The studies are in, sugar is toxic to our bodies. Every little sweet nibble sending our taste buds into overdrive and our dopamine levels through the roof, is bad for us. Bad, bad, bad. While I hate to be the bearer of bad news, this can't actually come as a surprise, right? Deep down, we already knew this.
I know how my body feels when I consume higher levels of sugar than normal, it feels like crap. After the sugar rush is over, my body feels depleted and weak, most of the time I want to take a nap post-sugar crash. When I detoxed off of sugar in January, I honestly felt like I was detoxing off of a hard illegal substance. I was irritable. I spent one night from 5 in the afternoon until the morning with a pillow over my head, I was miserable, sensitive to noise, achy, and overwhelmed by a dull malaise. But when that detox phase was over and I was eating a diet free of processed sugars, I felt incredible.
With the new studies confirming what my gut instinct may have already told me, how do we use this information to make informed decisions?
Sugar is not going away from my house, it's simply not. Here's the bigger problem to me, the appearance of sugar in items we don't even think of containing sugar. Ketchup, pasta sauce (that's just all sorts of wrong), crackers, bread, peanut butter, the list goes on. If we are not consciously recognizing all the small doses of sugar we are eating through out the day (snuck into foods we don't think are "sweet") then when we do choose to have a special treat, it's just overload on our bodies. The sugar consumption is taking a toll on American's health.
Our first line of defense, is keeping our EYES WIDE OPEN to what items come into the house already containing sugar. I will not purchase any food products for our home that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, not one. I also think HFCS is not the only culprit, we need to look at sugar in all forms that sneak into our foods. Organic processed foods are not the solution, they are just made with an organic form of sugar (note: STILL TOXIC). Pay close attention to food labels and make sure when you do recognize sugar as an ingredient it's not in the first 5 ingredients, as the list starts with the item it contains the most of.
Here's a partial list of forms of sugar, there are probably over 50 easily:
2. Brown Sugar
3. Cane Sugar or Juice
4. Brown Rice or Rice Bran Syrup
5. Beet Sugar
6. Malt Syrup
7. High Fructose Corn Syrup
13. Date Sugar
14. Barley Malt
16. Maple Syrup
If I consider my job to be the first line of defense in keeping unhealthy food items away from my family, then I have take the job seriously. I tow the line, no super processed foods, no GMO's, no hydrogenated oils, no crazy artificially colored foods, no HFCS, no junk (we call it what it is). I have conversations about food with my children, ALL THE TIME. We make choices together. We are huge fans of fresh fruit for dessert with a square of dark chocolate. Our love of dark chocolate is not being sidelined anytime soon. I let my girls choose treats all the time and I am always amazed when they ask for a banana with peanut butter and some semi-sweet chocolate chips for dessert over cookies we have in our pantry.
Everyday we chose what to consume, some days are better than others, but the bottom line is to make wise informed choices. Your body will thank you...
Here are the 2 pieces featured on 60 Minutes last Sunday: