Sugar is like glitter. The delicious gift that keeps on giving, right? It’s EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING! At first you love it, then you just want it to go away, but it won't!
What is sugar anyways? Sugar comes in many forms with many different names. Wikipedia defines sugar as a sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrate, many of which are used in food. Simple sugars, also known as monosaccharides include three types of simple sugars known as: glucose (also known as dextrose) fructose, and galactose. Granulated or “table” sugar refers to sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. This is what is used in our foods and beverages.
Fructose or fruit sugar is a simple sugar found in many plants that, when digested, is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Fructose is found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries and most root vegetables. The last of the trio, galactose is almost as sweet as glucose and about 30% as sweet as fructose. You can find galactose in dairy products, avocados, & sugar beets.
However, there is another criticized form of sugar, an added sugar, commonly known as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS); a sweetener synthesized from corn starch. There are two forms of HFCS: one is 42% fructose and the other has 55% fructose, glucose, and water as the other primary component. Food manufactures prefer HFCS over regular sugar as it is cheaper and easier to use; two perfect reasons why it’s found in so many processed foods.
Added sugars and sugar in general could be the reason for mood swings, feeling sluggish, dehydrated and having a constant need to crave sugar-laden foods? Probably, because oddly enough, these are the symptoms of eating too much sugar!
Here are some other signs you’re eating too much sugar!
You’re hungry all the time.
Are you ravenous come lunch time even though you’ve had two snacks after your Grande Vanilla Latte you drank for breakfast? Yes, the 12 grams of protein from the coffee drink can tide you over for a bit, however, the excessive amounts of sugar displaces other, more nutrient-dense foods. It’s easy to eat more than two donuts in a sitting or a chocolate croissant because those sugar-rich foods are empty calorie/nutrient void food, which is easy to consume a lot and not feel full.
Eating foods rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats will only aid in helping you feel fuller longer and give your body the nutrients it needs!
Are you constantly blowing your nose? Are you a fairly healthy person but for some reason you’re getting every bug your kids bring home?
Sugar can suppress the immune system and can cause you to get sick more often.
Are you sometimes not yourself?
Has anyone ever offered you a Snicker’s bar because you’re acting like a meaner version of yourself? Hunger and low blood sugar will make anyone act that way. That’s because your body wants the sugar it craves much like a smoker craves nicotine.
Amazingly, sugar, which gives a happy, good feeling when eaten, can negatively impact our mood when we over-do it. Additionally, added sugars can cause inflammation in the body, cause your blood sugar to spike and affect your mood.
You’re adding sugar on top of sugar?
Do you ever find yourself in front of the vending machine in the late afternoon (or even mid-morning) debating between a candy bar, a bag of chips or even popping open a can of soda because you’re craving something sweet? If you’re constantly needing something sweet you’re probably addicted to sugar, which means the more you eat the more your body craves.
The American Heart Association states that women should consume no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) daily from added sugars and men should consume no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) daily from added sugars.
You’re a zombie?
Do you wake up tired and unrested? Is your morning coffee (with cream and sugar of course) not helping you pep up? Feeling tired all the time is a common sign of eating too much sugar and added sugars. Yes, sugar will give you that burst of energy you need, but within the hour you’ll be crashing down and turning into a zombie!
Your weight loss has stalled.
Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar but low in fat can actually keep on weight. Products like low fat ranch dressing, fat free cheese and other low fat or fat free products and foods have added sugars unlike their full-fat counterparts. Constantly eating foods with sugars and added sugars can cause weight loss stalls. Choosing a smaller portion of a full-fat food (think oil and cream-based salad dressings, dairy products and condiments) may sometimes be a better choice than a large amount of a fat-free product.
Something to Think About:
Be mindful of artificial sweeteners. There are so many different types and brands with some better for you than others. However, using artificial sweeteners as much as regular sugar can do just as much damage, if not more than sugar alone. There are many side effects that come with artificial sweeteners so do your research before opening a packet or four to dump in your coffee.
Click HERE to learn more about artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes and sugar alcohols. While they are all sugar wannabes, not every artificial sweetener is created equal!
This is when the term Everything in Moderation comes into play! If you’re wanting to cut out sugar from your diet, start slowly! Try honey or maple syrup in a homemade energy bar, drizzle honey over yogurt and fruit, drink unsweet tea instead of sweet tea. Stop drinking soda and sugary drinks and swap with fruit flavored sparkling water. Squeeze the juice from an orange yourself or eat an apple instead of drinking the concentrated kind. Swap our your white bread and pastas with whole grain, fiber rich carbs. Over time your body will adapt, and you will no longer crave the processed carbs and sugary foods. Moderate amounts of added sugar aren’t harmful to your body but start small and cut back slowly!