Most people these days are overfed and undernourished. In an age and mindset of thinking that faster and quicker is better, our diets are full of processed and nutritionally lacking foods. It’s much easier to open a box and throw it into the microwave for 5 minutes than it is to prepare that same meal the old fashioned way (with nutritious ingredients, time and care).
It may be quicker but the effect these easy foods have on our bodies is astronomical. One of the main reasons is sugar, especially processed sugar.
Refined Sugar – Tons Of Empty Calories
No more than 10 percent of a person’s total daily caloric intake should come from simple sugars. That equals 40-50 grams of sugar per day, which is approximately ten teaspoons of sugar for a 2,000-calorie diet. Refined, simple sugar is full of calories but those calories are doing nothing to promote health and energy. They are empty calories -- meaning, they provide a quick lift but have no long-term nutritional benefit.
Examples of refined sugars: White table sugar (Sucrose), refined brown sugar (Sucrose, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.
Complex Sugar – Better But Calorie-Heavy
These complex sugars are better for you but they do contain a high amount of calories and should be eaten in moderation. Examples of complex sugars: Fructose (in fruit and honey), lactose (in milk) and maltose (in grains).
Refined sugar is very dangerous to our bodies, as it is a chemically processed product that isn’t found in nature and has been stripped of any nutritional content due to this processing. Many people think that brown sugar is a better choice over white sugar, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Generally, brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar that has a bit of molasses added for color. Raw Sugar can be a more wholesome choice as it has not been as chemically processed, but it can be difficult to find.
How Sugar Makes You Sick
The amount of sugar that most people consume is far more than their bodies can use for energy. One can of soda can have nine to ten teaspoons of sugar. Obviously, this is very detrimental to a person’s health. Our body sees sugar as a toxin, causing an immune response that isn’t necessary and can also contribute to a variety of diseases and degenerative conditions.
Here are just some of the things sugar can do to your body:
- Suppress the immune system
- Cause diabetes
- Leach nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium from the body
- Cause intense food cravings and eating binges
- Cause obesity
- Cause arteriosclerosis
- Cause behavioral problems (especially in children)
- Cause problems in the spleen, pancreas and adrenal glands
- Wreak havoc on blood sugar levels
And if this wasn’t enough already: Sugar is addictive!
11 Easy Ways To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet
- Wean yourself away from processed foods that are full of sugar.
- Choose fruit juice over fruit drinks and water over sodas. Dilute your fruit juice with water.
- Choose healthful snacks such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- When choosing breakfast cereal, only pick those that have 3 grams or less of sugar per serving.
- Read labels!
- Eat in moderation – if you must have a sugary food, be smart and only eat a small portion.
- Choose natural sweeteners over refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
- Watch out for added sugars that are expressed by their formal names such as sucrose.
- Petition schools to remove children’s access to sodas and sugary foods.
- Cut out three sodas per day and you can lose 15 pounds per year.
- Educate yourself about what sugar is, and become familiar with refined versus complex sugars.
The intake of empty calories in the typical American diet is astounding as more and more people are getting through their days by munching on snack foods. These snacks are full of refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, which can be avoided by taking the time to prepare foods ahead of time. It’s just as fast to snack on an apple as it is a donut -- and the apple will do much more to satisfy and nourish your body.