Sugar is everywhere. It’s not only in obvious places like our pastries and desserts, but it is also in our coffee, cereal, soup, even in salad dressings! And I’m talking about significant amounts of hidden sugar. Guess why food companies add so much sugar to foods? So they will taste really good and make you want more of course! It looks like it is working. And our health has never been so bad.
Most of us get much more sugar in our diets than we realize. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, much of which is hidden in processed foods.
“I eat really well but I can’t give up sugar.” I hear this all of the time from clients. We all know that sugar is not a health food and that it can lead to diabetes and weight gain, but most of us don’t know all of the other ways that it can affect us. And keep in mind, processed flour (even whole wheat flour) has the same effect on the body as sugar so try and get your whole grains from less processed grains like quinoa or brown rice. Here are a few things that you might not know about sugar.
- Sugar is toxic to the liver.
- It causes inflammation in the body which is linked to all major diseases.
- Sugar feeds cancer cells.
- Sugar contributes to belly fat which is the most dangerous place to have excess weight.
- Many experts now believe that it is the sugar, not the fat, that contributes to heart disease.
- Sugar is highly addictive, maybe more so than cocaine! Therefore, it is very easy for people to over consume and not have control of their eating.
- There are no nutrients whatsoever in sugar and it can strip your body of nutrients.
- Sugar can damage your metabolism and weaken your immune system.
So you can see why it is important to kick sugar to the curb and swap it out for healthier alternatives. The cravings will go away. And please don’t think it is wise to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. They affect your health in many negative ways as well.
I’m not about deprivation. Not in the least. I like a sweet treat as much as the next person. There are so many delicious, healthy ways that you can eat a little something sweet without the sugar bomb! I make sure that what I’m eating regularly isn’t going to negatively impact my health. I choose things like a small piece of dark chocolate, a few dates with almond butter, a chocolate smoothie or a dessert that is sweetened with a small amount of a healthier natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
Once you start switching to healthy sweeteners and naturally sweet foods like fruit, you’ll notice that you have fewer and fewer cravings for sugar. You’ll also find that you’re tasting the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds really do change. Suddenly, the sweet foods that you used to enjoy start tasting too sweet.
Getting off of sugar will help you to ditch the afternoon energy crash, stabilize your blood sugar and create a more alkaline environment that your body will thrive in.
Try this chocolate smoothie when you crave something sweet. Or, make it for your kids after school and they will be so pumped!!
Chocolate Smoothie (makes 1 serving)
1 small frozen banana
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional but gives the smoothie more thickness and protein)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds or hemp seeds (optional)
Blend well and add a little more almond milk or water if needed for desired consistency.