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?
I am on a sugar detox right now. We had way too many sweets during the month of May…it makes m feel lethargic and crappy. I’m definitely cutting down!!!
I feel ya – it’s hard not to cave sometimes!
Im not going to lie I am one of those people that needs to cut back on the sugar consumption. Its not the drinks but actually things like donuts, cookies etc. I need to eat more fruit for my sweet tooth.
I think most of us do. I am the same way.
I love candy and have been eating way too much of it. While I’m not cutting it out altogether, I’m limiting how much I eat which should greatly reduce my sugar intake.
If its not realistic to stay away from it, limiting it is the next best thing!
I can’t tell you how much better we feel since we reduced, almost to the point of elimination, sugars from our diet. I wish I had done this twenty years ago…heck, 40. Did anybody else feast on Tang and Kool Aid in their childhoods? Oh boy!
Haha! I was a huge Koolaide fan. Good for you for making a change!
Great advice. I’m lucky because I don’t have a sweet tooth so avoiding refined sugar is not so hard. I know for others it’s a real struggle, because my wife is in this camp. I use maple syrup or honey when I do use a sweetener. Those of course are mostly sugar too, but not so refined and they do contain some beneficial nutrients. My diet excludes fruit juice and I eat no more than 3 pieces of fruit a day to limit sugar intake. I’m middle-aged and my latest fasting glucose = 5.0.
You are lucky! I have a huge sweet tooth so cutting back has been hard for me.
Marvy article, Daisy!!! What do you know about stevia? It’s the only thing we add anything (coffee only).
I don’t know much about artificial sweeteners, but if you only have it in coffee I’m sure it’s not that bad!
Thanks man! Have a super laid back evening!!!
I’m really trying to cut back on sugar. I have too much! Great post.
Oh, I bet we all could !
I’ve recently begun to cut out most sugars that I can. I’m preparing for my next marathon in October so am being really conscious right now about what I put into my body. So far, I like how I feel.
Wow, good for you! It can only make a positive difference.
My mom and I cut out all sugar for 30 days last month. I thought I was going to die in the beginning but then started feeling so much better!
Good for you! It’s almost addictive, hey?
I try and cut as much bad sugar out of my diet as much as possible, but sometimes I get a bad sweet tooth.
That happens to all of us, sometimes!
Sugar is so addictive! But I have found that there are two main humps to get through and after those you find things easier. the first hump is about four days in. It’s like quitting a major addiction! after this, if you can break through the two week barrier, then things are much easier.
This is only when going cold-turkey, though. But I find that scaling back is harder than going cold turkey, in the long run.
Scaling back can be hard, too. I think any habit can be broken, though.
Yup. One way I’ve done it make my own hot chocolate. It’s just cocoa with a bit of sugar or honey to sweeten it.
I have tried to do the same before, too. It’s not bad!
Great points and health tips! There is substantial evidence to indicate that salt causes even more health issues than sugar, and cutting out salt can be even harder since it is added to almost everything.
Sodium brings on a whole slew of other issues. If you cook at home it should be easy to control.
I use sugar in my tea and coffee and when I bake but I don’t use it on anything else to be honest. I’ve cut back on the amount I use so that’s a good start I think. I used to use sweetener for our coffee but it just gave us headaches and we didn’t feel so good. We thought cutting back was a better alternative.
It’s a great start! I started by cutting sugar out of my coffee and I actually like it more!
Cutting sugar is soooooo much easier said then done for me! I love sugar, almost anything that contains sugar is pretty awesome. Love desserts, candy, pop. But I have cut back a ton and hope I can do even more. I broke the streak recently but went 19 days straight without a pop. Best I’ve done since being a little kid.
I was on a no-soda diet. It went well for a couple of weeks. Then my self-deprivation backfired and I went on a pop binge. I need to try it again. It’s so bad for you and I think the caffeine is what my body’s really after half way through the day.
good stuff! I am also cutting down on sugar. It does give me the energy to do my tasks when I do not feel like doing anything, but I know the impact it has on our health.
I am definitely a sugar addict – not so much a junk food addict – instead I add vanilla syrup to my coffee and drink sweetened tea in the afternoon. I’ve pretty much cut out the high fructose corn syrup, but sugar in general is my weakness!
Good post. I have been following the ‘slow burn’ rules (this is the low carb diet for long distance runners) and sugar appears to be the absolute evil. Also, if sugar were to be put up for approval for human consulption it’ll fail to obtain it. So cutting out – not even down – is the smart move.