Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sugar Addiction

Stress sometimes invokes our most comforting craving. Sugar. Sugar cravings can, of course, also come from nowhere and many people simply crave sugar all day, every day. To be your most healthiest self, getting a handle on your relationship with sugar is important.

By all accounts, many Americans have a serious issue with sugar. On average, we consume 21.4 teaspoons of added sugar each day. This adds up to an astounding 320 calories! A day. That many added calories in our diet each day will significant weight gain. So what can you do? Three things:
  1. Understand why you crave sugar.
  2. Be able to identify the many forms of sugar so you can avoid it.
  3. Choose other healthy options
Understanding Sugar Cravings
A craving for sugar is often a simple message from your body. When you crave sugar, your body craves energy and your wise body knows sugar will deliver the quick hit it desires. Digested sugar become glucose and glucose is the fuel for your cells.

Identifying Sugar
We can all identify the most obvious sources of sugar. Cakes, cookies, candy bars, ice creams are all laden with sugar. Unfortunately, added sugars also lurk in many popular foods. In fact, the flooding of processed, low-fat and non-fat "food" products in our culture has only added to the problem. Food manufacturers often use sugar, and its many forms, to fool us into thinking processed foods taste good. Sugar ends up in our foods under many names including: corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose and fructose. You've heard it before, read the labels, so you know what you're putting in your body. Or, to avoid the problem entirely, don't eat processed foods (aka things that come in boxes).

A note on sugar substitutes: Some people replace the real sugar in their diets with fake sweeteners like the many choices that come in blue, pink and yellow packets. There are also the more trendy sugar substitutues like agave and stevia. Should you substitute sugar with something else? Our philosophy is this: You are better off with whatever is as close to its natural form as possible. The things that come in packets are no better than other processed foods and are best avoided. If you want whole natural sweeteners use honey, maple syrup and the natural forms of stevia (green or brown).

Healthy Options
Sometimes a sugar craving is your body asking for something else. To identify more healthy options, it helps to understand what is really going on. Once you have a real understanding of what is going on, you're better able to select an option that will satisfy your sugar craving. Consider the following:

Often, if you take a few minutes to listen to the messages your body is sending, you'll be able to give it what it really needs and you'll be happier for it. Remember, every choice counts and you get to choose!

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