According to the USDA, Americans eat two times the maximum recommended limit of 40 grams of added sugar each day. So I enjoy a brownie sundae every now and then… what’s the problem? Well, as we all know, sugar can lead to weight gain. But it can also lead to metabolic disorder (a precursor to diabetes) and even to cancer.
If the white stuff is so bad, why do we still eat it? Two main reasons: sugar is stealth and sugar will hook you:
1. Sugar is sneaky.
Sure, you know you’re eating it when you’re chowing down on ice cream or cookies, but what about your sugar free pudding? It’s got 6 grams of sugar. A quarter cup of raisins? 29 grams of sugar. Heck! There’s even 11 grams of sugar in your spaghetti sauce. No need to become obsessed, but take a peek at some of your diet’s staples and see if you can find some less sugary alternatives.
2. Sugar is addictive
Researchers at Princeton University who studied binge eating and dependency in rats found that eating large amounts of sugar can induce changes in the brain similar to people who use illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin. After the rats’ sugar supply was taken away, they showed withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in people who stop smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. Scientists say not everyone is hard wired to be a sugar-holic, just like not everyone has the tendency to become an alcoholic or a drug addict.
So what’s a sugar junkie to do?
-Avoid sugar in the morning. Once you’ve had it, you’ll likely be craving more sweets all day. Start your day off with protein and veggies.
-Look for the code words… maltose, dextrose (glucose), fructose, fruit juice concentrate, corn sweetener, corn syrup, high-fructose, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, malt syrup, and brown rice syrup…they all mean one thing, sugar!
-Fat-free and low-fat don’t=low sugar. Foods that are lower in fat often have higher amounts of sugar to compensate. Read the labels.
Bottom line: Cut down on sugar and keep your health sweet!