Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in foods such as fruits, grains, beans, and vegetables. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends that women limit sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day and men to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day. When not processed, sugar contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and proteins. Refined table sugar, also called sucrose, lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber and therefore requires extra effort from the body to digest.
Instead of providing nutrition to the body, it increases deficiency and wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels, causing fatigue, depression, tiredness, and exhaustion. Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance because eating even a small amount creates a craving for more, and because suddenly stopping sugar causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of excess sugar consumed in the United States, the recommended consumption of sugar is 9 teaspoons per day for men, and six for women. However, the average American consumes 40 kilos of sugar a year (that’s about 30 teaspoons a day).
Sugar is included in many foods that are not even “sweet,” so it can be difficult to control 100 percent of the sugar you consume. Obviously, preventing diabetes and obesity requires a more profound lifestyle change than drinking coffee without sugar, but if you find yourself consuming as much sugar as the average American, control the sugar that you add to your meals and drinks is a good place to start.
Apply these 5 recommendations to reduce sugar in your diet:
- Eliminate sugary drinks. Not just sodas, but also processed juices.
- Reduce the consumption of processed foods, consume more raw foods, try mixing the colors of fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce carbohydrates, remember to implement the consumption of complex carbohydrates, that is, substitute bread and pasta for: sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc.) and whole cereals such as oats, chia seeds , sunflower seeds, walnuts, etc.
- Reduce the amount of “hidden sugars”. Many foods with labels that contain less fat but in return, have more sugar. Pay attention to food ingredient lists and look for suitable substitutes.
- Drink more water.
Reducing the amount of sugar in the diet can help you reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, avoid inflammation, in general a healthier life.