Quit sugar now and solve most of your health problems. Right? But how much truth is there behind these claims? Do you really need to go cold turkey?
We’ve heard it time and time again. Sugar is addictive, it’s bad for your health, it ages your skin, it destroys your teeth. Not to mention how confusing it has become to trace added sugars and their weird names (glucose, sucrose, corn syrup, fructose, etc).
Sugar is in everything, from desserts to sauces to fruits and vegetables. And yet it has become a public enemy, much like fat did a couple of years ago. But let’s be clear, sugar is not going to make you sick. In fact, demonizing it may be worse than we thought as more and more people become obsessively scared of sugar in all its forms. Yet what causes health problems is the excessive consumption of sugar, specifically added sugar and not all sugar.
How much is too much?
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended sugar intake is about 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25g (6 teaspoons) for women a day. Children should not consume more than 12 g (3 teaspoons per day). In calories, that translates as less than 10% of your overall intake. Public Health England also recommends consuming no more than 30g per day for adults.
However, the average sugar intake is anywhere between 50 and 77 grams per day, depending on age. Roughly twice as much as recommended by a health specialist.
So is it sugar that causes our problems or, actually our inability to stop when we have to?
Going cold turkey may not be the best choice for everyone. You have to find what works for you. You may choose to continue to make those lovely cupcakes, following grandma’s recipe, just remember sugary desserts are there for special occasions, to be shared with friends and family. Definitely not for every day.
Enjoy your dessert! The key is to sit down and have your dessert mindfully. If you know you can have something, the “forbidden fruit” effect goes away.
Trying to stay away from all sugar is also impossible as fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods out there and they also contain sugar. To avoid it, you would have to give up... well, a LOT of foods.
Beware of the hidden sugar
It may come as a surprise, but you are likely to find sugar in almost any supermarket product; from fat-free yogurt to potato chips.
A can of soda contains about 12 grams of sugar, nearly half of your daily allowance. Some brands of bread have as much as 2 teaspoons per slice!
Get used to reading product labels carefully, and keep in mind that ingredients are usually listed by quantity. In other words, if sugar is the first ingredient; what you are actually holding in your hand is mainly sugar.
And this is the real issue. We consume lots of sugars without knowing it, and then shy away from a fruit salad, whilst the solution is to simply stay away from processed foods.
Check out our recommendations for alternatives to refined sugar: