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Sugar

Sugar

As my clients know, I often go on about the need to reduce our daily sugar intake. I’ll try to limit my rant on the topic but there are some important facts that should be incorporated in your daily routine to help improve our overall health. Be sure to stay tuned for upcoming seminars, as I will go into more detail on the effects of sugar on our bodies.

  1. According to the American Heart Association, Adults should only consume approximately 25g of sugar a day. That’s 6 teaspoons a day. When you look at the amount of sugar in one 12 oz can of coke, it has 39g of sugar (equivalent to 11 teaspoons of sugar). Children should only consume 12-25g of sugar. The average American is consuming around 19.5 teaspoons a day! These extra grams of sugar are stored as body fat, and correlate to back fat and those love handles.
  2. Sugar is an addiction. “Using brain scanning technology, scientists have learned that your brain responds to sugar in the same manner as it would to using a hard drug like cocaine”. Sugar causes your dopamine levels to spike, leaving you with the same urge and desire as if you were using a drug and “chasing a high”. Eating sugar often creates a vicious cycle that makes you crave more sugar. Break the addiction by choosing foods that are low in sugar. Switch to lots of green vegetables as a snack, like edamame or some delicious kale chips.
  3. Check your food labels. Sugar may not be listed as the number one ingredient in your processed foods, but when you take the time to look at all of the variations of sugar that are listed in the ingredients, it may surprise you when totaled it is the number one ingredient. Be aware of hidden names, such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, rice syrup, and the other fifty-something variations. Even if a label claims to be sugar-free, it can still have some sugars added in. The nutrition labels in the United States do not have to have sugar listed on them if there is less than one gram per serving size. An example is Diet Arizona Green Tea. It has honey added to it but the label claims 0g of sugar. If you drink a gallon of it, you’d actually be taking in approximately 20 g of sugar.
  4. “Healthy Foods” can still be sugar-laden. Items like pasta sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, even yogurt have added sugar. Companies started pushing fat-free items while using sugars as a preservative and fillers to cover the lost flavor from the missing fats. Be aware of this when making your food selections. Be sure to take the time to read those nutrition labels.
  5. Fruit Juice is no better than a can of soda! Yes, you read that right! One glass of juice can be equivalent to your total recommended daily value. One 8 oz cup of Tropicana Orange juice yields 22 g of sugar. Without the dietary fiber from eating an orange rather than drinking it, you’re putting a strain on your liver. These high levels of fructose have been linked to cholesterol changes, metabolic disorders, as well as cardiovascular ailments. The argument that using orange juice for vitamin C is also not as accurate as we would hope. One serving of orange juice provides approximately 75-90 mg of vitamin C, whereas 1 cup of broccoli has 100 mg, red peppers have about 190 mg in 1 cup, and kale has about 80 mg in 1 cup.

Contrary to popular belief fat does not make you fat, sugar makes you fat. It is linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as negative effects on cognition and brain function. To read more about the topic, check out these websites:
www.sugarscience.org
http://modernhealthmonk.com/orange-juice-is-killing-you/
http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-on-your-body

As always, if you have any questions or want more info, come see me at the gym.
-Rachael

“A little progress each day adds up to big results!”

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