Life in high school was filled with fast food Del Taco, Taco Bell and of course Candy..
I would literally walk around with a bag of chocolate chips during finals week with hand to mouth eat large handfuls of chocolate chips. At break time, I would then proceed to drive thru Del Taco and chow down on two chicken soft tacos and a sugar filled lemonade. This was the norm for me and I have personally come a LONG way in changing my habits but not without goals and dedication to making changes.
I remember a time where I read online how bad sugar was for you so I went on a little protest against sugar and stayed away from the any food that contained the word SUGAR on the label but little did I know there are a few other names for sugar out there and until a few years ago I had NO idea that sucrose and maltodextrin were just another term for “sugar.”
You could be avoiding candy, sodas, and sugary sauces without realizing that foods like soy sauce, bread, ketchup, yoghurt and granola usually have sugar added…this is why you need to READ YOUR LABELS and watch out for these terms in a foods ingredients list:
Other Names for SUGAR:
- hydrolyzed starch
- invert sugar
- corn syrup
- cane sugar
- agave nectar
- sugar beets
- high-fructose corn sweetener
- maple sugar
Common theme here.. -OSE is at the end of most of the synonyms for sugar…
The USDA recommends eating no more than 136 grams or 34 teaspoons of sugar a day which sounds like a lot but when you add it up you easily hit this “recommendation” daily. If you are looking to cut back on body fat and improve your body composition then I suggest cutting this number in half.
Dangers of a Chronic High Sugar Diet:
- Reduces bodies ability to handle carbohydrates, reduces insulin sensitivity and increases insulin response to meals (storage of body fat)
- Excess fat gain in love handle region and upper back area
- Glycation: the binding of a sugar molecule without the controlling action of an enzyme..basically it decreases biological activity of proteins and can cause altered vision, alzheimer’s and premature aging among other health problems.
What Can You Do?
- Kitchen Clean Out: The hardest part of this whole thing is sugar is addicting and the withdrawal process can cause headaches and crankiness causing you to reach for the nearest sugar source possible. Cutting out certain foods and not replacing those foods with better choices will make this process even more difficult.Go through your kitchen and read the labels of any boxed, canned or bottled food and drink. Refer to the list above and check that there is no more than 5 g of sugar per 100 grams of food or drink. Check salad dressings, nut milks, ketchup bottles, yoghurts, granola, breads and sauces. Toss or give away to a neighbor or outside source any food or drink that contains added sugars. When you remove these sources from your home life without sugar becomes much easier as there is never a “just one…” moment.
- Shopping Time!: Head straight to the grocery store and stock up on fresh produce, tea bags, lemons and limes. When you have fresh produce all washed and cut up it is easy to reach for peppers with hummus or creating a fresh salad versus not having anything handy and having to pick something from a store that is not so healthy.. I suggest teas to many of my clients as enjoying a tea is refreshing, tasty and with so many varieties you can curb a craving just by sipping tea. I also suggest adding lemons and limes to your water for a refreshing drink if water becomes a bore.
- Chef Sugar Free: Find recipes online to make your own breakfast and snack bars. Make sure these recipes do not have added sugar and discover how natures spices and herbs like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon can make anything taste delicious! Avoid “fake” sugars like aspartame, Erythritol, Sugar alcohol, Polydextrose and Equal Sucralose as these have been known to have caused health problems! Use natures sweeteners such as herbs and spices to give your food a sweet taste or just add fruit to sweeten the deal.
- Freshen Up: Switch out your carbohydrate sources to include more fresh vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squashes, brown/black rice, oatmeal, quinoa and fresh fruits. These sugar cravings can be brought about from not eating the right carbohydrate sources which include vitamins and minerals that are not found in processed foods. I find that many people who take on low carbohydrate diets crave more sweet foods so make sure to have enough carbohydrates from vegetables to make up for the lack of carbs if you choose to take on this type of diet.
- Balanced Meals: Make sure you are eating enough protein, fats and complex carbohydrate sources. Sometimes our bodies crave sugar and sweets because it needs quick energy and without the right amount of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates our bodies do not have the energy it needs to perform actives and keep up with our lifestyle. When your body sends you signals for sweetness think about what you ate that day and drink some water or herbal tea then reach for a healthy snack that contains a protein and complex carbohydrate.
Now that you have made the decision to start losing weight use these tips to jumpstart your success and if you are looking for more direction and nutrition coaching feel free to contact me or check out my awesome testimonials from clients I have worked with in the past!
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