a word on sugar

photo 2I think it’s no surprise to anyone that sugar can have ill effects on the body. We all know that, but we eat it any way. I fall victim to it too – although less now than I used to because of my dietary restrictions. I love candy (especially dark chocolate and gummies) and can’t resist a great bowl of ice cream. It’s no wonder that we as Americans are addicted to sugar when you start reading the labels on your foods – nearly everything has some form of sugar added to it – whether it be high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, dextrose or plain old fashioned sugar. The more sugar we eat, the more we get used to the higher levels of sugar and the more we want. It’s a vicious cycle.

In addition to being addictive, sugar messes with the healthy environment of our guts. It alters the (already delicate) balance of good and bad bacteria. Sugar also promotes¬†inflammation in the body. You’ll remember I went through Whole30 to get rid of the inflammation in my body (and I talked about systemic inflammation here).

And we all know that sugar makes you fat. 3,500 calories equal a pound of fat. The average american drinks 38.6 POUNDS of added sugar from sugary drinks in a year. A Starbucks frappe has 500+ calories – and if you have three a week for the next year without changing anything else, you’ll gain 25 pounds.

I know what you’re thinking — I’ll eat an artificial sugar instead and save the calories. No, please don’t! Artificial sugars are even worse than table sugar because they are literally poison. When you eat or drink aspartame or other artificial sugars your body can’t digest them, so it stores them in your organs like your liver. So your organs are¬†storing the toxins (poison) from the artificial sugar, causing a whole host of problems. Drinking sugary drinks (especially diet drinks) can cause depression. Diet drinks can make you GAIN weight. Drinking two or more diet drinks in the day can lead to an increase of kidney function decline in women. Please kick the diet soda (and artificial sugar) habit…it’s doing way more harm than good. Prevention Magazine has a nice little graphic about what artificial sugar will do to you from your head to your toes. I know it’s hard, but I guarantee it will make you feel better – I know this from experience as a former diet drinker and also from friends & family who have told me their experiences after cutting out the artificial sugar. It Starts With Food lists conditions attributed to artificial sugar use like inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, kidney disorders, autoimmune conditions, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neurotoxicity.

If you want some more info on sugar – here are 25 things about sugar that just might make you think twice before having that extra cookie. How about maple syrup or honey? The bottom line is that sugar is sugar. From It Starts With Food, “There are some metabolic differences between specific forms of sugar, but they all have one thing in common: a sweet taste that promotes overconsumption, and no significant nutritive value. Empty calories.” {I do personally believe that honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar are better choices than refined or artificial sugars if you’re going to have them}

After all of this I see sugar in a different light. I am more conscious of my decisions and definitely am reading the labels more now (I was so sad to see my beloved Blue Bell ice cream had high fructose corn syrup…sad day!). I’m not saying don’t ever have sugar again, because I still do. What I am saying is be conscious of how much you’re putting into your body. If you want to have a slice of pie that your grandma made – enjoy it and cherish the memory that you’re making. If you want a root-beer float on a hot day with your kiddos, celebrate the end of summer with them in that way. I’m not a robot. You’re not a robot. My friend always reminds me, progress not perfection. Just remember that the less unhealthy foods you have, the less unhealthy you will be. Find that good balance of treat vs. real food.

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