5 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
74% of the items in a grocery store contain added sugar, according to Dr. Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco.
Even if you’re trying to eat healthy, select the best foods from the grocery store, and are reading nutrition labels, you’re most likely eating more sugar than you should.
Sugar is a carbohydrate that provides energy. It is found in the common form of white table sugar, and it is also found naturally in foods, such as fruits. Sugar from fruit also has fiber which aides in digestion. White table sugar has no nutritional value and will lead to things such as blood sugar spikes, weight gain, and other health risks like diabetes. We all need sugar and carbohydrates to survive and function. But, we need it at a moderate amount.
Eating sugar won’t be harmful to your health, but eating too much of it will.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average American eats 77 grams of added sugar daily, which is more than two times the recommended max of daily sugar intake.
You can track your sugar intake on your phone, but here are 5 signs you’re eating too much sugar and what to look out for:
Sign #1: You Crave Sugar
Sugar is an addictive substance. When you eat or drink sugar, it signals to your brain that it is a reward. Your brain adapts and releases dopamine every time you consume sugar. This is a ‘feel good’ molecule in your body that signals you to want more. Over time, this can create a vicious cycle where you constantly crave sugar to feel good, provide you with energy, and gets you hooked on sweets.
Sign #2: You Feel Tired Often
Do you find yourself crashing throughout the day? When sugar hits your bloodstream, it gives you a spike in energy. But, since added sugar has not nutritional value, the initial sugar spike quickly becomes a drop in blood sugar levels, which is why you feel that ‘crash’ coming. The common misconception is that sugar gives you energy and alertness all day. When in reality, it does the opposite- it causes you to eventually crash, feel less alert, and become more fatigued.
Sign #3: You Are Gaining Weight
If you consume sugar calories in the form of a soda or other drink, those calories don’t provide fullness which leads you to over consume calories. This surplus of calories will promote weight gain. Processed foods also contain a high amount of added sugar and don’t include any fiber, which causes weight gain. My advice: always eat whole, natural foods as much as possible!
Sign #4: You Experience Brain Fog
Many people who regularly eat sugar and processed foods feel hazy, confused, or unable to focus on their work. This is brain fog. Until you cut your sugar way back, or eliminate it altogether, you won’t realize you’re in a brain fog.
Sign #5: You Have Trouble Sleeping
Sleep is the most important thing you can focus on when it comes to great workouts, losing weight, gaining muscle, changing your body composition, and ultimately helping you reach your goals! Research shows that refined, added sugar is linked to poor sleep quality. Restless sleep caused by sugar can spike your hunger hormone, and can cause your satiety hormone to drop, prompting you to continue to crave and want to consume more sugar.
Since sugar is hidden in so many of our foods, our recommendation is to focus on eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods most of the time. This means sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store when shopping.
Other tips to reduce sugar: drink more water, cut out and limit sodas and other sugary drinks, cook at home more, and always read the nutrition labels.
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5 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar