It is not hard to notice, no matter what country you live in, that there is a noticeable shift in government initiatives and the food industry as a whole to try and reduce the amount of sugar in our diets. In the UK last year, a new sugar tax was introduced tax on soft drinks with a total sugar content over 5g per 100ml. And as the year progressed, more and more sugary drinks were removed from hospital cafeterias, shops and vending machines. In 2019, most hospitals are going one step further and are part of a voluntary scheme to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10 per cent or less of sold beverages. Although these actions are all going in the right direction, in my opinion they are long overdue.....and there is still more work to be done!
We all know sugar is NOT a health food. It isn’t full of nutrition, and excess consumption is not associated with great health. The problem is that sugar is everywhere.
Although the primary concern relates to all of the "added sugar” in foods these days, the over-consumption of naturally occurring sugar is also a stumbling block for many looking to lose weight, manage their Diabetes and improve their health overall. Excess sugar consumption, whatever the source is a significant contributor to a number of chronic diseases we see today; primarily cancer, heart disease and gum disease.
In addition to wreaking havoc with our blood-sugar levels and our hormones, sugar is inflammatory. This means anyone struggling with painful joints, digestive distress, asthma or any other inflammatory condition, is going to struggle to get relief unless the level of sugar they consume is significantly reduced. Sugar is also a source of food for yeast and bad bacteria living within the body which is why so many people struggle to overcome inflammation and digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating because they are feeding the very organisms that are responsible for the issues.
But what do you do if you can't seem to stay away from the white, sweet stuff? Sometimes it feels like it has a magnetic power stronger than our willpower will ever be!
Well a very important, first step is to consider a short-term, natural detoxification programme based on clean, wholefoods. When done correctly, a short-term detox is safe, healthy and simple to follow and before you know it you will be well on your way to breaking your addiction to sugar.
So exactly how much sugar is considered to be too much?
Before we talk about the “official” numbers (and why I don’t agree with them), you need to know the difference between “added” sugar and “naturally occurring” sugar.
Fruit and other healthy whole foods contain "naturally occurring" sugar. They also contain water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. They are good for you. Eating fruits and vegetables is a well-proven way to reduce your risks of many chronic diseases.
“Added sugars,” on the other hand, are concerning. In 2013, the American Heart Association calculated that about 25,000 deaths per year were due to sweetened beverages. “Added sugars” are also in baked treats, sweets, soups, sauces and other processed foods. You can find sugar on the ingredient list of almost every packaged food in one way, shape or form. The problem is, sugar is often hidden within long names that are often hard to pronounce! Essentially, any word ending in “-ose.” is a form of sugar. These include glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, etc.
So, "Total sugars" = "Naturally occurring sugars" + "Added sugars."
In 2008, the average daily total sugar intake in the US was over 75g/day which is way too high. Unfortunately, what doesn't help is that labels are not declaring the amount of "total" sugar but only declaring the amount of added sugar. Guidelines have decided on a maximum of 50 g of “added” sugar each day. Unfortunately, this is still more than the American Heart Association’s recommended maximum of 24g/day added sugar for women, and 36 g/day added sugar for men.
What is a better daily sugar goal?
While these official numbers are a step in the right direction, they’re not what I would recommend.
First, I’d ditch as many processed and artificial convenience foods as possible, regardless of their sugar content. There are a ton of studies that show that processed foods are bad for your health for so many other reasons such as artificial, chemical ingredients and very limited nutritional value so you are only going to benefit if you cut these dreaded non-foods out of your diet altogether. Instead, you want to stay within your recommended daily value” of sugar from natural, wholefood sources instead because you will get the additional benefit of vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients. This is where your fruits should come in so don't be afraid of fruit when it comes to sugar.
Second, whatever the daily recommended allowance is touted as being, strive to come in well below this number anyway! Sugar does not provide anything you NEED for health so the less the better!
So now is the perfect time to detox yourself from your sugar addiction! Below are some of my most popular recommendations to help you reduce your sugar intake so you can fall under the recommended guidelines.
● Reduce (or eliminate) sugar-sweetened beverages; this includes pop, juices, sweetened coffee/tea, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc. Instead, drink fruit-infused water. Or try drinking your coffee/tea "black" or with a touch of cinnamon or vanilla instead.
● Reduce (or eliminate) your desserts and baked goods and bake your own instead. You can easily reduce the sugar in a recipe by half or try a healthier sugar substitute such as honey, xylitol or maple syrup in smaller quantities. Check out my delicious dessert recipe below and discover just how tasty no-sugar-added desserts can still be!
● Instead of a granola bar (or other sugary snack), try whole fruit or dried fruit, a handful of nuts, or veggies with hummus. These are easy grab-and-go snacks if you prepare them in a “to-go” container the night before.
For a more in-depth discussion about your individual health concerns and to gain clarity on the next best steps available to you, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE YOUR FREE STRATEGY SESSION TODAY.
Recipe (No added sugar): Frosty
¾ cup almond milk (unsweetened)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
½ banana, frozen
1. Add everything into a blender except ice.
2. Blend thoroughly
3. Add a handful of ice cubes and pulse until thick and ice is blended.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Double the recipe to share :)