It seems that people have developed some pretty strong feelings about sugar these days. Culturally, I'd say we're all in a bit of a toxic relationship with the sandy white stuff, one day we can't get enough and the next we're swearing it off for life (sound familiar?...I didn't think so ;) ).
So what gives? Why are healthy experts making such a fuss?
Before we get into the details, let's clearly define the different types of sugars-
When you hear about the negative side effects of sugars, it's generally in reference to added sugars, although naturally occurring should be monitored closely as well. Over-consumption of sugar has been linked to heart disease, liver disease, leaky gut, diabetes, certain cancers and certainly weight gain. High sugar intake even promotes chronic inflammation (see previous blog post here), which leave our bodies struggling to defend and protect from foreign invaders.
While the warning signs are very much so out there in the open, as of last year the average American still consumed 94g of added sugar per day despite recommended intake being 24g for women or 36g for men daily. Each gram of sugar we consume carries 4 calories, meaning a possible hundreds of extra calories per week/thousands per month/etc. Let's be straight though, this isn't about calorie counting it's about finding a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable in the long-term. And 94g of sugar per day just isn't going to cut it...
Sugars are super sneaky and find their way into processed foods, salad dressings and beverages of all shapes and sizes (it's not just cookies and candies!). With over 50% of the average American's total calorie intake coming from processed foods it's no wonder that added sugars are at the front line of our diets and of our conversations.
Sugar can be labeled as any of the below in packaged foods, drinks and dressings-
So what now?
My intention here is not to scare you or to force you into or out of consuming anything, but it is to provide you with information that might promote you to make better informed decisions about your diet and to encourage you to do some research of your own.
As in all things, balance is K E Y . I am all about living the 90/10 rule and letting myself enjoy a sweet treat (or some queso...) every now and then. Our bodies are so unique and each of our needs are so different. Be intuitive about your eating and do what feels right for Y O U - no one else can mandate what that looks or feels like. Knowledge is power and your health is YOUR responsibility. So, the more you know...!