When I was deep into my corporate world and before I gave up gluten to heal my gut, I pretty much lived off of pastries and coffee for breakfast and nearly always ended up with a sweet snack mid afternoon. I even had dessert after dinner most days. Add all of this to a diet high in simple carbs and it created a disaster.
I really had no idea how much sugar I actually ate in a day or what I was putting my body through. The constant blood glucose spikes which cause serious inflammation, increased aging, decreased brain health and early death.
In this video, I share with you what sugar does to your body, how much is too much, how to find it in an ingredients list and some tips to help you back off of your sugar addiction.
What does sugar do to us when we over do it?
- Increased weight gain
- Food cravings
- Blood sugar instability
- Mood swings
- Fungal and bad bacterial overgrowth
- reduced skin elasticity
- Accelerates cellular oxidation (increases aging rate)
- Impairs short term memory
- Uric level spikes (increasing gout)
- Increase chance of kidney disease
- Increases cortisol
- Shuts down digestion
- Lowers sex hormones
- Increases destruction of the thyroid gland
- Sluggish liver
Doesn’t sound so hot, right? But what is “too much sugar”?
According to the Diabetes Council, the average person in the US eats 126 grams of sugar a day. That’s more than a person eats on average in any other country!
According to the American Heart Association, women should have no more than 25 grams of sugar per day, men 38 grams and children cap at 12-25 grams depending on age.
What would this look like in real life then? We’re talking about less than one serving of Yoplait blueberry yogurt (27grams of sugar) and that’s it.
Sugar consumption has been increasing pretty steadily and we’re essentially at a level that’s toxic to our body.
In 1820, the average person ate 8 lbs of sugar per year. In 2005 it was over 100 pounds of sugar/person/year. Just because sugar became more widely available and cheaper doesn’t mean it’s good for us!
To be absolutely clear there is no dietary requirement to consume added sugar. None at all. Yes we need carbs for energy but we don’t need added sugar.
Sugar comes in many forms and names
It’s not always obvious where sugar hides in food labels. I’m not talking about the front of the packaging, which can be really misleading. I’m referring to the ingredients list on the back just under the nutritional label. Here are some common names for sugars.
- Added sugar (anything with the words sugar, nectar or syrup added)
- High fructose corn syrup
So what are some steps that you can take to reduce sugar consumption?
- Read Labels – What I like to do with clients is a pantry clean out. Check for anything with added sugar. Do this for your fridge as well. Whatever has added sugar consider getting rid of it or marking it with a big S so you know not to replace it when it runs out. The thing is you might have things that aren’t “sweet” but are loaded with sugar. So easy to replace these with non-sugar options.
- Track It – If your goal is to stay below 25 grams of added sugar, using a free app like My Fitness Pal is a great option.
- Eat Fats – When you’re weaning off of sugar, be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats and fiber to feel satiated and help you balance blood sugar levels.
- Sweat – Be sure to exercise (enough that you sweat) to help your body detox from sugar you have eaten.
- Hydrate – Drink plenty of water to help flush out your body.
- Self-Care – If you’re having some serious sugar detox symptoms then this will be the time for a massage, trip to the sauna or some gentle yoga.