I first learned about sugar and its health impacts around 2017. When I found out, I was in shock. I could not believe how much sugar I was eating. Likewise, I could not believe the lengths that companies would go to hide the sugar content. People need to be knowledgeable about this so we can outsmart this. Because... I truly believe knowledge is power. Let's stop eating sugar and learn how to outsmart these marketers with knowledge.
I started researching more about sugar in 2017. Literally, everything I was eating had sugar in it.
Breakfast... it was there. Lunch, I found it again. Also, in my dinner. This sugar was EVERYWHERE.
No wonder I was crashing quickly, usually before 12. And... I only have the energy for that certain amount of time. After lunch or around 2 PM... forget it. My energy was toast. But I still had kids to teach.
That dreaded brain fog hit most days around 2 PM. I remember blaming it on having to teach reading to 5-year-olds. Which is exhausting by the way. But I made that an excuse for my poor choices. What a shame!
I needed to figure out how to stop eating sugar and stop making these little awesome 5-year-olds an excuse.
Where I Found Sugar
I learned how to read food labels and went from there. Unfortunately, this made me disgusted. Because what was labeled healthy was full of sugar. As a result, I had to go against the grain of what I was taught about nutrition. I had to do the complete opposite!
Cereal, yogurt, protein bars, and sports drinks just to name a few. I considered these healthy choices. As a result, I thought I was doing the right thing. But... I wasn't.
These "healthy" options are FILLED with sugar.
And sports drinks? Why in the world are we giving athletes a drink filled with sugar? Because athletes need a high dose of electrolytes. And it's advertised that they will get it from those drinks. Which I'm not saying they don't. But an athlete burns sugar way faster because of their activity. Then comes the crash, quickly. We need to be fueling our athletes with much better electrolyte options. Not sugar-filled drinks that are bad for anyone's health.
Why You Should Stop Eating Sugar
Eating sugar is the worst thing you can do for your body. It causes very serious health concerns and has a large impact on your overall well-being.
The bad cells in your gut LOVE sugar. Let's put this in perspective.
Imagine your dog waiting for a treat. Wagging its tail. Then, think of how excited the dog gets when he gets a treat, gobbling it away. And if your dog is anything like mine, he is never satisfied. In other words, he's a bottomless pit!
Think of bad cells like a dog wanting a treat. Always waiting and then gobbling the sugar up as fast as it can... waiting for more.
Sugar feeds the bad cells, making them stronger than the good cells in your gut. The bad cells are what contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay.
Here's a mind-blowing fact. If this doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. According to Dr. Amen, an amazing man who works with the brain, On average, a typical American will eat about 150 pounds of sugar a year. That's 150 pounds of sugar feeding those bad cells. In other words, you can say those bad cells are constantly being fed everything they want.
Sugar naturally occurs in fruits such as apples. But the danger here is ADDED sugars. (aka fake sugars put in products to get you to crave it more and ultimately spend more).
So, how do you stop eating sugar? By becoming aware of it. Because knowledge is power.
Here are some things to look out for. There are many others. But it's too much to write in one post. Talk about info overload. I'll be sure to write more on it later time. But start with these. Embrace them and learn them.
Don't Believe the Low-Fat Myth
We have been told that ALL fat is bad for us. Because we have been told this, companies have found a way to sell their products. By creating a low-fat option.
But guess what replaces the fat? SUGARS. Low-fat options are filled with sugars. Most of the time double the amount of what a full-fat option has.
And guess what feeds bad cells that contribute to obesity? Sugar. So you are getting a low-fat option thinking it is healthy. Likewise, you think it will help you maintain your weight. But in reality, it can cause you to gain weight because of the sugar feeding those cells.
I encourage you to go to the store and read the labels. Find the sugar content and compare a low-fat product versus a full-fat product. See what you find.
However, these ALL fat is bad myth is not true. Our brain needs healthy fats to function properly. We need saturated and unsaturated fats to survive. Both of these fats are found naturally, in nature. Full-fat butter, full-fat milk, coconut oil, and dark chocolate are part of saturated fats. Unsaturated fats provide you with brain-healthy vitamins such as Omega-3 and Omega-6. Salmon, nuts, eggs, and chicken are good sources of unsaturated fats.
It's trans fat that is BAD for you. It's not found in nature. In other words, it's human-made and heavily processed. Prepackaged foods and fast foods are two of the biggest culprits of trans fats. Because it's cheaper and it makes food last longer.
Our brain needs healthy fats to function properly but we feed it with sugar. Then, wonder why we have no energy.
Stop Eating Sugar For Breakfast
You may not even be aware of how much sugar you eat for breakfast.
But... breakfast items are one of the worst things on the market when it comes to added sugar.
Typically, many people like to grab and go when it comes to breakfast. We are all running out the door because the kids overslept. Or they threw a fit because they didn't want to go to school. Maybe there's only one bathroom in the house which makes it hard to get ready on time.
A lot of things happen in the morning and a lot of times breakfast gets pushed aside. In other words, a grab and go muffin.
Maybe you have just enough time to make a bowl of cereal, or toast, a slice of bread, or bagel. Maybe you are throwing some granola on top of that low-fat yogurt.
All of these products position themselves as healthy. Because the marketers know what they're doing and how they can get people. But these products are not healthy at all.
When eating sugar in the morning, you'll be hungry by 11... if not sooner.
I've had this conversation before. "Man, I'm hungry and it's only 10:30." "Well, what did you have for breakfast?" "A granola bar and some yogurt." Two things filled with sugar. Your body has burned it up already and is looking for more.
To be a fully functioning adult, you need protein and fat in the morning. It keeps you fuller longer, energy increases, and brain fog goes down.
Think eggs, even hard-boiled works, bacon, avocado, sausage. All good things filled with protein and healthy fats.
Get Rid of Sugar and Stock Up On Natural Sweeteners
One big excuse I hear a lot is, "I can't cut out sugar, I have a sweet tooth. There's no way I would be able to do this." This is an excuse. Notice the words can't and no way. In other words, you won't. You've already made up your mind with a limiting phrase.
However, cutting out sugar does not mean cutting out your sweet tooth. Because... you can still have sweets. You're just getting your sweets in a smarter way. A way that is NOT going to damage your body and your health.
Look for these natural sweeteners in your food products.
Stevia: extracted from the leaves of a Stevia plant. Natural.
Erythritol: This only contains 6% of the calories of sugar. It's low glycemic and doesn't cause blood sugar spikes. However, it is sweeter so not much is needed if you use it.
Xylitol: Again this one doesn't cause blood sugar spikes. And it's naturally found in many fruits. However, it is poisonous to dogs so don't use it around them.
Here are some sweets that have these in them. All products I have tried and found truly delicious!
Any Lily’s Dark Chocolate Bars
Lily’s Reese cups
Rebel ice cream
Collagen protein bars from Bulletproof or Vital Proteins
Swerve Sweets- they have chocolate cake mix and vanilla cake mix
If you want to bake, you can use swerve, erythritol, or xylitol instead of sugar
Low glycemic fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, or cranberries at night ONLY
High Key Cookies
Americans eat 150 pounds of sugar per year when we should only be eating 57 pounds per year. I still believe this is too much. But look at those numbers. It really is alarming.
We've got to start becoming more aware and we have to start making better choices. Brands and companies will follow once we stop buying their sugar-filled products.
It is so important to avoid eating added sugar as much as possible. It will help control disease and will increase your overall well-being. Throw out the sugar... time to try something new!
Certified Brain Health Coach
Owner of SustainaBRAIN