Your Sweet, Sweet Enemy
If you’re trying to lose weight, summer can be a dangerous time. One of your worst enemies lurks around virtually every corner. Sometimes, it approaches you with a friendly face and the promise of sweet times. Other times, it lurks in the shadows; unannounced and unnoticed. It entices you with memories of simpler days yet slowly and surely undermines your health until things can get very complicated, indeed.
Nutritionists tell us that added sugars are responsible for over 10% of calories the average American eats every day. As if that number isn’t scary enough, one out of ten Americans actually gets a quarter of their daily calories from added sugars alone. That’s not only a lot of empty calories; it is also a serious health risk.
A 15 year study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that study participants who obtained 25% or more of their calories from sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugars.
These researchers also reported the odds of dying from heart disease rose proportionally to the percentage of sugar in the diet. Physical activity level, body mass index, gender and age seemed to have no impact on these numbers. Across the board, more sugar consumption equaled more risk.
So, when we add increased risk of heart disease to a host of other known hazards of excess sugar consumption such as obesity, inflammation, tooth decay, increased blood pressure and elevated blood triglycerides, we’ve got plenty of reasons to lower our consumption of added sugars. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it might seem.
For instance, if you enjoy regular sodas, it might even be impossible.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume less than 100 calories of added sugar a day. That adds up to about 6 teaspoons per day. Men get a little more leeway on the sugar front. These same doctors set the male sugar quota at 150 calories of added sugar per day; about 9 teaspoons. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar. Do we see a problem here?
Sodas, cakes, cookies and ice cream are obvious sources of added sugars but others might not even come to mind without reading labels. Breads, condiments and sauces often hide surprisingly high amounts of sugar. If you’re hoping to get healthier and shed excess pounds by cutting back on added sugars, it can often seem the deck is stacked against you.
In hopes of helping you win the battle against this all too common weight loss enemy, we’ve put together a few tips to help lower sugar consumption and increase your weight loss.
Identify the Aliases
Sugar has more aliases than a secret agent or an international jewel thief. The many names of hidden sugar include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup, invert sugar, brown rice syrup, molasses, honey, dried cane syrup, sucrose and any other substance whose name ends in “ose.”
Read the Labels
When you are purchasing packaged foods, ingredients are listed by how much exists in the product. If one of the first three words is sugar or you see two or three of the sugar aliases mentioned above listed in the ingredients, you may want to think about putting that package back on the shelf.
Beware Liquid Traps
“Healthy” drinks can ruin your daily calorie count faster than you can consume your favorite candy bar. We already mentioned the danger of soda but did you know that many brands of iced tea contain as much sugar as a 12-ounce can of soda? Other liquid traps include store bought smoothies (about 12 teaspoons of sugar in a small serving), bottled coffees (about 8 teaspoons), “enhanced” waters (also about 8 teaspoons) and energy drinks (about 7 teaspoons).
Cut Back Slowly
Going “cold turkey” on sugar is an unrealistic goal for most people. If you are presently eating a sweetened yogurt, try mixing half of your present yogurt with an equal amount of unsweetened yogurt. Then, day by day, slowly adjusting the quantity in favor of the one without sugar until you appreciate the joys of yogurt sweetened only with the fresh fruits you’ve added. Likewise, if you presently add two packets of sugar to your morning coffee, try adding just one for a week. The following week, add just a half a packet. Taper down until you can go sugar-free.
Prepare for Temptation
While cutting back on your sugar consumption try to make sure you have a WonderSlim Snack Bar or other WonderSlim snack of your choice handy to ward off the temptation of the sugary snacks you’ll find in convenience stores and vending machines.
Persistence Pays Off
Weaning yourself off an addictive substance like sugar is not easy but is certainly worth the effort. In time, your taste buds will adjust and candies, cakes and other high-calorie diet catastrophes will lose their temptation value because you’ll find the taste cloying. As an added bonus, you’ll start noticing the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. This will not only make eating them more enjoyable but will also lead to better overall health.