Written By: Sara Jensen
If there was just one health tip that I would give, it would be to first figure out how much sugar you consume in a day, and then work on decreasing your sugar intake. So many times we think we “need” sugar for a little energy boost. Sugar can create a quick energy boost, but in a short time it will be digested and leave us feeling even less energetic than we did before the quick snack. Hence the sugar cycle starts and we find it hard to quit reaching for that quick energy boost. The damage that too much sugar is doing on the inside is something that may not be seen for many years. However, with time, our blood sugar rises until we reach the point of being diagnosed with either pre-diabetes or even full blown Type II Diabetes. Type II Diabetes is one of the most preventable diseases in America, yet so many suffer from the many health complications of the disease.
The average American consumes about 94 grams of sugar per day. The recommendation for daily sugar intake is 25-30 grams for women and 30-35 grams for men. This translates to roughly 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar per day. All food labels list sugar in grams, so knowing the guidelines can be very helpful when keeping track of your daily sugar intake. Another way for you to find out is to use the My Fitness Pal food tracker for a few days. There are many food tracker apps, but MFP definitely has the best data base for food and gives you a very detailed report of your daily food consumption.
Label reading really is so important as there are so many hidden sugars in food. Many processed food products are very high in sugar. For example, some brands of yogurt and spaghetti sauce can actually have very high amounts of sugar. There are other brands with less sugar, but you do have to take the time to check the label before deciding to make that purchase. Cream in your coffee can actually add quite a bit of increased sugar to your diet. 1 tablespoon of regular liquid creamer can add 5 grams to your daily total. One 12 oz can of Mountain Dew contains 46 grams of sugar and a short caramel brulee latte at Starbucks contains 25 grams of sugar. My point is it doesn’t take very much to reach your recommended daily sugar intake. If you are looking for ways to cut back on sugar, one way to start is analyzing what you are drinking and see if perhaps cutting back would be beneficial for you.
Many of my clients have found immediate benefits from decreasing sugar intake. The brain fog tends to decrease, energy tends to actually increase, some find improved sleep and for many even weight- loss can occur. These are all really great motivators and it is the long-term benefit of decreasing your chances of developing Type II Diabetes that can in fact be the most life changing. Below is a link to a video that explains what happens to our blood glucose/insulin levels when we consume too much sugar.