I am so excited to feature one of my very first guest bloggers: the fabulous, the fit, and always sweet, Carolyn Fallon of fullonfit.blogspot.com
Kick the Sugar
Many people have a taste for sweets (who doesn’t??) and several foods are often more flavorful with added sugar, a safe and enjoyable substance. As with many things, consuming too much sugar can pose a problem. When used in moderation, this popular ingredient and source of energy is healthy but it may have a negative effect on your health if used in excess.
You may find sugar in different types and forms and it may be used in its natural state like in fruits as fructose or in milk as lactose. As a widely used ingredient, sugar added to prepared foods plays a role in enhancing flavor, color and texture to foods as well as acting as a preservative. Sugars may be nutritive like brown sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup and honey or nonnutritive like artificial sweeteners that have little or no calories.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Sugar
Eating a healthy diet involves having foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole foods while reducing fats, sugars and processed foods. It is believed that many people consume more than twice the healthy daily requirement. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily calorie allowance for sugar is about 100 calories or 6 teaspoons for women and 150 calories or 9 teaspoons for men.
Added sugars contain calories with no nutritional value, but they are not harmful to your body when used in moderation. Although high sugar consumption may not directly cause health problems, it does have some negative effects, including:
- •Increased threat of heart disease and high blood pressure due to high levels of blood triglycerides or bad cholesterol and low HDL’s (bad cholesterol)
- •Weight gain and obesity that results from unhealthy diets consisting of excess sugars and body fat as well as lack of physical activities. These health problems are major risk factors for other health issues. Dr. William Graber of St. Joseph’s Hospital claims that over 61% of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.
- •Type II diabetes, which may result from insulin resistance due to ongoing sugar rush from sweetened beverages
- •A strong connection to cancer based on the link of increased insulin levels and high sugar consumption.
Tips for Cutting Back on Sugar Consumption
To improve your overall health, decreasing the amount of sweeteners and added sugars to foods is a must. However, this change in diet should be done gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some helpful strategies to limit sugar are as follows:
- Be aware of sugar sources and amounts for processed foods such as sodas and cereals
- Add less sugar or use artificial sweeteners in beverages and drink water and unsweetened iced tea
- Use fresh or dried fruits in cereals and oatmeal
- Buy fresh fruits or canned fruits in natural juices or water
- Limit sugar in baking recipes and instead use unsweetened applesauce and other spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon
- Eat more natural foods that contain sugar and are nutritious.
It is important to limit sugars in your diet to help cut major risk factors and side effects of some serious health problems such as heart disease and obesity. Kick the sugar! Start with your morning coffee and eliminate the added sugar. Stick to fruit and veggies and opt for water instead of sugary soda’s- it’s never too late to start!
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!