We have a rule at work that when it’s your birthday, you have to bring in treats for the office. This was introduced when a birthday was forgotten, and my colleagues thought it would be best to put this into practice so that everybody is recognized on their birthday. Also, that way we wouldn’t have to figure out who would be bringing in treats for somebody else’s birthday!
A few weeks ago, it was a colleagues birthday and she brought in fresh baked cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing. She got them from her local bakery, warm out of the oven, so they were sticky, warm and delicious. My colleagues and I descended on the buns like a pack of hungry wolves, and they were gone in 60 seconds.
After devouring the cinnamon bun, we were all feeling sluggish, tired, and gluttonous. There was so much sugar in the bun (and in the icing) that it caused a spike in our blood sugar, which eventually crashed leaving us feeling not so hot.
It seems like refined sugar is in everything these days, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid it. There can be up to 14 grams of sugar in a tablespoon of peanut butter, 13 grams of sugar in a 100 gram container of yogurt, and even 3 grams of sugar in just one slice of whole grain bread. These are all things that we have been led to believe are good for us, and that make up a part of a healthy diet!
What Does Sugar Do To Us?
Even when we think we are making healthy choices, we are consuming tons of refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup, whic are poor for our health, packed with extra calories, and do a number on our blood sugar and energy levels.
The effects of these sugars are lasting, too. Not only can they take a toll on your body weight, due to the high caloric content of sugar, but sugar has also been recorded in some cases as something humans can become addicted to, or dependent on. Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup has also been linked to the onslaught of diabetes, although it is not directly linked. Refined sugar messes with your metabolism and energy levels.
These sugars also turn into fat more quickly than natural sugars do.
Cutting Out Refined Sugars & High Fructose Corn Syrup
If you eat a normal diet, completely cutting out these sugars is likely an impossible endeavor. These sugars are everywhere, and in everything, and unless you plan on hand making absolutely everything (yogurt, bread, juice, etc), you can’t completely cut them out.
You can scale them back, though. Here are some suggestions to do this:
Stop Drinking Juice and Soda
Juice and soft drinks are one of the biggest culprits for high fructose corn syrup, a sickly sweet substance which adds empty calories and sugar (fructose) to your diet.
Cut these out. It may be hard at first, but it will benefit your health. Even fruit juices, which many people think are good for you, are packed with this poison. Swap juice and pop for water.
Substitute Natural Sugars
Fruits and vegetables have naturally occurring sugars in them, which is why they taste sweet. These sugars are not harmful for you, and are, in fact, nutritionally necessary.
Instead of reaching for the candy bar in your afternoon office slump, grab a piece of fruit. It may not be as satisfying while you are eating it, but you’ll feel much better afterward.
Don’t Add It
Many of us reach for refined sugar to put in our coffee and teas. Try drinking your coffee and tea without sugar. If you must use a sweetener, try honey in tea.
If you are baking, look for substitutions (but avoid artificial sweeteners). Many times, you can swap out sugar for apple sauce, honey, or something naturally occurring which will be better for you in the long run.
You don’t have to fall victim to these sugars; a little more consciousness about what is on the labels and what you can use for a substitute can go a long way.
Do you try to cut back on sugar in your diet?