Lately, the media has given extra attention to the dangers of eating too much sugar, and I want to address this issue because reducing the consumption of refined sugar is a nutrition principle I’ve always stood by faithfully.
We’ve all heard before that eating excess sugar leads to diabetes and obesity, but perhaps we take for granted our distance from that problem. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be stuffing your face with cookies all day long to be eating too much sugar.
According to the USDA, the average American adult consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. We eat our weight in added sugar annually!! And it isn’t just coming from sodas and cookies, but from more insidious sources like fruit juice and “performance enhancing” sports drinks that make the metabolism rush and crash.
Sugar behaves similarly in the brain to intensely addictive psychoactive drugs like cocaine and heroine that also make us rush and crash. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become addicted to the flood of the happy neurochemical Dopamine that eating too much sugar gives us, and to overlook the severe problems in digestion, energy, weight, and mood that that addiction causes.
The truth about sugar is the less you eat, the less you crave. If you keep yourself satisfied with protein-rich snacks and limit your consumption of carbs to fiber-rich whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, you will soon find that you neither need or even want to reach for the candy jar. The body and mind are happiest with sustainable fuel, and you can curb your sugar cravings significantly by providing yourself that fuel. Practicing meditation daily will also calm you and put you more in touch with yourself, improving your ability to make mindful decisions about what to eat rather than acting impulsively the second dessert pops into your brain.
While my most essential advice is to avoid eating surplus amounts of sugar, and eventually to eliminate it entirely from your diet, I realize we are all human, and sometimes, sometimes, we need to indulge ourselves with a little sweetness. In these moments, I recommend not resorting to artificial sweeteners, which, while calorie free, still mess with our metabolisms and create toxicity in the body just like sugar does. Instead of adding Equal or Splenda to your coffee, try molasses, agave nectar, raw honey, or maple syrup. These natural sweeteners have a low glycemic index, and will not cause the yo-yoing effect on your blood sugar that regular sugar does.
Remember, be careful of misleading, “healthy-looking” packaging, and when in doubt, to stick to YogaLean’s official favorite health beverage, water!