Sugar and Its Effects
It seems like sugar-bashing is all the rage lately. Sugar-less diets and detoxes are everywhere, but I want to tell you something: Sugar isn’t evil. And trying to quit it 100% by using willpower can be super stressful.
Having said that, we have to look deeper at sugar and its effects on our bodies.
Absolutely too much of any kind of sugar, natural or not, is not good for our health. Yet we have a taste bud for sweet so we were designed for sweet things. What happens, though, is that we humans tend to eat far too much sugar or poor quality sweets. What it boils down to is that it’s the dose that makes the poison.
The American Heart Association recommends 32 g or less for men, and 24 g or less for women. If you look at coconut water (something that depending on the brand can be quite healthy), you’ll see that one tall can contain 24 g of sugar! If you were to drink that entire can, you’d have your daily allotment of sugar gone already. Sugar can be sneaky so it’s best we’re informed.
Instead of white-knuckling it to quit sugar, these are my favorite tips to have a better relationship with sweet.
My top 5 tips:
- Know how to read food labels. Check out my recent blog post that includes my short video short video here.
- Balance your blood sugar to help prevent physical sugar cravings by building Campfire Meals.
- Avoid artificial sugars. These artificial sweeteners can actually cause you to crave real sugar and can cause a cascade of negative metabolic effects in your body.
- Look a little deeper. What’s going on when you crave certain foods? Is there an emotional need you’re trying to fill? Notice if you crave sugar when you need more “sweetness” in your life. Next time you find yourself in the midst of a sugar craving, pause for a moment and bring more awareness to this craving. What are you feeling? What was going on in your day before this craving hit? The “pause strategy” can help you gain insight and begin to break the emotional need for sugar. The ultimate goal is to find new ways to fulfill this emotion besides food, drink, excess shopping or whatever you tend to lean on.
- Remember that not all sugar and sweets are created equal. I already mentioned artificial sweeteners, but natural sugars aren’t all the same either. For example, even powdered stevia can be highly processed, so be sure to read the ingredient list.
Want to go deeper in exploring your cravings? Grab my free 5 page CURB YOUR CRAVINGS Tip Sheet here.
So what are some better quality sweeteners?
My 3 favorite real food sweeteners are:
- Organic dates
- Raw local honey
- 100% pure organic maple syrup
Want my favorite dessert recipe? Chocolate avocado… It’s so good! I am also a huge fan of dark chocolate. Make sure your dark chocolate bars are at least 70% cacao, with 85% cacao or more preferred. The higher the cacao content the lower the sugar. And most importantly, a tiny amount fulfills my desire for sweet.
Want more dessert recipe ideas? Check out my Pinterest board for desserts.
The main takeaways
- The dose makes the poison. Keep your sugar intake at or below recommended levels.
- You can eat some sugar. Choose the best quality. Remember that sometimes 100% restriction can make us want it more!
- You’re human (and life is too dang short) to never have sugar.
- We were designed with a sweet taste bud and we’re meant to have sweetness in our lives.
The key is to be mindful of the amount and quality of of sugars you’re consuming and how food choices or emotions may be driving your cravings.
Have a question about sugars or sweeteners? Ask below.