Most of us indulge in sweet treats, but how do you know if you’re on the verge of becoming a sugar addict? The American Heart Association recommends “limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than about six teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s about nine teaspoons per day.”
Are you thinking that this amount of sugar is far more than you consume each day? Read on to become a sugar expert (and avoid becoming a sugar addict).
Calories And Sugar
So, how many calories are in a teaspoon of sugar? According to The Sugar Association, the correct answer to this question is approximately 15 calories. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you begin to realize what foods have added sugars, you’ll soon see that you can easily surpass the recommended daily allowance.
When grocery shopping, do you buy a product because it looks delicious or it’s on sale? Do you buy it because it’s the usual brand you purchase? Take this one step further and read the ingredients on the label. Most processed foods contain some form of added sugar. The trick is to know what other words manufacturers use that really mean added sugar. These can include: high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, sucrose, fructose, glucose, corn sweetener, lactose, and dextrose.
Clean Your Cupboards
Now that you know the various names a manufacturer will use for sugar, it’s time to clean house. Go through your pantry and discard foods that have high added sugar contents. Pay close attention to packaged and processed foods, as many of them will fall into this category.
Many consumers don’t realize that their energy drinks, fruit juices and sodas contain high amounts of added sugar. Did you know that a 12 ounce can of regular soda has up to nine teaspoons of sugar in it? When you read through the ingredients you’ll see it under the alias of high-fructose corn syrup.
Three Meals a Day
One of the worst things you can do for your body is to deprive it of eating regular meals. Be consistent with your mealtimes and choose foods that include protein and fiber. These types of nutrients will help you feel satisfied longer, and can reduce your desire to reach for something filled with sugar.
When you’re craving sweets, turn to something with natural sugars. Grab an apple, a pear, some grapes, or a variety of mixed berries. Fruit has natural sugars in it and can be a fantastic alternative to sugary treats. It satisfies your sugar craving without the addition of processed sugars.
Depending upon the type of drink, you may be consuming a lot of extra sugar those after-work cocktails. What are the worst culprits of the happy hour world? The answer is liqueurs and mixers, such as soda and juices. Wine or distilled liquors with a sugarless mixer (like soda water) are your healthiest options.
Do you experience that mid-day tired feeling and reach for something sweet to boost your energy level? If so, next time try getting up and going for a fifteen minute walk. Choose any activity that will allow you to focus your attention elsewhere. You may find that after the time is up, your craving has also disappeared.
Breaking the Habit
Can you actually create a habit of eating sugary foods? The answer is yes. For example, if you have dessert every day after lunch, and again after dinner, your body and brain come to expect it. It is up to you to change this routine. Start by eliminating one dessert per day. Re-train your body and your mind, to desire healthier alternatives.
If you enjoy a sweet treat, which most of us do, the key is to do so in moderation. Be selective with your choices and take time to enjoy them. Slowing down and savoring each bite will also help you feel more satisfied.
The next time you pick up something that is full of sugar and empty calories, pause and remember what the Bible tells us.
Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31
Your consumption choices are a reflection to the glory of God, so choose wisely.