For the first time ever, dietary guidelines has identified sugar as a part of our diet we should limit, prompted by an overwhelmingly amount of evidence that proves high-sugar foods, such as cookies and soft drinks, not only lead to weight gain, but they often replace the foods that really need to be eaten each day to survive and thrive.
If you eat a healthy diet and meet your nutritional needs on most days, you can still enjoy guilty pleasures like a sweet dessert or an occasional sugary soda. But, keep in mind, that no matter what form of sugar you eat - from Gummi Bears to Wheaties - carbohydrates (sugars) contain 4 calories per gram, they break down to simple sugars during digestion (except for fiber which is indigestible) and are either used for immediate energy, or stored as fat!
While you need sugars in your body to keep it running, you should pick sugars that come in the form of nutrient-rich starches like whole grains. You should also eat plenty of vegetables - which do contain sugars, but do contain an abundance of valuable vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting chemicals.
The kind of sugar that you should stay away from is added sugar (the sweeteners that are dumped into foods by manufacturers). Added sugar is causing increasing concern because consumption of this diet-buster has risen more than 30 percent in the last two decades, with Americans now gobbling up a whopping 64 pounds of this fattening substance each year!
According to studies, 20 percent or more of the daily calories for nearly one-quarter of adult women come from sugar, making it the culprit of weight- gain and diet disasters nationwide, not to mention that fact that it’s part of the cause of diseases like breast cancer.
With this in mind, let’s look at some ways we can shave calories from sneaky sugar sources. These include:
• Eliminate all soft drinks and fruit-flavored beverages, which are considered one of the biggest sources of added sugar in the diet. Instead, regularly opt for water, seltzer flavored with lemon or lime, flavored waters, etc.
• Check food labels of packaged food with claims of “low fat” or “fat free,” as they have as much, and oftentimes even more sugar, than the full-fat version. Additional sugar is often used to replace the taste of fat, so when fat is decreased or eliminated, sugar is often substituted. Learn to spot this on food packages, and to avoid the contents!
• Avoid all white flours, substituting whole grains that pack nutritional value. This means staying away from white pastas, breads, biscuits, cakes, cookies, etc.
• Learn to spot sugar’s aliases. If dextrose, fructose, maltose, or malt syrup. If sucrose or corn syrup appears first or second in the ingredient list, the food is very high in sugar.
• When eating out, order fresh fruit for dessert rather than that cake your friends are eating.
• Pass up sweetened yogurts (they can contain as much as 7 teaspoons of added sugar). Instead, choose a no-sugar variety.
• Buy breakfast cereals with no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Pair these practices with drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, eating 3 small meals and 2 snacks each day, eating a diet high in vegetables, medium in protein and with the right fats added to that … then you’re on your way to a new you!
And, don’t forget to be active every day.
These are all key to enhancing your metabolism, changing your lifestyle, and your improving body. And, perhaps more importantly, a healthy, balanced
diet with daily exercise will help keep you feeling good, will help you live longer, and will turn back your body’s aging clock!