Is it just me, or did this year fly by?! How can it already be the end of 2017?! With that said, it is also the last week of our Newsletter series How to Make Healthy Living a Lifestyle – and for setting you up for a Successful New Year.
So, how are you feeling? Are you ready to turn these changes into a lifestyle? If you have been following along from the beginning, then you should be feeling pretty darn good right about now – even if you have indulged a little more than you probably should have ;)
[If you haven’t, you can always check out our previous Tips on our BLOG.]
I know the New Year often encourages us to set up some personal Resolutions, but as you’ve probably figured out by now – those don’t work! Any changes you make need to be “lifestyle changes” and are the only way you are truly going to stick with them.
With that said, let’s get right into our final Tip so you’ll be feeling like you got this whole “New Year’s Resolution thing” in the bag J.
Tip #8 – Eat Less Sugar
Yeah, I said it. You need to eat less sugar. We all do. Even if you ignore the past month of candy, cookies, cocktails and cake, and just consider what you eat in an average week during the year, you consume a whole heck of a lot of sugar – much of which you don’t even realize! Did you know that 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains almost 4 grams? Or that a Grande Chai Latte from Starbucks contains a whopping 42 grams of sugar?! This is well over the amount you should consume in an entire day!
In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that women should eat no more than 100 calories per day of sugar (six teaspoons; or 20 grams) and that men should only eat up to 150 calories per day (about nine teaspoons; or 36 grams). And children, they should consume no more than 12 grams per day; that’s only 3 teaspoons!
However, the average American adult consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) every day. That translates into about 66 pounds of added sugar consumed each year, per person!* And it’s said that kids under the age of 12 eat a whopping 49 pounds! That’s more than my 5-year old son even weighs!
This isn’t all that surprising though when you consider that even a bag of Organic Fruit Snacks contains 11 grams! See, just because it says Organic, doesn’t mean it’s healthy – but that subject is for a different day…
Now back to sugar.
According to the American Heart Association, there are two types of sugars found in our diets: those that are truly natural and come from foods like fruit and vegetables, and then those that are considered added sugars which include such things as white sugar, brown sugar, honey, chemically manufactured sugars like high fructose corn syrup and even artificial sweeteners (ie, those little blue, pink and yellow packets that you see at coffee shops). All of these various added sugars can be found in foods like sodas, fruit drinks (including juices and smoothies), cakes, candy, cookies, ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and even such things as breads, cereals, muffins, etc.
Some common names for added sugars that you may see on a Nutritional Label include:
These are the sugars that will “sneak” up on you and should be avoided as much as possible.
But then what about those naturally occurring sugars? Are they OK to eat? Do they count towards the daily max? Well, sort of. Yes, the sugars you find in fruit are much better than those that are added into other foods, thanks to the extra amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber you’ll get along with these whole foods. Real strawberries are much better than a Strawberry Shake from your favorite fast-food joint, for example, since it literally has no health benefits whatsoever! And no, just because it has the word “strawberry” in the name does not mean it’s healthy!
Unfortunately, the fructose in fruit can quickly add up too and can still affect your waistline if you eat too many – not to mention the harsh side-effects for those that suffer from diabetes or other sugar sensitive diseases.
Then there are those fruits that contain more sugars than others: ie, a banana has much more than a handful of blackberries does. And you’ll ingest much more sugar grams from dried fruits then you will from whole fruits, because they don’t contain water so they are much easier to down (and I bet you’d eat a lot more raisins than you would grapes, am a right?).
In fact, many foods that you think would be healthy are truly anything but! In fact, many of them contain more sugar than you should consume in a whole day!
Here is a list of some of those high sugar foods:
If you want to know which other foods have hidden sugar, read the labels. And when in doubt, remember: eating real food in its original form, such as a piece of fruit is always better than in its processed or broken down form, ie. fruit juice.
So now on to how to reduce sugar intake.
Sugar is an addiction and for some, can be much harder to reduce than one would hope. Like most things in life, this change takes commitment but with a few simple steps, you’ll be able to reduce your sugar – and subsequently your risk of diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity – in no time!
9 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Sugar Intake:
Sugar is one of those foods that the less you eat, the less you’ll crave – seriously! In fact, if you stop eating it and start turning to naturally sweet foods, you’ll quickly realize that those other sweeteners that you used to enjoy are way too sweet now!
Don’t believe me?! Try it!! Give it 3 weeks! Or even just 1 if you don’t think you can go that long! Yes, the first 3-5 days may seem like hell as your body begins to detox itself, but just hold strong for a couple more days and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!
You CAN do it!!!
I truly hope that you’ve enjoyed this Newsletter series and have been able to make some simple [and lasting] changes to take into the New Year! No one is going to take care of yourself like you can – and you only have one body so treat it well!
Have a very Happy New Year and I look forward to bringing you even more great tips throughout 2018 – as I truly hope this is going to be [all] of OUR best year yet!