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Kick Sugar to the Curb

My friends and family know that I love sweets! When eating out, I have been known to scope out the dessert menu in restaurants before reading the list of entrees. I know how sugar can get a hold on you and I am here to offer suggestions on how to loosen the grip. First, some background

info...Our bodies need sugar for energy, brain function and metabolism, but sugar is a carbohydrate and when we eat too much, it is stored as fat. Excess sugar also saps important minerals from our bones, making them weaker, causes wrinkles in our skin and can overload the liver with fat. Excess sugar can trigger insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, risk of stroke, dementia and more. So what is "excess sugar"? There are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. The suggested daily intake of sugar is up to 8-10 grams for an adult and 6 grams for kids. A typical 8 ounce glass of OJ has up to 26 grams of sugar. That's more than 6 teaspoons!!! (About 3 times what is considered acceptable for the entire day).

Sugar stimulates the production of the feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin, which can cause us to want to continue to feel good by eating more sugar. That's how cravings for sweets come about. How do we deal with that? Read on...

When you crave something sweet, eat fruit with fiber like apples, oranges, all berries or grapes.

The fiber benefits digestion and doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar.

Read labels on bottled sauces, dressings, boxed and processed foods of any kind. Look for the grams of sugar per serving. Also understand that cane juice, maltose, fructose, galactose and lactose are all names for sugar.

Eat whole foods in the natural form to avoid added sugar and chemicals. By this I mean eat an apple instead of apple sauce or apple juice.  Some suggestions for foods :

Almonds, nuts and seeds

Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, bok choy

Veggies, beans, lentils

Plain unsweetened yogurt in your smoothies

If you need to sweeten a dish when you are cooking at home, reach for real maple syrup or honey...they both have antioxidant disease fighting properties.

They say awareness is the first step in transformation. Now that you are aware of the down side of sugar, isn't it worth a try to kick it to the curb?



Patty Kelley