Sugar is one of those things that most of us love to hate.
The truth is it's highly addictive, debilitating to the body, and freaking delicious.
With all of that out in the open, don't be scared off into a sugar less hole for the rest of your life; the fact that too much added sugar harms the body doesn't mean you can't ever have another donut.
Keep the excess sugar under control by enjoying only the treats that are your favorites every once in a while.
But why should we do this?
There, there (insert pat on the back).
Sugar delivers empty nutrition— calories without any fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients our bodies need. Studies have shown when we eat too much sugar consistently, our risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease largely increases.
Sugar affects the release of a very important hormone in the body called insulin. Eating too much sugar can cause a number of symptoms known as classic metabolic syndrome. Weight gain, excess belly fat, decreased HDL and increased LDL cholesterol levels, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure are all issues associated with metabolic syndrome.
The good news is that naturally occurring sugar—which gives fruit, some veggies, and milk their sweet taste—is a healthy part of a balanced diet. It's added sugar (sweeteners put in during processing and prep) that we need to not OD on. No need to cut out dessert; the key is to eat strategically.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars we should eat in a day are 25 grams per day.
To limit our added sugars, we can:
Go natural. Eat natural sources of sugar over added sugars.
Pick low sugar produce. Berries and avocado are great!
Find alternatives that work for you.
Track it! Keep a journal or use an app if it's helpful.
Fill up on healthy fats.