Food manufacturers pay millions if not billions of dollars to engineer foods that actually create reward whistles in your body and your brain. Food manufacturers make the food look good, they put sexy buzzwords [natural, healthy, gluten-free] and hope you won't read the ingredients label. The food is cheap and requires little from you except eating as much as you please. You eat, they make money. That’s their goal. Then you have food marketers and their number one job is to make the food look as attractive and as irresistible and possible.
However, one of the key ingredients in almost any processed food that makes it taste delicious is ADDED sugar.
I am sure you see things on social media and in your email 'cut sugar for 30 days!' but (as I always say) what happens on Day 31? Instead of cutting added sugar out entirely (good luck with that), try decreasing the intake overtime and educating yourself on where it exists in the foods that you eat.
This is a 'healthy' looking yogurt from the store and the #2 ingredient is CANE SUGAR. Ingredients are listed from MOST to LEAST. So the first ingredient is MILK (good place to start for yogurt) but the second one is Cane Sugar. Quite simply a name for sugar. Plus what is 'natural flavor?' For more info on 'natural flavor', click here. Bottom line, it is in there to trick your brain. Remember, the goal of the food manufacturer is to get you to eat more of their food.
According to an article from Harvard Medical School, the biggest challenge with sugars is 'Sugar raises inflammation throughout the body, increases triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), and boosts the levels of dopamine in the brain. "Dopamine gives you a high, and that's why the more sugar you eat, the more you think you want."'
Want to know some potential BENEFITS of eliminating OR seriously decreasing the added SUGARS?
If you decrease your ADDED SUGAR:
You will burn fat immediately. Reducing your intake of calorie dense sugar carbs automatically reduces the amount of calories you are consuming on a daily basis. Your body won't have these sugars to use for energy so your body grabs energy where it can, around your mid section.
Your hungry cravings will decrease.
ADDED BONUS: START using fiber to fill up. By slowing the progress of carbs through the body, fiber helps you have a continuous stead dose of energy so you never get the ‘empty’ signal. You will feel energized! Imagine not being exhausted @ 3pm. By slowing your body down and keeping your body and your brain more fully fueled, you will beat physical fatigue and brain fog. You will limit making poor food choices to get quick energy and you won't be sleep walking though the afternoon.
One of the things you will notice when you remove this excess sugar and replace it with high fiber foods is that your belly will begin to deflate. Most Americans only take in 15 of the recommended 25-28 grams of giver per day.
Your muscles will get stronger.
In one of the most stunning studies of recent years, scientists have linked refined sugar to sarcopenia – age related muscle loss. It happens because sugar blocks the body's ability to synthesize protein into muscle.
The problem is not the sugar per se, it’s the QUANTITY of it.
A healthy amount of carbs help allow our body systems to work and operate, particularly our brains, which run on glucose. – to operate normally. In today's world where food is ALWAYS available, you are constantly being barraged by ADDED sugar. It is NOT the sugar we consume naturally from eating whole foods (berries, bananas, fruit) These added sugars have no fiber or protein and is engineered into our food.
Examples you probably know for added sugar include:
High fructose corn syrup and even healthier sounding ones like agave, date syrup, cane sugar and honey. They are all ADDED SUGAR.
The US Depart of Agriculture, World Health Organization and the American Heart Association recommend no more than 100 calories a day of added sugar. That comes out to about 23 g or below to stay safe.
Here are the added sugar measurements on some ‘healthier’ grocery store products:
- Dannon fruit on the bottom cherry yogurt: 24 grams
- Quaker Natual Granola Oats and Honey: 26 grams
- Power Bar Performance Energy Vanilla Crisp: 26 grams
Why is sugar so bad? Research shows that sugary, processed foods retrain our taste buds and mess with our bodily system. When even tomato sauce is laced with sweetener, we need greater and greater does for the flavor to even register. We are getting desensitized.
So, start reading your labels, limit your ADDED SUGARS.