Everything you need to know about sugar.
This week I made a post about how to tell if you are eating too much sugar in your diet, and the effects of over consuming sugar.
Sugar is a natural substance in a variety of foods, including: fruits, breads, sweets, grains, and vegetables. The dangerous part about sugar is when you consume too much of it. This is what leads to harmful health factors, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It is the most well-known sweetening ingredient for foods.
But it can add an unnecessary amount of calories without you even knowing it.
An ordinary soda sweetened with sugar can contain upwards of 50 grams per bottle! If you drink one bottle, that is a minimum of 200 extra calories. Think about the last time you had a soda with a meal? Your fountain drink contains way more than 200 calories. Add that on top of your food calories, and that meal alone can be upwards of 800+ calories.
This is the trap that most people I work with fall in: consuming calories through liquid.
Liquids are easier to consume, don’t make you feel as full, and can hide a copious amount of extra calories.
Now, let’s get into some of the most popular artificial sweeteners and sugar alternatives out there. As the name suggests, these compounds aren’t actually sugar, but they can add a similar sweetness to your favorite foods.
Artificial sweeteners tend to have very few calories and no significant nutrients. They are commonly used in supplements and weight loss products to add sweetness. Since artificial sweeteners don’t have a big effect on blood sugar levels, they are more suitable for diabetics and low-carb diets.
With the many types of sugar and sugar alternatives out there, you might be wondering which types you should be avoiding. This is what we know:
- Artificial sweetener consumption, especially aspartame, has been associated with the increased risk of certain cancers in a human observational study in France.
- Sugar alcohols are often associated with gastrointestinal issues like bloating and diarrhea since they are not as easily digestible as other carbohydrates.
- You may also want to avoid sugar alcohols if you are diabetic — while its effects on your blood sugar are less extreme than regular sugar, it can still increase your blood sugar albeit to a lesser extent.
Scary, huh?! When I was doing my research for this blog, I was genuinely surprised!
Now you are probably thinking which ones are safe! It’s best to avoid the fake stuff, and go with the natural sugars like stevia!
Here are some key takeaways for everything you need to know about sugar:
- Too much sugar is bad. It is necessary for all of us to function, and it does give us energy to have great workouts in the gym, but too much of it is detrimental.
- Liquid sugar will add unnecessary calories to your day.
- There are some good artificial sweeteners, and there are some bad ones. Stick with the natural stuff!
- Sugars from fruits and veggies are the way to go!
My #1 piece of advice when it comes to consuming sugar: earn it.
Workout 3-4 days per week, eat well 6 days per week, and earn your sugar.
If you think you eat too much sugar, or are frustrated that you are gaining weight without knowing why, use this link to set up a time to chat and I would love to see if I can help!