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Am I Eating Too Much Sugar?

Sugar is everywhere, and the obvious places we find this addictive sweet is in desserts. But, what about a muffin, cereal, protein shake, granola, acai bowl or your favorite coffee?




 

There's no question that sweet foods taste delicious and we are hard-wired with a natural desire to eat something sweet.

So how do we navigate this desire for reaching for sweet foods?

Try fruit.

Fruit is a great example of a complete food that provides a major source of fiber, nutrients, and vitamins. Fruit gets it's sweet taste from fructose and glucose - both carbohydrates that are a quick energy source for our body. Fructose is commonly known as fruit sugar and it occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, honey, cane sugar and sugar beets. It's 1.5 times sweeter than typical table sugar and can be found in many processed foods too.

We process fructose differently than other sugars. Fructose is metabolized in the liver, where it's converted into energy. Interestingly, we don't need insulin to process fructose, which means if we consume more than we need, it will be stored in our liver as fat.

This is a good reason why keeping track of how much sweet we consume will go a long way in supporting better health outcomes.

Glucose, the other sweet in fruit is quickly processed by our body through our bloodstream. The more glucose we absorb, the greater our risk for health complications because our blood sugar is a tightly regulated mechanism. When we over-consume sugar, our blood sugar rises rapidly causing a need for greater amounts of insulin to bring down the higher blood sugar level and push the glucose into our cells. This is a wonderful process that can quickly turn into big problems.

Eating a highly processed, sugar-rich diet puts a huge load on our pancreas to continually release insulin.

Our pancreas can become weary and slow down the release of insulin. When our blood becomes full of sugar with nowhere to go because our cells are already too full of glucose, we experience elevated blood glucose levels. This lack of proper storage for our great sugar consumption forces our liver to invite all the excess in. This process keeps our blood sugar levels stable at the expense of our liver becoming full of excess glucose that is now stored there as fat.

What we are unable to burn or store in our muscles eventually ends up as stored fat in the liver.

This compromises the liver's ability to function well and over time, liver cells are gradually replaced by fat cells which leads to non-alcoholic related fatty liver disease. Literally our liver becomes full of fat-fatty liver, and this stored fat can be found in our blood lipid panel as elevated triglycerides. Higher than normal levels of triglycerides can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke-UGH!

Yes, This Is A Problem.

Too much sugar impacts our health. Remember, the "average" amount of sugar consumption for an adult is 18 teaspoons a day, which is around 57 pounds a year.

This is why we suffer from all of these problems;


  • Weight Gain/Obesity.

  • High Blood Pressure.

  • Heart Disease.

  • Fatty Liver.

  • Kidney Failure.

  • Cancer.

  • Chronic Inflammation.

  • Prediabetes/Type 2 Diabetes.

What Can I Do?

Choose foods that satisfy and help with sugar cravings:

  • berries

  • starchy veggies [sweet potatoes, hard squashes]

  • raw veggies with hummus or guacamole

  • protein found in meats, eggs, chicken, turkey, fish

  • healthy fats like olives, avocados, butter, ghee, olive oil, fatty fish

  • nuts & seed that are raw, or lightly toasted without oil or added salt

  • spices to increase the flavor of your meals

  • unsweetened cocoa and cacao

  • plain, whole milk organic yogurt or keifer

  • fermented foods like sauerkraut

Include these nutrients that fight sugar cravings:

  • zinc to help the body utilize glucose & insulin. Choose; seafood, animal protein, nuts & seeds, dairy.

  • magnesium helps lower insulin resistance. Choose; dark leafy greens, nuts & seeds, fish, avocado, yogurt and yes even dark chocolate!

  • chromium picolinate to balance blood-sugar levels. Choose; broccoli, green beans, apples, turkey, eggs, bananas, cheese, fish, beef.

  • B vitamins helps improve carbohydrate metabolism. Choose; eggs, salmon, dairy, beef, chicken, avocado, spinach, sunflower seeds, nuts, tuna, bananas, turkey, leafy greens

  • omega 3 fatty acids increase insulin sensitivity. Choose: fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts & seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds.

Get outside and move your body every day.

When we are sedentary, we feel sluggish mentally and physically which contributs to less than optimal food choices. Getting outside and moving will help balance our blood sugar, and help us to make better food choices.

Moving daily reduces stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, which gives us a feeling of well-being. All of this results in less sugar cravings.

Don't try to create a complicated schedule - just begin today. The trick is to just get started and then keep moving every day. Soon you'll begin to notice an improvement in how you feel and what you choose to eat.

Balance Your Blood Sugar.

When we have irratic blood sugar highs and lows from eating too much sugar, processed and refined foods our blood sugar quickly rises and our pancreas releases insulin to lower our blood sugar to a normal level. Sometimes, we will experience a blood sugar drop which cause us to feel tired and the need to eat something sweet to bring up our blood sugar. This is a common cycle that's on speed dial throughout the day for most of us. If we saw this on a graph, it would look like sharp rises followed by deep dips. Up and down, up and down - so exhausting.

Eat good quality protein, quality fats and fiber to buffer the effect and slow the absorption of food into sugar. Use combinations of foods especially when simple carbohydrates are going to be eaten.

  • Apple slices + nut butter or cheese

  • Berries + greek yogurt or cottage cheese

  • Avocado toast + eggs

  • Olives, cucumbers + cheese

When we wait too long between meals, our brain will signal a need for energy which generally means we eat sugary foods. This only prolongs the up and down, crash and burn of the sugar roller coaster.


Try These Steps:

  1. Choose complex carbohydrates which are generally found in vegetables and low sugar fruits like berries, kiwi, green apple, grapefruit, limes and lemons.

  2. Eat well balanced meals that contain protein, fats and carbohydrates.

  3. Eat dessert following a meal not in isolation to keep blood sugar from spiking and crashing.

  4. Reduce or eliminate snacking. Quit grazing throughout the day- this keeps our pancreas too busy pumping out insulin. Instead, eat 2-3 full meals.

  5. Eat dinner early and close the kitchen. Allow at least 3-4 hours of digestion before bedtime.

  6. Add in key vitamins & minerals that are depleted when we eat a high sugar diet. Magnesium, Zinc, and Chromium supplements can help.

  7. Prioritize sleep. When we don't get enough rest, our sugar cravings increase. Also when we eat sugar especially at night, we experience sleep disturbances and poor sleep causes more sugar cravings - it's a viscious cycle! Our hunger hormones are also affected and our main blood-sugar-regulating hormone, insulin. Now our appetite increases along with greater sugar cravings. So be mindful around your sleep schedule and work toward adopting a regular bedtime.

  8. Become a label reader. Scan the back side of the package and look for hidden sugars, inflammatory oils [seed oils like canola, soybean,etc.], too many ingredients or unpronounceable ingredients.These product are highly processed and best avoided.

  9. Begin the day with a savory breakfast. This will help you avoid sugar cravings later in the day.

  10. Drink enough filtered water + electrolytes. A good rule is to aim for half your ideal body weight in ounces. Drink filtered water that have electrolytes added. Our water supply is sadly lacking in the minerals we need and full of the stuff we need to avoid; like flouride, arsenic, chlorine, nitrates, PFAS, etc.

  11. Get outside and breathe deeply. When the sun rises we can support our circadian rhythms of wake & rest by going outside and allowing the sun to kiss our face. Spend 10 minutes early in the morning outside. Take some deep breaths to calm your nervous system and prepare for the day.

The battle is here my friends and the food industry, grocery stores, restaurants and our health care system are here to capture their market share of consumers. They don't play fair, but you do have a choice -

Become informed and choose wisely.

People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are healed by the health industry, which pays no atention to food. - ~Wendell Berry

It's my passion and hope to help you reverse health conditions and resolve symptoms like fatigue, migraines, allergies, joint pain, bloating, poor sleep and many more issues that are directly related to the way we fuel our bodies.

Food is one of our most powerful and underutilized interventions, yet it's largely left out of the healthcare conversation.

Have you considered using a Nutrition Coach?

I can help you improve your health and give you tools and targeted nutritional support.

Eating whole, real food is the first step.


Find out how you can manage your blood sugar by signing up for:

Blood Sugar Boot Camp. Begins Online: Tuesday April 9, 2024. 6:30-7:30pm [PT]

Just imagine how much better you'll feel in only 6 weeks? This class will give you exactly what you need to make the necessary changes that will put you on the path to living well at any age.


I have many ways you can begin your health improvement journey that will educate and support you as you make changes in your diet and lifestyle.

  • Blood Sugar Boot Camp.

  • RESTART Your Health.

  • Nutrition Audit.

  • Reveal Hair Analysis

  • Restore 1:1 Coaching

Check out my website for more information: https://www.janlindquistntp.com/services-1-1


Thanks for reading,

Jan





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