Wooo! It’s been a week of healthy living! I hope you’re feeling fabulous.
Sweet, delicious sugar. Can you give it up?
Let me be specific: the stuff that is NOT naturally in fruit and some vegetables. I mean white granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave nectar; and all the prepared foods that include those things in their ingredients…
The obvious: cookies, cake, ice cream, “kid-friendly” cereal, candy, soda… And the not-so-obvious: whole wheat breads, frozen-prepared vegetable dishes, sauces, salad dressings, condiments, croutons…
Why should we avoid sugar? Sugar does not contain vitamins, minerals, protein or fat. Sugar contains only carbohydrates, which only give us energy. When we don’t use that energy, our body stores it for later use in the form of fat. This can then lead to weight gain. Sugar is inflammatory. Excess fat mass is inflammatory. Inflammation disrupts normal bodily functions that may lead to chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline – just to name a few. Excess sugar intake can also lead to dental cavities.
It is a challenge to give up sugar completely. It is present in many foods. In some cases that’s okay! Sugar does help with making certain foods taste better, just as salt does. You don’t need to avoid it entirely for the rest of your life. Your task is to avoid the big-ticket foods that contain plenty of it. And rather than scouring through ingredient labels, keep this message in mind: stick with foods that are closest to nature as often as possible. For example: orange juice versus an orange. You can pick an orange right off the tree and eat it! But to get a glass of juice, you may have to squeeze two oranges, and then throw away the fruit’s flesh that contains fiber, and phytonutrients.
And a quick note on artificial sweeteners. I don’t support them. And even if some day it is proven they are totally safe for us to consume, I still don’t support them. Here’s why: they fuel your desire for sweetness! You should be encouraging your taste buds to appreciate less sweet flavors, otherwise it will never be easy to kick the habit. And besides…artificial sweeteners are nowhere near close to nature.
See you tomorrow!