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Does added sugar conflict with optimal health and wellness?

sugar-cravings

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with sugar – for good reasons.

It is so yummy, but also addictive and connected to all kinds of health issues.

All sugar, whether natural or processed, is a type of simple carbohydrate. Fruits, vegetables and dairy foods naturally contain sugar.

“Added sugars” are the sugars and syrups added to foods during processing. Desserts, sodas, and energy and sports drinks (yes – sports drinks are very sugary!) are the top sources of added sugars (think empty and unnecessary sugars!).

Does added sugar sabotage optimal health and wellness?

Eating too many foods with added sugars sets the stage for potential health problems, such as:

  • Poor nutrition. If you fill up on sugar-laden foods, you usually skimp on nutritious foods and miss out on important nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • Weight gain. There’s usually no single cause for being overweight. But added sugar contributes to the problem. Adding sugar to foods and beverages makes them more calorie dense (and nutrient poor). Those empty calories turn into added weight quickly.
  • Increased triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream and fat tissue. Eating too much added sugar can increase triglyceride levels, which may increase your risk of disease.
  • Inflammation. Sugar fuels chronic inflammation, which contributes to degenerative disease. One of the main focus topics in aging healthily is to keep chronic inflammation down!
  • Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise – even in kids. A healthy and balanced diet and exercise can sharply lower the likelihood of type 2 diabetes, even in people who are at high risk of developing it. Holistic Healthy Lifestyle interventions can improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles and help lower high blood sugar levels.

Added sugar hides in many packaged foods. One key healthy living tips is definitely: READ ALL LABELS!
Despite what you may have heard, there’s no nutritional advantage to brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate or other types of sugar over white sugar. Here are a few names to look out for (and avoid!) on labes:

  • Cane juice and cane syrup
  • Corn sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate and nectars
  • Honey
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses

For optimal health and wellness reduce the added sugars in your diet!
To achieve this, try these tips:

  • Drink water, unsweetened tea or other calorie-free drinks (and I don’t mean artificially sweetened either!!) instead of sugary sodas or sports drinks. That goes for mixed and sugary coffee drinks too.
  • If you drink fruit juice, make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice – not juice drinks that have added sugars. However – even fruit juice is best avoided as the lack of fiber makes it simply sugary – and hit your system with negative consequences. Eat fresh fruit instead!
  • Choose breakfast cereals (or better: whole grain oats) with no sugar. Skip sugary and frosted cereals. This types of empty, sugary foods are best avoided, especially for breakfast!
  • Snack on vegetables, fruits, cheese, nuts, hummus, guacamole and yogurt instead of candy, pastries and cookies.

How do I reduce sugar intake – for optimal Health and Wellness?

By limiting the amount of added sugars in your diet, you can cut calories without compromising nutrition. In fact, cutting back on foods with added sugars makes it easier to get the nutrients you need! And – you have plenty of added benefits like reduced inflammation, improved overall health, better nutrition.
It is certainly easier said than done. When sweet cravings hit, all the good intentions are hard to stick to! What to do: To learn how to address sweet cravings with Holistic Health Solutions – download our free e-book “Healthy Swaps to Crush Sweet Cravings”.

Be well,

Barbara

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