You may not think that you eat a lot of sweets, but sugar is lurking in all kinds of unusual places. Check out the ingredient and nutrition labels of your yogurt, salad dressings, nut butters, tomato sauce, condiments and especially soft drinks--sugar is hidden in so many of our foods!
Why is that so bad? According to the American Heart Association, the daily intake of sugar should not exceed 3 teaspoons (12 grams) for kids, 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women, and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Given there are approximately 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of sugar in a regular soda, it's easy to see how the amount of sugar we consume can get out of hand.
Five Reasons to Kick the Sugar Habit :
1. Sugar contains no nutrients. It contains empty calories and is bad for your teeth.
2. Sugar can overload the liver causing it to turn the sugar components into fat.
3. It can cause insulin resistance, thought to be a leading driver in causing many diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
4. Sugar is cancer’s best friend. According to BeatCancer.org cancer feeds on sugar. It creates an acidic environment that cancer feeds on.
5. Sugar is a major contributor to obesity. Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association, especially for children.
5 Things You Can Do
1. Read labels. Sugar is hiding in unexpected places If you see it toward the top of the list of ingredients, that is a red flag.
2. Learn sugar’s sneaky names. Generally, look for any word ending in -ose (fructose, dextrose, maltose.) Other common sugars: brown rice syrup, cane syrup, cane juice, corn sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup), molasses, and honey.
3. Buy unsweetened. Makes sense, right? There are many unsweetened versions of some of your favorite foods: almond and coconut milk, applesauce, oatmeal, nut butters, packaged fruits, etc.
4. Drink water, milk, unsweetened tea and coffee instead of sugary sodas or sports drinks.
5. Cook from scratch and eat whole foods—foods in their most natural form. Then you control the type and amount of sugar that is in your food.
Instead of using refined white sugar (which is often derived from GMO sugar beets, rather than cane sugar)-- opt for honey or maple syrup. These are natural sweeteners that have not been highly processed and provide trace amounts of nutrients.
Most importantly: Read labels and become increasingly aware of how much sugar you are eating. In the best of all worlds, you cook mostly from scratch at home where you control the ingredients in all of the foods you eat! That's what the Rockford Real Food Revolution is all about!