Sugar found itself trending in 2014, but the trend status wasn’t a particularly positive one. Instead, it could be considered more of a “negative trend”- sugar was talked about, certainly, but the commentary was not at all flattering.
Between obesity, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease, sugar consumption is proving to be, perhaps, more perilous than we could have ever anticipated.
Sugar consumption in the United States clocks in at an eyebrow-raising 22.5 teaspoons per day: compare that to the recommended intake of 5 teaspoons per day (as per the World Health Organization).
However, most of us would remain adamant that our sugar consumption is not all that high; Is it really possible that we’re consuming that much sugar when we eschew soda and pass by the office candy bowl?
As it turns out, it’s very possible, especially since much of Americans’ sugar consumption comes from “invisible” sources of sugar in products like ketchup, breads, and other prepared foods. These products don’t taste sweet in the sense that we associate with candy or soda, so they pass by undetected.
Kicking the sugar habit is easier said than done, especially for those of us who enjoy sweet treats as part of our regularly scheduled programming. After all, if we’re exercising and eating healthy, what’s a cookie a few times a week?
While we’d never condemn an occasional indulgence, it’s important to make sure that you’re really are eating moderately, and that means identifying and removing invisible sources of sugar from your diet.
That’s why we’ve made sugar reduction one of our January goals for the Nashua Nutrition 6 Month Plan.
The following tips can help you avoid sugar, and cope with the transition from sugar-saturated to sugar-free.
Avoiding hidden sugar:
- Be wary around packaged foods, even if they look or sound healthy. Scan the ingredient list for the following words: sugar, brown sugar, glucose, agave, agave nectar, nectar, cane juice, cane sugar, honey, syrup, maple syrup, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup. While some of these are touted as being healthier than “regular” white sugar, the body processes them the same way.
Coping with a sugar craving
The best forms of distraction are “action distractions”, processes that mimic the sensations of eating or drinking, or actions that otherwise move you away from the source of sugar.
- Chew a piece of sugar-free gum. The taste and sensation of chewing can help kick a craving to the curb.
- Sip a cup of tea, coffee, or zero-Calorie flavored liquid (seltzer water, etc.). The warm liquid is soothing and provides the sensation of consumption.
- Take a walk, or do an activity that requires you to move your body and concentrate- anything from yoga, stretching, knitting, even doing a puzzle, crossword, or playing with a pet.
- Eat a sweet, lower sugar snack. Berries with yogurt, apples with cinnamon and low-fat whipped cream, and bananas with peanut butter are all good options.