 52 teaspoons of added sugars a day in 2000. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption is 40 grams or 10 teaspoons per day. That means a person would consume 52 teaspoons of added sugars a day! Some added sugars are: sucrose, corn sweeteners, honey, maple syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.
How is Sugar Harmful?Studies have identified various ways in which sugar negatively effects our bodies.
Negative effects are:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Aging of the body or wrinkles in the skin
- Increased risk of cancer
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of obesity and weight gain
- Increased risk of pancreatic cancer
What you can do about your health:It is important to know your baseline of ‘free’ sugar intake. To do this, keep a sugar log for seven days to find your daily average sugar intake. If you are over the recommended sugar consumption, make it a goal to reduce your intake to 40 grams or 10 teaspoons.
Here are some helpful tips to help you overcome your sugar cravings:
- Clean out your cupboards of tempting snacks and treats.
· Eat 4-6 cups of colorful vegetables daily.
· Drink 8 cups (64oz) of water throughout the day.
· Exercise at least 2-3 hours per week.
· Practice stress relieving exercises such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing 4-5 times per week.
· Develop a healthy sleep schedule (7-8 hours per night).
· Surround yourself with people that support your sugar reduced lifestyle.
Don’t put yourself down if you struggle. This is a change in lifestyle that will take time. After a few weeks you will surely feel healthier and happier. With perseverance, you won’t even miss having sugar!