The average American consumes approximately one third of a pound of sugar each day, translating into nearly 130 pounds of sugar per person every year. As a nation sugar usage exceeds 9 million tons a year. Fruit has good sugar. Product is your best bet when it comes to satisfying that sugar craving. It's also packed with fiber which helps you feel fuller longer. Fruits also have the added benefit of plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. But the real question is how much is too much?
Sugar is nearly impossible and unnecessary to remove completely from ones diet. Sugar is naturally found in most foods, however avoidance of refined process sugar is key to a healthier lifestyle. Try to decrease the number of steps between the original food source and your table. For instance instead of eating candy when craving something sweet, choose a piece of fruit. Fruit is a natural source of sugar paired with fiber, which will keep you full longer and improve digestion.
But what is the actual amount you should eat?
A good rule of thumb I live by is to not exceed 7 grams of sugar per food item. If there is more than that in something you're eating, cut down the portion or choose a different item. This is why cooking is such a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle because YOU control the ingredients.
A reduced-sugar diet has many benefits including weight loss, reduction in risk for diabetes, and decreased risk of heart disease. A new study actually found that switching out just one sugary soda per day for water, or unsweetened coffee or tea – could lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, by 25%. The findings are based on detailed food diaries from over 25,000 middle-aged and older British adults. When the study started all participants were diabetes-free, but almost 1000 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by study end. Overall, the study found that the more sugary soda people consumed, the higher their risk of developing diabetes. There was an increased risk of diabetes by about 22% for every extra daily serving.
But the question is what sugars are healthier options for us? Many alternative options are available now such a Stevia Sugar (made from the Stevia plant) and coconut sugar. The key is focus on what you're pairing the sugars you consume with.
1. Pair sugar with fiber: Eating sugar along is where we run into trouble. An example may be have an apple a handful of almonds. This actually helps with how sugar is absorbed in the blood stream which is extremely important. Why, you ask? Foods high in sugar increases levels of blood sugar and insulin. Extreme highs and lows when it comes to insulin and blood sugar can cause inflammatory responses that can lead to chronic diseases like cancer. Instead, if the sugar is absorbed much slower, it leads to a soft hump rather than a massive spike.
Sugar rule: Eat, don't drink: Drinking soda or diet soda which has artificial sweeteners is never going to be a healthy option. Treat soda as a dessert, only enjoying it once in awhile. But for your daily diet, consuming sugars should come from foods, not drinks. These are empty calories and will do nothing for your digestive system and certainly won't satisfy you.