Slaying the Sugar Dragon: A Lesson in Sugar

“Stop eating sugar, you are sweet enough already!” – Unknown

 Hi Three to Five Tribe! I am officially smack dab in the middle of my fourth Whole30 (second one for the year) on Day 15. I almost quit on Day 12 as I found myself with major sugar cravings, which I knew was due to lack of sleep. However, I resisted and made it through! #slayingthesugardragon Many people I know have told me they struggle with sugar cravings and admit to having a sweet tooth despite knowing sugar is bad for them, so I wanted to use my knowledge from my Precision Nutrition Certification and use this blog post to discuss sugar.

Sugar = Sugar

Added sugars in your diet can show up in the sneakiest of ways. The food industry realizes we as consumers have caught on to buzz words like “natural” and “organic,” so they use that to their advantage to fool us into thinking what we are eating is healthy. Take a look at this list of terms for sugar (this does not even include the really sciencey names or sugar alcohols):

Most Common Names for Sugar:

  • Table sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Beet sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup/sweetener
  • Malt syrup
  • Refiner’s sugar
  • Rice syrup

Natural/Oranic Names for Sugar:

  • Agave nectar
  • Coconut nectar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Date sugar
  • (Evaporated) cane juice
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Rice malt (extract)
  • (Sweet) sorghum
  • Treacle

Sugar Substitute Names (aka still sugar):

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame-K/Potassium
  • Equal
  • Nutra-Sweet
  • Saccharin
  • Splenda
  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • SweetLeaf
  • Sweet ‘n Low
  • Truvia

Added sugar lacks vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, all of which contribute to our overall health. Instead, sugar is responsible for the following:

  • Empty calories
  • Promotes overconsumption
  • Sugar addiction
  • Weight gain (especially around the love handle area)
  • Inflammation
  • Digestive issues
  • Hormonal and metabolic dysregulation
  • Headaches
  • Altered vision
  • Cataracts
  • Obesity
  • Premature aging
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Vascular disease
  • Insulin resistance
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer

Now, let’s go over the list of positives that come from sugar…Oh wait, there is none! cue Sugar promotes overconsumption from the pleasure and reward systems in the brain, much like drugs, such as cocaine. Unfortunately, this sweet treat creates an unhealthy psychological relationship with the food you eat and creates hard-to-break habits. These unhealthy habits lead to more overconsumption and eventual sugar addiction. #cantstopwontstop So what can you do to resist the sweet tooth?

Slay the Sugar Dragon!

Here are a few tips you can try and incorporate to slay your sugar dragon:

  • Fight the sugar craving! Don’t give in. You are the master of your cravings. Fact: The good thing about cravings is they only last 3-5 minutes, so find something to do for 3-5 minutes until the craving subsides (i.e. go for a walk, call a friend, heck contact me, or brush your teeth! The taste of mint has been known to cancel out cravings).
  • Drink water. Many times dehydration is masked as hunger, so be sure to stay hydrated to avoid cravings throughout the day. Remember to drink half of your body weight in ounces every day and eight additional ounces for every 30 minutes you sweat.
  • Get sleep. When you are tired, your body craves simple carbohydrates (i.e. chips, cookies, candy, et.c) because it knows it can quickly break down this food source and convert it into quick energy. Getting plenty of zzz’s each night can help keep your cravings at bay.
  • Grab a piece of fruit. Find your fav fruit and treat yourself to a sweet, yet healthy bowl of fruit. My personal favorite, apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon or a bowl of mixed berries topped with a tablespoon of cocoa nibbs (be sure they are unsweetened and 100% cocoa).
  • Read labels! Food labels list ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight. This means the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last. For instance if sugar is listed first and high fructose corn syrup is listed second, sugar is extremely prevalent within whatever you are holding and you should put it down and run away immediately…far, far, far away. Fact: The typical American consumes 34 teaspoons (136 grams) of sugar per day, while the USDA recommends no more than 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of sugar per day. #lessismore

    Bottom line, you are sweet enough already people! #eatlessugarWhat do you do to fight sugar cravings? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

    15 days down
    15 days to go!

    Live Healthy, Happy, & Fabulously,

2 thoughts on “Slaying the Sugar Dragon: A Lesson in Sugar

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