Our society has a thing for sugar. Often foods labeled low fat have added sugar to make them taste better. Instead of fruit, we eat fruit snacks or drink fruit juice. Even our “health foods” are often processed and full of added sugar. Check the label on your favorite iced tea, coffee drink (frappuccinos, we are looking at you!), fruit juice, or of course, soda, and you are most likely looking at over 40 grams a sugar–which you will consume in the matter of a half hour or so! That can be a shock to your body. For non-diabetics, health professionals only recommend women consume about 30 grams of added sugar, and men about 45 grams. Added sugar is sugar that doesn’t naturally occur in the foods your eat, such as fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain sugars. Drinking one sugary beverage could put you over your limit–for your whole day!
We know sugar isn’t good for your teeth. You are probably aware that sugar can equal a thicker waistline in the long run. However, sugar can be harmful to your body for other reasons too. Ingesting too much sugar can cause headaches, attention issues, fatigue, and moodiness. Depending on your dietary habits, you may experience an “afternoon slump” because of the sugar you consume in the morning or at lunch. For some people, sugar can cause breakouts or other skin issues. Your body can also become addicted to sugar, which causes you to crave sugary junk foods instead of the foods your body really needs. If you are really interested in the effects sugar can have on your body, check out this link here (warning: it may seriously affect the way you look at sugar!).
We aren’t suggesting that you cut added sugar entirely out of your diet. A great step in taking a healthy look at your sugar intake would be to make a food journal for a day or two. Write down everything you eat or drink, then calculate how much sugar you are consuming. Compare this to the recommended amount of sugar for you. If you are a diabetic, please consult your doctor regarding your sugar intake. Find foods and drinks that may have a high sugar content that maybe you are not realizing, and take steps to replace them or make them a special treat rather than something you have every day.