Warning: This information may make you rethink that daily soda habit ... so keep reading!
We all know that sugar is unhealthy, but what exactly makes it so bad for us? According to a study published by the American Public Health Association, sugary drinks, like soda, can age your body on a cellular level as quickly as cigarettes (inside and outside aka- more wrinkles!).
Sugar is also about as addicting as cigarettes and causes more complications than just weight gain. In fact, when you eat a ton of sugar, almost every part of your body feels the strain. Sugar releases the same feel-good chemicals in your brain as certain drugs. For example, as you start to consume a piece of chocolate cake, your brain starts to release chemicals that make you want to keep eating. Once you're done eating, your insulin starts to spike in order to balance out the large amount of sugar. A few hours later you get hit with the all too familiar "sugar crash"- which usually consists of feeling sluggish, tired, and even hungry. In fact, if you've been feeling fatigued, sluggish, and like your cravings for food are harder to control, these can all be signs that you're eating too much sugar. The double whammy is when you notice you've put on a few pounds.
Because sugary foods and drinks pack a large calorie punch, it's understandable why your weight may increase if your sugar consumption is high. You could easily gain a pound over the course of a week from eating one candy bar and one 20-ounce soda (that's about 500 extra calories) each day- that's not much food and next to no nutrients. As weight increases, so does your chances of obesity. And with obesity comes insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. Keep in mind that you can become insulin resistant without being obese if you're consuming too much sugar.
If you're ready to eat less sugar, simply reading nutrition labels is a good place to start. As you become more familiar with reading nutrition labels you can begin to swap out high sugar options with lower sugar alternatives. Another way to consume less sugar is to replace sweet treats with fruit. Although fruit does contain sugar, one serving of antioxidant and nutrient rich fruit is going to have significantly less sugar than a bowl of ice cream, and way more health benefits. When considering how much sugar you "should" be consuming, keep in mind that there is no right amount of sugar that has been designated by nutrition experts. The safest bet is to keep it under 25 g. daily for most healthy adults. But certainly lower is better.