Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about moderation. What is it exactly? How do we gain this type of “self-control”, and why is it necessary?
We always hear people say “everything in moderation won’t hurt you”,but how can we know what moderation actually is since that powdery white substance called sugar is found in virtually everything we eat? Sure, most people are aware that sugar can be found in cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy etc. But did you know that it’s also in certain breads, soups, peanut butters, cereal, ketchup, milk and yes my friends even certain types of yogurt have excess sugar added (the horor!)
I know that you are not going to want to hear this but the reality is that sugar (especially refined sugar and artificial sweeteners added into food by the manufactures) is toxic to the human body. It has been scientifically proven that ingesting too much sugar can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even certain forms of cancer. According to research done by Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California
The average American person consumes roughly 130 pounds of added sugars–which includes sugar and high fructose corn syrup–every year. And while high fructose corn syrup is often vilified more often than sugar, Lustig says that, metabolically, there is no difference.
Will knowing this information stop us from consuming high amounts of sugar? Maybe for some people, but because sugar is highly addictive, it actually changes the way our brains recognizes energy. Sugar intake causes the release of dopamine in the brain, a reward chemical which helps build tolerance to fructose. When you eat sugar on a regular basis, you will continually crave more sugar. This is similar to how a drug addict requires more drugs each time to feel the same “high”.
We need glucose to live. It is what feeds our brain and gives us energy. Every cell in our body functions on glucose. It is necessary. What is not necessary, and is in fact deadly is man made sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and aspartame.
According to the American Heart Association women should only consume 100 calories of added sugar per day (25 grams), and men should only consume 150 calories worth of added sugar per day (38 grams). Just to put it into perspective, 1 can of regular soda contains about 130 calories of added sugar, and half a cup of ice cream contains about 56 calories of added sugar.
Most people probably already know that added sugar is bad. They just don’t know how to lessen the amount that they consume. Realistically, I don’t think it’s possible to completely remove ALL added sugars from our diets (as in every single last grain) unless we turn to a vegan type lifestyle. I know that I wouldn’t be able to do this (hence the yogurt addiction ) I do think that there is no harm in indulging every once in a while, but to continually be aware of the types of foods/sugars/ingredients that we are consuming.
How to Lessen the Amount of Sugar You Consume
- Do Not Drink Soda (Regular or Diet)
- Do Not Add Sugar to Your Food or Beverages
- Read All Labels and be Aware of “Hidden Sugars”
- Eat Fruit When You are Craving Something Sweet
- Substitue Agave or Apple Sauce for Sugar When Baking
Like I said before, eliminating all sugar from your diet would be pretty much impossible.By being aware of how harmful added sugar is can help us to dramatically lessen the amount we consume.
Do you check labels for hidden sugar when you shop?
What are some other ways to lessen the amount of added sugar we consume?
Do you think that sugar is addictive/toxic?