Who doesn’t enjoy something sweet? The problem is that we enjoy too many sweets and the more we eat the more we crave sugar. It has become an American addiction and scientists are saying it is just as addictive as heroin. The obesity problem in this country is at a crisis level and is taxing the healthcare system. One Third of Americans will have Diabetes by the year 2050. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “each additional sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by about 60 percent. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 27 percent. It says a typical American now gets 16% of calories from added sugars, and teenagers get 20%.”Clearly, with all the added hidden sugar in processed, packaged, canned food and restaurant food, the average person is eating way more sugar than they should be. The more consumers are educated about the dangers of sugar, the more they will demand that the food industry cut down on how much it puts into products. sugar than they should be. The more consumers are educated about the dangers of sugar, the more they will demand that the food industry cut down on how much it puts into products. Keep in mind that one teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar, so even what you thought was your healthy morning yogurt probably has at least 2 teaspoons of white sugar in it, and that’s just the beginning of your day. Are all sugars created equal? The short answer is no. Refined carbohydrates and simple sugar are what you want to avoid. Think of them as anything processed. When something is refined all the nutrients have been stripped from it. White rice and bread and pasta are an example. These foods very quickly turn into sugar. This causes a fast rise in your blood sugar levels and your pancreas has to produce more insulin. This cycle taxes the pancreas, and since the body works as a team, it becomes problematic for the whole body. Unrefined or complex carbohydrates are in the whole form such as grains like brown rice, vegetables, legumes and low glycemic fruit such as berries. They release glucose slower therefore keeping your energy level steady all day. When a sugar is broken down from vegetables, legumes or whole grains you don’t get the spike in sugar the same way you do from eating sugary snacks, soda or cookies. Here are some quick tips to limit your consumption of sugar:
- Whether it is glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup or artificial sweeteners, all have negative effects on your health if you consume them daily and long-term.
- If you can’t give up sugar completely then limit your treats to once a week and read labels. Try to use xylitol, stevia, blackstrap molasses, honey or maple syrup.
- Eat whole fresh organic local fruit whenever possible to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make sure you eat your fruit instead of drinking it in fruit juices that are loaded with sugar.
- Even when using substitutes, try not to overdo it.
Once you eliminate sugar you can enjoy the real taste of food by retraining your taste buds. You will lose weight and be much healthier. In the wisdom tradition of Ayurveda we believe that when a person craves sweets, it’s really love they are craving, so instead of that piece of candy, give someone a hug!
Yours in health,