It’s a fact: sugar is addicting. Yet we still continue to consume it in excess amounts?
Frequently, sugar is hidden in a bunch of the foods we eat. Go out to that local Italian spot? Sugar is often added to the marinara sauce to cut the acidity and bring out the natural sweetness of a tomato. Trying to be healthy at lunch and grab a salad? Watch out for those dressings! Even those “good for you” snacks to get you over the midday slump have sugar creeping in: granola bars, yogurt, and yes, even peanut butter! It’s no wonder our bodies are hooked, we’re constantly feeding the addiction!
As obesity continues to rise throughout the world, added sugar is believed to be one of the main culprits. Not only is sugar a highly caloric additive, it also messes with the body’s leptin and ghrelin levels, the primary hormones involved with regulating appetite. Leptin is the body’s natural phenomenon that decreases your feeling of hunger, where ghrelin increases our bodies’ desire to eat. Excessive consumption of sugar, whether it be fructose, sucrose and glucose has been found to cause a resistance to leptin over time. In other words, you’re turning off the body’s production of the hormone that makes you feel full and stop eating. With “less” leptin in your body, you are at a higher risk of weight gain which can cause visceral fat accumulation.
Are you scared yet? We hope not, there’s always a solution! Just like anything, sugar is best in moderation. Quitting sugar isn’t all that easy, especially if you’ve had a sweet tooth your entire life. There may be side effects including mood swings, restlessness, and depression which is why we always suggest consulting with your doctor before you quit anything cold-turkey. Pay more attention to what you’re putting into your body because it will help you in the long-run. We recommend slowly introducing some of these simple swaps into your eating habits:
• Forget the sodas(yes, even diet!), sweet teas and juicesand opt for water, unsweetened tea or seltzer water instead. If you need a little bit of flavor added to your beverages, add a fresh slice of fruit like lemons, limes, oranges and even cucumbers to make it taste like “spa water!”
• Try to cut the sugar and sweeteners from your coffee and tea in the mornings. This will take some time to allow your body to adjust to the bitterness, if this is too difficult for you and you still need the sweetener, limit yourself to one cup of coffee/tea per day.
• Trail mixes with nuts and nut butters are an incredibly nutritious snack, especially for runners! Try to find trail mixes with no candy or dried fruits (if you need the sweets, add some dark chocolate chips)and choose all-natural nut butters with no added sugar.
• Avoid flavored and sweetened yogurts and purchase plain. Yogurt is a superfood, packed with protein, rich with vitamins and nutrients (especially Vitamin B) and often contain probiotics to aid digestion. Sweeten your yogurt naturally by adding fresh fruit. We love berries (loaded with fiber)!
• Limit your alcohol consumption. We know, it’s tough. But if you are going to drink, avoid the soda/juice mixers!
• Replace sugar in your recipes with spices!Cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, even the *so hot right now & trendy,* turmeric
• Get sleep. We snack and eat more whenever we’re tired. And what snack do you tend to reach for? Probably something high in carbs. Get those 8 hours of sleep – your body will thank us and will be less tempted to eat to keep you awake!
• Eat Fresh!Try to get 75% of your groceries by shopping the perimeter of the store.
What changes are you going to make to Enhance your well-being®?