Ever wonder why you can’t go a day without a hit of sugar? Maybe it’s because research shows that it is at least eight times as addicting as cocaine. Eight times! With sugar being poured into everything from ketchup and barbecue sauce to non-fat yogurt and cereal, it’s hard to kick a habit we don’t even realize we have.
The average person consumes about 152 pounds of sugar a year. Most kids eat more than 34 teaspoons (134 g) a day. That is more than 10 times the recommended daily allowance.
Here are some ways to start cutting back on the sweet poison:
1. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Think of whole fruit as opposed to fruit juices or jam, tomatoes instead of ketchup, vegetables instead of veggie crisps. Remember, it doesn't have to be sweet to be a sugar bomb.
2. Get familiar with the other names under which sugar hides. Cane syrup, agave, honey, evaporated cane juice, any ingredient with a “juice”, crystalline or anything that ends with “ose”. These are all classified and processed as sugar.
3. Have dessert as it was intended, after a full meal and NOT as a meal replacement or snack. Fill up on wholesome, nutrient dense foods and if you still want dessert, have a bite or a small piece. It’s easier to keep a craving in check on a full stomach.
4. Become a “flipper”: If you find yourself at the mercy of packaged foods, check labels for less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Also check for at least the same amount of fiber to match, i.e.: 2 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber per serving.
5. If you frequently find yourself at coffee with friends or taking the kids for an after school treat, know the nutritional value, specifically the sugar and fiber content of items you normally order. Almost every business lists their nutrition info online. A quick check on your phone may help you avoid ordering the usual latte that contains 31 grams of sugar(Starbucks Caramel Flan Latte-12 oz).
6. Stay away from non- fat food. Big food companies add more sugar to make non-fat foods (which usually taste like cardboard and sawdust) more palatable. The lack of fat in a food means it’s less filling which translates to having to eat a lot more of it to feel satisfied. Unnaturally non-fat foods are ones that are processed which means nutrients are replaced with chemicals and additives. These food-industry science projects are just not worth it.
7. Ditch diet drinks. Not only are these sugarless “franken liquids” highly processed, most are laden with artificial sweeteners that are known to cause cancer and a host of other diseases. Worse, the brain cannot distinguish between sugar and a fake sweetener. If it detects sweetness, it expects calories. When the calories don’t come, guess who's going to go looking for that cookie?