Sugar: It’s not that sweet for your body

We live in an all or nothing society, and moderation is not our strong suit. The country’s consumption of sugar is an excellent example. The average American consumes 22 tablespoons of sugar per day – more than seven times the suggested daily value. Those 22 tablespoons of sugar equate to an added 355 calories per day. That’s almost 130,000 calories per year in sugar!

Researchers suggest that sugar make up only 10 percent of your daily caloric intake, which equals about 3.3 tablespoons, or 50 grams, for a 2,000 calorie diet. Sugar is in everything, so how can you cut it out of your diet? Well, before you decide to nix sugar completely, keep in mind that some sugar is good for your body. It’s the added sugars that aren’t so sweet to your figure. Contrary to popular belief, sugar, on its own, cannot make you fat or cause diabetes. More than likely, the health problems are from inactivity and a high-fat diet.

It’s OK to trim, just don’t eliminate it. Try using some of these tips to slim your sugar intake:

Skip the sodas. Soda, almost by definition, is filled with sugar. It’s what gives them their delectably sweet taste. But those cans that are so easy to grab, end up costing you about 44 grams of sugar per serving. That’s almost all of the recommended daily value of sugar. Instead of reaching for a soda, grab some water and save yourself a sugar high.

Make your own. Natural sugar found in fruit is not bad for you. Studies have shown that Americans consume too much in added sugars – similar to the kind found in most processed foods. The easiest solution to the added-sugar problem would be to make your own versions of processed food favorites. For example, stop buying boxed granola and toast your own in the oven. Or ditch the canned pasta sauce and start your stove simmering something delicious!

Say goodbye to cereal. Processed cereal, although incredibly yummy, is brimming with added sugars. It’s part of the reason we love cereal so much. There is a much healthier option, though. Instead of pulling that beloved cereal out of the cabinet, trade your sugary morning meal for a hardboiled egg or steel cut oats – sans the sugar, of course.

Switch to whole grains. Products made with whole grains are not refined, meaning that it produces less glucose, or sugar, when digested. Whole grains digest more slowly than refined grains. The switch is simple, as most whole grain items – especially breads – look similar to their white-wheat counterparts. For the most part, your taste buds will never even know you made the switch.

Grab some fruit. Rather than reaching for the candy jar, go for the fruit bowl. Fruit is filled with natural sugars that are easier for your body to digest and will stave off your sugar craving. Most fruits, such as apples, are low on the glycemic index, which means that they convert to sugar, or glucose, at a much slower rate.

Avoid juice. Juice typically has a significant amount of added sugar. If you’re going to drink your calories, make sure you choose a juice that has no sugar added. If you love your fruit and vegetable juice and just can’t live without it, try juicing. You can combine the fruits and vegetables that you like and develop your own juice creations.

Try incorporating some of these tips into your diet. You may find that by cutting refined sugar and opting for natural sugar that you feel better and have more energy.

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