By Dr. Nichelle Gurule
If you read my previous blog, then you know getting rid of sugar was a challenge for me in my life. I’d be really surprised if it wasn’t a challenge for every American.
Sugar, the sweet poison, has crept into almost every food source we consume. If you don’t think so, start looking at your labels a little more closely. It is added into our breads, yogurts, chicken broth, soups, dressings, deli meats, frozen veggies, peanut butter, and more. We can no longer solely blame the desserts, which satisfy our sweet tooth, as the only reason we are consuming sugars. The added sugar makes the food more addictive and means you are more likely to buy it again and again.
If you don’t think sugar is a big deal, think back to 60-70 years ago when smoking was no big deal. Smoking was “the thing” to do in the 1950s, everyone was doing it. Smoking was so popular that every car was made with a cigarette lighter, vending machines were filled with cigarette packs, and doctors were endorsing different brands of cigarettes. Smoking had become as common as just drinking a glass of water.
We now know that smoking is terrible for our health. While many people still smoke, I doubt any current smokers would tell you that they think it is good for them. They continue to smoke because they like the feeling smoking gives them, they like the social aspect of it, and they became addicted. In the 1950s, smoking was not acknowledged as having serious health complications.
The picture on the right is of Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s looking so elegant and sexy with a long cigarette. The picture on the left is a beautiful woman with the ultimate sugary treat, a lollipop. Both women are looking glamorous consuming two items we know are bad for our health
I liken the sugar epidemic in our food, as the smoking epidemic in the 50s. Sugar consumption today gives people a good feeling (sugar high), has a lot of social aspects to it (sweet treats at parties, going out for ice cream, enjoying a peppermint mocha from Starbucks), and is definitely addictive.
Does this sound like something else I just mentioned?
We use to have vending machines for cigarettes, now we have vending machines full of junk food packed with added sugar
We use to have aisles of cigarette packs and now we have aisles of candy, cereals, bars, and other foods packed with sugar
Please note that just because it is common that we all are consuming an average of 150-170 pounds of sugar a year does not mean that it is normal. COMMON DOES NOT EQUAL NORMAL!
Obesity is common in the American society, but an obese body is not normal.
We MUST start digging deeper into what we are consuming. Are we that busy in our lives that we can’t make any of our meals at home any more? Has our busy life taken over the need to live healthy?
My hope is that in this blog series I can share some ways that you can maintain your busy life, but make a few changes to live better. A few small changes each year will add up to big changes a decade from now. It is never too late to start making those healthy habits.
If you have any concern about eliminating or reducing sugars from your daily life, then I highly suggest turning over the package of everything that has a label and checking to see added sugars. You will be surprised at the items that have added sugar. Just because it says frozen string beans, don’t assume there aren’t other ingredients hidden. Also, don’t assume that because the words cane sugar is not on the label that added sugars are not included. There are over 60 names that added sugars go by.
**Look to the bottom of this blog to see most of those sneaky words that pretty much just mean SUGAR**
I honestly discover something new every month with added hidden sugars. I always think. “Dang it! They tricked me again!” I think my two biggest surprises recently have been the Boulder salt and pepper potato chips and chicken broth. Yes, these both have can sugar in the ingredient list. Why do chips and chicken broth need added sugar? Well, they don’t! Often there are other flavors or brands of items that will not have added sugars, but it does take being diligent enough to check the label before you put the food in your cart. If you like peanut butter, you can ditch the Jiffy with added sugars, and pick up a brand such as Adam’s without added sugar.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, after a few attempts of eliminating sugar from my diet, I finally got it right! The reason for my change is because I honestly was getting pissed off at how much was “acceptable” to consume in an average American diet. I mean, seriously… 150 pounds a year? I was also curious if I would notice health changes and was also interested in how long it takes for the addiction to go away.
When did soda, candy, and chips become the new banana, carrots, and grapes? How did our snack foods turn from natural, vibrant colors with great nutrition to colorful packages of food dyed with artificial coloring, and added sugars with no nutritional content
As I write this in March of 2017 I have officially been “off” sugar for 14 months. I have learned a lot in this time. I have had a little sugar creep into my life in unexpected places like balsamic vinaigrette, crackers, and more. I will not say that I haven’t had an ounce of sugar since I began my journey. While there are times when I ask for a little nibble of my husband’s sweet treat, I, for the most part have only fruit for my sugar intake. Yes, this means no honey or maple syrup for me either. Don’t feel bad for me and think, “oh the poor gal just doesn’t enjoy the good things in life.” Because trust me, I do. The “good” things just are different for me than they once were.
When I have tried my husband’s sweet treat, I am ALWAYS, I repeat always disappointed. The taste of a pancake or brownie or ice cream, just does not taste good anymore. I will admit, it can be a tad sad to no longer enjoy sweet treats the way I did.
However, I do believe I am on the forefront of this sugar elimination concept. My grandpa and grandma were both at the prime age for smoking in the 1950s, but both had the intuition to recognize that while it may “feel” good and look cool, that smoking was not good for the body. I know in the next few decades there will be more done about the sugar added into all of our food and until then I will encourage people I come into contact with to make a few changes.
The picture on the right shows healthy lungs and smoker lungs. The health damage to just the lungs has been evident for decades. The picture on the left is the human body with a healthy diet compared to a body consuming excess sugars
Please continue to read the rest of my Sugar Blog Series if you want some motivation to be progressive with your health and make the change to get sugar out of your food. Subscribe to our blog below! Share with EVERYONE you know! Be that person we do not mind.
Stay Tuned! The blog coming out next week will have a few tips and tricks to make the transition easier for you and to help you make some smarter choices!
-Health Through Movement-
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