It may seem like avoiding sugar is a simple task, but what may surprise you is how artfully hidden it is in most processed foods. Here’s a helpful guide on how to cut unnatural sugar from your diet and why it’s beneficial to you.
Where Does Sugar Lurk?
A whopping 74 percent of all packaged foods contain excess amounts of sugar, and these aren’t just cookies pies and cakes; these include packaged breads, sauces, condiments and in general foods that aren’t ordinarily considered sweet. What makes sugar so deceitful are its aliases – it’s often disguised by names like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, and over 50 others – and because of this it’s often difficult to identify in food products, even those that market themselves as healthy or low-fat.
The Risks of Too Much Sugar
Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to a slew of life-threatening conditions. It’s the sugar hidden in processed foods that it’s recommended you avoid – not the natural sugars found in fruits, for example, because they are balanced in nutrients and aren’t metabolized in your body as quickly and then properly converted into a sustained source of energy. The sugar that comes in processed food is disproportionate to the food’s nutrients, and thus, metabolizes more quickly than your body is meant to handle. This poses a major threat to essential organs like the liver and heart, over time leading to liver damage and heart disease. Excessive amounts of sugar can also inhibit the production of insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar in the body) leading to diabetes.
Cutting Sugar Out and Detoxing
When you uncover the truth behind sugar, cutting it out is much easier said than done (knowing is only half the battle, after all), but how do you start your detox? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
Pay Attention to What’s In Your Food
If you decide you just want to cut back, try not to exceed 25g of sugar per day – to do this, it’s imperative that you pay close attention to what’s in your prepackaged foods. Thoroughly read nutrition labels, and be on the lookout for ingredients ending in “-ose” – it’s likely a sugar additive. Additionally, be on the lookout for foods that are labeled “unsweetened” or “no sugar added,” these are your best bets.
Don’t Skip Meals
For habitual meal skippers, making time for three square meals is essential, as you’re less likely to overeat foods that are likely high in sugar content over the course of the day.
Do Skip Artificial Sweeteners
Research suggests a correlation between artificial sweeteners and weight gain, and frankly, they will never come close to the real thing in regard to taste and are utterly deficient in nutrition.
Incorporate Proteins and Omega-3 Foods into Your Diet
Proteins are what provide you with sustained sources of energy, so while you may be craving sugar, your body is telling you that it needs something much different. Try foods that are rich in omega 3s, like fatty fish, nuts and leafy vegetables. You’ll get the energy boost you need from these proteins without the crash that comes from sugar.
Incorporate Natural Sugars into Your Diet
Remember: not all sugars are created equal. An effective sugar detox eliminates processed sugars, not natural ones. The natural sugars you find in fruits are balanced with a slew of other nutrients for sustained energy production.
To Get You Started
On the first day of your detox, you’re definitely going to want to down this smoothie for breakfast. It’s incredibly rich in protein, and energy and mood boosting fruits like banana, blueberry and avocado. The secret to this smoothie, however, is spirulina: a freshwater plant that’s also a superfood. Spirulina offers a range of benefits that will make starting your detox a little easier.
- ½ banana
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¼ avocado
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 scoop of WellPath Vanilla Protein Powder
Blend ingredients and enjoy.