Do you have a sweet tooth? Is it difficult to make it through a day without cookies, cakes, and candy? With Halloween – and the two month ‘holiday feast season’ it kicks off – just around the corner, it’s a good time to remind ourselves just how detrimental all this extra sugar can be. Both the World Health Organization and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommend consuming no more than 5-10% of your daily calories from added sugars. For the average 2000 calorie diet, this means no more than 6-12 tsp of added sugars a day. Think this won’t be a problem for you? Added sugars are found in more products that we realize, such as condiments, trail mixes and baked goods.
Need some motivation to kick the sugar habit? Read on.
1. Added Sugars Compromises Oral Health
It’s true what your parents told you and what you may be telling your kids…candy does indeed damage your teeth. The reason why might surprise you though: sugar feeds the growth of bacteria that cause cavities. These same bacteria cause inflammation that can travel throughout the body and increase your risk of chronic disease. Watch out especially for sticky candies and sugary drinks. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the greater the risk of developing cavities.
2. Added Sugars Fuels Inflammation
Foods with a lot of added sugars typically have a high glycemic load, which spikes insulin levels and fuels the fires of inflammation. Chronic inflammation promotes premature aging (yes – wrinkles!!) and increases the risk for almost every major chronic disease we face as a society. If you want to learn more about anti-inflammatory living, get my book, Un-Junk Your Diet.
3. Added Sugars Drop Kick Your Heart
At the current rate of sugar intake (about 13%), those sugars increase your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke by 30%. Click here for the full breakdown on sugar and heart disease.
4. Sugar Keeps You Coming Back for More
You know how you just can’t eat one cookie? Increased sugar consumption leads to learned responses in your brain, governed by dopamine, that resemble the effects of substance addiction.
5. Sugars Don’t Provide your Cells with any Actual Nutrients, Long-term Energy or a Full Belly
If ever there was a truly empty calorie, it would be from added sugars. We need extra calories like we need a hole in the head in our sedentary world. But we are lacking actual nutrients – which sugar has none of. And as soon as the sugar-soaked euphoria fades, you crash hard. Believe me, sweets don’t love you back.
Ready to Break Up With Your Sweetheart?
-Read ingredients labels, looking for sugar’s other names such as high fructose corn syrup, glucose-fructose, fruit juice, and words that end in ‘ose’: sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, etc.
-Limit processed foods – a good way to prevent intake of those sneaky hidden sugars!
- It’s WAY too easy to mindlessly ‘drink sugar’. Instead of sugary coffee drinks, juice, or pop, drink more water or club soda.
-Control how much sugar goes into your food by making your own baked goods or home-cooked meals. You can usually take sugar down by half in recipes without affecting them.
-Choose more fruits, which naturally contain sugars with the added benefit of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, to curb your sweet cravings.
Want to get off sugar quick?