Human physiology evolved over millions of years on a diet containing very little sugar and no refined carbohydrates. Sugar cane was originally a fodder crop used to fatten pigs. Sugar gained popularity as a “spice” in the 1600’s when it was introduced into the Caribbean driving the slave trade. Sugar has never been a benefit to our modern world. Here in our 21st century our society is in the grip of a health crisis directly linked to the addictive effects of refined sugar and fats, comparable to the health scourges of tobacco and alcohol. Sugar causes dopamine release in our brains similar symptoms to drug addictions. Sugar is a leading contributor to Obesity and is highly addictive and the cause of poor food choices like soda pop, candy and chocolate,but we do love our sugar!
Good food choice is critical when we are trying to reduce weight. Understanding what we are consuming is the first step. One of the easiest food categories to reduce quickly from our diet is Sugars. We find sugars of various kinds in processed foods and in many beverages.
How to identify sugar content:
The quick way to evaluate a processed food for sugars is to look at the Nutrition Facts Panel for Total Carbohydrate and Sugar. Try and eliminate as much sugar as possible from your diet.
Another way to identify sugars in a food item is to look at the ingredient list, look for ingredients like: corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, honey, glucose, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses and sucrose.
To find the sugar/carbohydrate content of foods that do not carry a nutrition facts panel go to the USDA website at https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/foodapedia.aspx.
For those of you who love apps you can put your food item through the Food-A-Pedia nutrition calculator, its easy to use and its free.
Review your food logs for foods rich in sugar and that are overly processed, think about what you can substitute these food with? For example, choose oatmeal over Cornflakes. Choose Carrots over cookies and water over cola’s.
Beverages are often overlooked when we make a food diary, the coffee with one sugar at a meeting is not recorded, but adds 26 calories to your daily total. Other beverages to monitor are canned soda’s, an 8 oz. serving of Coke has approx. 90 calories all from sugar, if you drink the whole can you can add another 30 calories. Consume 3 cans of coke a day and you are close to adding 360 empty calories to your daily total. There is another side effect of consumption of large volumes of soda pop, anything over 300 ml one cup will cause you to empty your stomach by triggering opening of the pyloric valve at the bottom of your stomach before your food is fully digested.This is due to the sugar content. This brings on hunger for your next meal sooner due to increasing ghrelin hormone.
Evaluate your beverage intake and look for opportunities to consume less sugar – the golden rule is where ever possible substitute water for pop, juice and extra glasses of milk. Measure your drinking glasses at home, find one that is a 300 ml or 1 cup serving. Keep the portion size of beverages other than water under control as well as your food.
If you are still thirsty – drink as much water as you like. You can add flavor to the water with slices of lemon or lime.
By cutting sugar alone many of us will be able to achieve an energy balance that gives steady weight loss. It will also set a good life change example to our children and family if we can do it.
- Replace soda with water.
- Eliminate sugar drinks, sugar in coffee and sugar coated cereals.
- Check your grocery list. Eliminate high sugar content foods and minimize processed foods containing high sugars content.