What does that word bring to mind?
Costumes? Parties? Jack-o-Lanterns lighting up porches as you drive down the street?
Or, how about CANDY?!
There are gobs of candy within reach this time of year. So, how do you stay on a healthy track?
First of all, two sugar facts for you:
1. The United States is the largest consumer of sweeteners. The average American consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year!
The USDA recommends no more than 10 teaspoons per day of the sweet stuff. 100 pounds translates into approximately 30 teaspoons per day!
2. Sugar triggers the release of endogenous opiates, which can cause addictive behaviors.
Opiates = addictive. Some naturally occurring opiates – such as endorphins, aka “the feel-good hormone” – have been shown to cause addiction when released frequently. Processed sugar causes a “high” when it enters the bloodstream. Once this wears off, the opposite happens – you will feel tired, irritable, and down. The solution, reach for more sugar to get feeling better. Do you see the connection here?
(If you’d like to see some scientific research on this click here.)
Do you see why this white substance is often compared to others such as heroin and cocaine?
It is a legal, addictive drug that is allowed to be consumed every day!
Have you ever tried to quit sugar abruptly? Likely, you had a headache and felt exhausted, yes?
This is because your body is experiencing withdrawal symptoms – just like when people try to quit smoking or other drugs.
What to do?
The easiest thing to do is to stay away from it.
If you like to indulge a little (who doesn’t?), try to get less than 5 grams per meal. Pay attention to the labels on the foods you are buying – you might be shocked at how much even some foods commonly thought to be healthy have in them. Portion out your treats and exercise some willpower. You don’t really need to eat the whole candy bar now, do you?
Also – check the balance in the other foods you are eating. Are you getting enough protein? How about leafy greens?
You might be surprised to see what a little balance can do for you…