Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reducing Sugar is Part of the Answer to Weight Loss Success

Sugar is one ingredient that can sabotage our weight loss success efforts. Not the only one, of course, but definitely a contributing factor.

That doesn't mean that you have to eliminate all sugar...most of us can handle some sugar--and trying to eliminate it is tough because sugar is found in so many of our packaged foods--and it can feel like deprivation...and I firmly believe that no foods should be totally off limits. My slogan is "no forbidden foods" because I believe that by forbidding them they have a stronger psychological appeal. But where you can, reduce the simple sugars in your foods and go for natural sugar, in fruit, for example--not because you are on a diet...because it is better for your health.

By the way, artificial sweeteners are not fact, can be worse. Studies indicate that artificial sweeteners like aspartame will actually INCREASE your hunger levels and cravings for sweets!

You will be amazed at how sweet fruit (and even some vegetables) taste when you reduce the amount of processed sugars and artificial sweeteners from your daily diet. Your taste buds and brain really do adjust.

You can help your kids out by weaning then from high-sugar foods like breakfast cereal now. Cereal manufacturers have been facing criticism from health advocates for quite a while and over the last couple years many have reduced the sugar content in their cereals aimed at kids.

The levels may be lower, but they are still really high. For example the General Mills cereal Cocoa Puffs currently has a whopping 11 grams or sugar per serving! General Mills has made a big announcement that it will again be reducing the sugar in their cereals...with a goal of the grams being single digits. To do that for Cocoa Puffs, they will have to reduce the sugar levels by 18 percent to reach 9 grams per serving. Read the labels of the foods you eat and you can make healthier choices. A single serving of Cheerios for example has only 1 gm of you can add your own sugar (1 teaspoon of sugar is a little over 4 grams of sugar) and come out ahead. Better yet, add fruit!

This will sound like a great thing, and no doubt they marketers will spin it really well...but that is still a lot of "added sugar." Added sugar is basically the processed stuff, whether it is white sugar, corn syrup or other opposed to naturally occurring sugar in fruits and veggies. Experts disagree on exactly how much added sugar should be set as a maximum, but most seem to set the range at 20-40 grams a day. So even at the high end of that, one bowl of the reduced sugar cereal is giving your child 1/4 of the maximum recommended amount a day!

Reducing sugar (real and artificial) intake helps reduce your sugar cravings, and helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable...which gives you better energy and more even moods throughout the day. Ironic since most of us grab sugar because we are feeling sluggish...but it is actually the sugar we ate earlier in the day that is largely responsible for our sluggishness!

Keep in mind that the body does not need processed sugar at all to function, survive or thrive. It is truly empty calories that your body converts to fat unless you use it all up...

So a great health and weight loss tip is to reduce your added sugar intake.

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