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The True Facts About Sugar
Despite knowing this, the typical Americans diet consists of highly processed grains, processed meats, added preservative, artificial flavors and dyes and a montage of chemicals that are anything from food. We sometimes make ourselves feel better by purchasing "fat-free" or "low-fat" product, but did you know those are just as bad and sometimes worse.
The low-fat craze has been particularly harmful, because when the food industry removed the fat, they had to put lots of sugar in. Without either fat or sugar, the food is unpalatable and no one would buy it.
By removing fat and adding sugar, the processed food industry has created a smorgasbord of made to order disease.
Did you know that there are added sugars hidden in 74% of packaged foods under 60 different names?
Your Daily Recommendation Allowance
The new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in January recommends limiting the amount of added sugars in our diet to no more than 10% of daily calories but the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends only 5%. That's about 12 teaspoons of sugar a day. To put that in perspective, a can of Coke contains nearly 10 teaspoons. The average Americans diet is 13% of added sugar and 17% for the average teen and these numbers don't count the natural sugar from fruit or milk.
Why Do We Turn To Sugar?
Recent studies have shown that sugar has the same effect on the brain as cocaine or heroin. When you consume sugar According to a 2012 article by the journal, Nature, t's a toxic substance that should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol. Researchers point to studies that show that too much sugar (both in the form of natural sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) not only makes us fat, it also wreaks havoc on our liver, metabolism, impairs brain function, and may leave us susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
How To Identify Hidden Sugar
You can usually identify the sugars by anything that ends in -ose (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose, ect) as well as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others. Just because it doesn't end in -ose, doesn't mean it isn't sugar. There are plenty of other names as well that may or may not sound like sugar. Regardless of how they sound, the following are all sugar:Cane juice, Dehydrated cane juice, Cane juice solids, Cane juice crystals, Dextrin, Maltodextrin, Dextran, Barley malt, Beet sugar, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Caramel, Buttered syrup, Carob syrup, Brown sugar, Date sugar, Malt syrup, Diastase, Diatastic malt, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Dehydrated fruit juice, Fruit juice crystals, Golden syrup, Turbaned, Sorghum syrup, Refiner's syrup, Ethyl maltose, Maple syrup, Yellow sugar
I know that this can be very overwhelming but if you need help on how to read the labels just Click Here.
Although the FDA (and the USDA) has certainly acknowledged and tried to define the term "added sugars," or those sugars that aren't naturally occurring in foods (for example, fruits), the government is leaving it up to us to be food detectives and learn all the various names for sugar and, more importantly, how much of it we're actually putting in our mouths.
How To Cut Sugar From Your Diet
"The Truth About Sugar," which aired on BBC One, aims to "demystify some of the myths about sugar — namely, what food products secretly contain it — and demonstrate the impact it can make on your health if you reduce the amount you eat."
Three of the individuals in the film did indeed manage to lose 13 pounds each after going on a low-sugar diet — cutting their added sugar from an average of 23 to 39 teaspoons a day, down to 6 teaspoons, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Studies have shown that cutting out added sugars can improve biomarkers associated with health in as little as 10 days — even when overall calorie count and percentage of carbohydrates remains the same.
Making a few adjustments to your diet can help you cut down on unnecessary sugar consumption:
- Reduce the sugar you add to your drinks.
- Avoid low-fat 'diet' foods which tend to be high in sugars.
- Be wary of 'sugar-free' foods. These often contain synthetic sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin and aspartame. Although these taste sweet, they don't help curb a sweet tooth so they tend to send confusing messages to the brain, which can lead to over-eating.
- Stop drinking soda
- Swap white bread, rice and pasta for wholegrain
- Reduce the sugar in recipes and add spices to boost flavour and taste.
- Cut down or cut out alcohol
- If at all possible, eat organic and unprocessed foods
So in conclusion, the best advice I can give you and what I myself do is, eat as clean as possible. When you go to the store go for the organic and all natural products. Try and stay away from processed foods and give yourself a challenge and see how much you can make from scratch. I know that a lot of the time convenience wins but you would be surprised at how easy it is to make your own foods from scratch and really how fun it is. (you can look for this topic coming up very soon!)