April 25, 2023
Let’s talk about reducing sugar in your everyday life…. by starting with a question, if you line up 6tsp of sugar on a table, how gross would that look to you?
A recent study showed that Americans eat, ON AVERAGE, 23 tsp per day of sugar.
Now think about that lineup on a table.
Sugar isn’t all bad… but there are ways to cut that number down… and reasons we should.
What Kind of Sugar Are We Talking About?
When we talk about sugar, I will be the first to tell you I’m not here to demonize natural sugars… such as sugars found in fruits and vegetables. As I heard on The Key Nutrition Podcast this week, no one gets fat eating a pineapple.
In this case, we are talking about processed sugars.
Sugars are found in bread, cookies, candy, crackers, etc.
If the food comes from a factor, it most likely has some form of sugar or sugar substitute in it.
Sugar and Our Brain
Your diet isn’t going to fail if you eat a minimal amount of sugar, but the reason that sugar can be such an issue for someone trying to lose weight or get their health under control is that sugar is addicting.
It tells our brain that life is good for about 30 minutes, and then we have that sugar crash.
This sends us looking for more.
Think about it.
When you buy a box of cookies at the store, can you only eat one?
Or a box of cereal, do you only eat one cup of it?
This begins a cycle of constantly wanting to add more sugar.
The Effects of Sugar on The Body
Let’s talk for a minute about sugar and hormones. If you are a female, you are probably all too familiar with the ups and downs that come with hormones.
Did you know that too much extra sugar can affect things even more? For example, let’s just look at sugar and PMS symptoms.
Bringing in excess sugar causes inflammation in your body. In turn, inflammation can cause hormone imbalance.
Therefore, when craving sweets, you add fuel to the fire with your PMS symptoms.
With hormone imbalance can come inflammation… too much sugar can cause other reactions in your body… do you ever notice more breakouts on your face a few days after enjoying too many sweets?
Our bodies can take a bit to process sugars and may show up as inflammation on our skin in the form of acne, rashes, or bloating.
When you are feeling crummy (i.e., PMS, bloating, acne, etc.), what are you likely to do? Reach for something that gives you a dopamine hit, right? Those sweets.
Excess sugar (that 23 tsp, for example) can also cause the liver to freak out because it can’t handle the amount being sent that way.
Our body doesn’t need any excess sugar for more energy, so it will turn into fat to store. This is where the obesity problem begins. If consistently overeating sugar continues, our body continues to store more and more fat.
Hence why overeating sugar could be the reason your diet isn’t working.
How To Start Reducing Sugar
Okay, I’m not here to scare you; I’m here to help.
We do need certain sugars to help give us energy. That’s why you will never hear me talk about a low-carb diet. However, it comes down to making the right decision on the sugars you are taking in.
When it comes to reducing sugar, there are a lot of places to start.
I am pro-food journaling and will forever encourage people to research their bodies first. This means keeping a log.
Spend 3-4 days tracking how much sugar you’re eating and where the bulk of it comes from. Not calories, not fat, not carbs, just sugar.
Common culprits besides the obvious sweets:
- Plain white bread (and other bread… sugar is added to sweeten it)
- Condiments (sauces, ketchup, dressings, etc.))
- Snack foods (pretzels, cereals, some chips, etc.)
Should you drop them all at once?
No. That’s not sustainable… and that’s coming from a nutrition coach.
Start making small changes over time.
Over time your goal should be to start replacing processed foods with whole food sources such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.
You will not only notice a difference in your weight but your energy, brain fog, hormones, and skin.
So… have you added up how much sugar you’ve had today?
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Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.