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Sugar. It's in everything these days and it's not good. This article will provide you with information on how sugar affects your diet and the differences between sugar that's ok for your diet and the sugar that isn't. Whether you're on a diet or just seeking nutritional information, the following information will be beneficial to you.
Over the last 25 years, our population has seen a significant increase in obesity. And, part of the reason for this was, amazingly enough the "low-fat" obsession we've seen over the last few years. Food manufacturers, in their quest to squeeze as much oil out of processed foods as possible - replace that fat with sugar in order to make reduced-fat foods tastier. Unfortunately, the net result has been an increase in sugar consumption from an average of 123 pounds per year, to an astronomical 160 pounds of sugar annually!
And it's not stopping. Our consumption of sugar keeps growing at nearly 2 percent per year. The problem is, on the spectrum of dietary dangers, processed sugars are right up there with unhealthy fats. And the problem is that our bodies are built to process all the sugar we take in.
Most dietary sugars are simple carbohydrates, which means they are made of one or two sugar molecules stuck together. Your body can easily take those molecules, pull them apart and digest them. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, are made up of long chains of molecules which takes your body longer to process. This is why your energy levels can spike, then crash when you ingest simple carbs, and why that doesn't happen when you have a plate full of veggies. The presence of naturally occurring fiber in complex carbs slows that sugar-release process even further.
So, replacing those "fast burning" sugars with "slow burning" ones allows your body to deal with the sugar you ingest in a much more effective way. But, how can you avoid the craving for "sweets", and avoid those refined carbs?
First, it's OK to have a little sugar in your diet. The FDA recommends no more than 10 grams per day (which is what you find in one soft drink) - about 2 teaspoons worth. So, if you have a little sugar through the day, that's OK. But if you feel the urge to eat something sweet, reach for some fruit. Fruits contain fructose - natural sugar, but also contain fiber and other nutrients that slow digestion.
Also, stay away from refined- carb breakfast cereals (even unsweetened cereals. Instead, start your morning with healthy proteins & fats, which leave you feeling full longer. Try peanut butter on whole grain English muffins. Maybe a fruit smoothie with protein powder.
Remember not to eat when you're stressed. When you feel stressed, your natural "flight or fight" response causes your body to speed up the breakdown of sugars in your body, because your body is packing glucose into your muscles as fast as it can to help you flee the situation.
And, if you're looking for an easy way to cut back - stop drinking soft drinks, the biggest source of sugar in the American diet today. Instead, try drinking tea - and if you want to sweeten it, try other, non-sugar sources such as Splenda or Stevia. (Stevia is a natural, calorie-free sweetener that comes from a South American shrub - you can find it at Trader Joe's, or supplement stores in both powder and liquid forms).
By moving away from a sugar-rich diet, you are taking a major step in not only feeling healthier, but you'll also reduce your body fat and loose weight. The sooner we break the addiction to sugar, the better off our bodies will be!
Bob Lachinet is the owner of Fitness 4 Home Superstore, a specialty fitness equipment dealer recently named the #1 choice for home fitness equipment in Arizona by BestFitnessDealers.com! Learn more about how sugar can affect your diet - visit our site today.