Q: Is all sugar bad?
This question came up with a few of my clients, and I realized that with as much as I feel I knew about the topic, and as easy as it is for me to just spit out a few real reasons why we should avoid added sugar in our diets, I was having a lot of trouble condensing the knowledge into a simple explanation for you all.
So, I did what bloggers do best. I researched and read and I found some very insightful (research based) answers to share with you.
First of all, I have read a LOT on this topic and time and time again, the same conclusions have been made regarding the negatives of sugar on our bodies.
Here are just a few…
Negative Effects of Sugar:
- Spikes insulin levels; contributes to diabetes
- Contributes to cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, heart problems, adrenal fatigue, and more
- Contributes to premature aging (binds collagen in your skin; causes wrinkles)
- Suppresses immune system function
And if some serious health risks aren’t enough to keep you away from added sugars, why not take the personal experience of Dr. John Berardi, PhD (founder of Precision Nutrition), who did a 12 month personal experiment: A Year Without Desserts.
*NOTE: This March (2012) I will be furthering my nutritional education by certifying with the Precision Nutrition Certification as an elite nutrition coach! SO excited to share that knowledge with you!
I respect Dr. Berardi’s work tremendously and have been following his research and reading his articles for a few years now and have always felt my principles on training and nutrition aligned with his, but he has a PhD in all of this, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find that everything I’ve been ‘preaching’ to my clients aligned with Berardi’s studies. Anywho…Berardi did this experiment…
A Year Without Desserts
The rules: “It was my goal to live 30 days without any added sugar in my diet. [Remember, this means no added sugars. I was OK with the naturally occurring sugars in fruits/vegetables].”–Dr. Berardi
Lessons Learned (as quoted by Dr. Berardi)
- Desserts are addictive
- I don’t like foods that cause withdrawal symptoms when I stop eating them
- The more desserts I eat, the more I want
- We don’t eat desserts “in moderation”
- It’s hard to gain fat on whole foods, particularly plant foods
- The “all-or-none” mindset can work to your advantage if you have enough incentive
- It feels good to eliminate internal dialogue
- We can recalibrate our taste buds
- The key to making big eating changes is changing at the desire level
- When we care about something enough, we can choose to do it
So what’s a daily sugar intake goal to shoot for?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:
- Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
- Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
The problem is really this…that is such a small amount! It’s so hard to keep your daily intake that low, especially when you consider how much sugar hides in the unexpected (a yogurt, a piece of candy at the office, a soda mixer with your drink after work or flavored alcohols…it adds up so fast).
But it’s not impossible. I’m constantly challenging myself to keep to this goal. My future is too important to me to gamble with my health over desert.
Are you with me?
YOUR TURN: What is your biggest food craving? What do you fear you may never be able to fully ‘give up’? Is it sugar or something else? Share in the comment box below.
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