You're probably aware that consuming too much sugar isn't healthy, but you’re probably still overdoing it. In fact, the average American consumes more than double the recommended daily sugar intake.
Sugary drinks, baked goods, and candies are common culprits of added sugar. However, even if you are able to mostly avoid those items, it's still incredibly easy to consume too much sugar on a daily basis.
Savory foods like bread, protein bars, and tomato sauce all have sugar in them. So, what can you even do to begin reducing sugar intake? First, let’s take a look at how much sugar you should be consuming on a daily basis.
The average American eats about 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit their added sugar intake to 9 teaspoons (35 g) each day and 6 teaspoons (25 g) for women.
Sugar impacts your health in more ways than you might think. For now, let's focus on a few areas: your brain, mood, heart, and weight.
Sugar gives the human brain a surge of dopamine, a feel-good chemical. The more sugar you consume, the more your brain needs it. Whole foods don't cause this issue, which is why you might ditch the healthy food in favor of something sugary.
When consumed in smaller doses, sugar can give your body a boost of energy. However, this usually comes with a "sugar crash" later in the day. Too much sugar can affect your mood beyond that initial crash, with higher sugar intakes putting people at a greater risk of depression.
High-sugar diets create extra insulin, which causes artery walls to grow faster than normal. Years of this can put you at risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and more.
The connection between sugar and weight is already well known, but it's still important to mention here. The more sugar you eat, the more you are likely to be overweight.
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A great place to begin your quest to reduce your sugar intake is to add fiber to your diet. It's probably something you've heard before. Maybe a friend brought it up or your doctor recommended it. But what's so special about fiber? How is it going to help you with your daily sugar intake?
You've likely heard that dietary fiber is good for relieving constipation, but it actually has a number of other health benefits. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even types of cancer.
Fiber's penchant for improving your digestion helps significantly when it comes to excess fat and sugar. Fiber actually absorbs excess sugar, helping it pass through your body.
Increasing your fiber intake will automatically make sugar less of an issue. If you’re wondering where to get more fiber, consider pineapple chia. Chia seeds are about 37% fiber, are rich in phytonutrients, and are complete proteins.
If you’re concerned by your daily sugar intake, take a minute to consider your stress levels. When you're busy, it can be difficult or next to impossible to take proper care of yourself. If you’re running around all day, it’s easy for your diet to fall by the wayside.
Perhaps you don’t have time to prepare a healthy breakfast or pack a lunch. When that happens, it’s easy to resort to unhealthier options that boost your sugar intake. We've all been there. You indulge in a small snack, then have another. Next thing you know, you've had too much.
When you get stressed out, your body produces higher levels of the hormone cortisol. This can cause your body to crave sugar, which helps release serotonin to calm you down. Too much stress can easily cause you to surpass the recommended daily sugar intake.
So, how do you fight this? Try working self-care practices into your schedule wherever possible to reduce your stress levels.
Sugar impulses can be difficult to control, especially if you’re used to snacking throughout the day. Whether you like to nibble on something while at work, or you work from home only steps away from a stocked pantry, it can become problematic.
If you really want to reduce your sugar intake, start by getting sugar out of your house. Sure, snacking is a possibility while you’re out and about, but the majority of it can be traced back to what you keep in your home.
If there’s nothing sugary to snack on, then you’re saved! The tough part is keeping sugars out of your home. Stores and supermarkets are designed to generate impulse buys, which is why it’s best to never shop when you’re hungry.
Shopping on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. The more you avoid this, the more power you’ll have over sugar and your diet.
Even though sugary snacks can be problematic, that doesn’t mean all snacking is bad. If you have the forethought, you reduce your sugar intake without giving up snacks completely.
FURTHER READING: Are snack cravings your downfall? Check out our blog on beating cravings to stay strong!
Your sleep schedule has a significant impact on your frontal lobe, the area of the brain that controls your decision-making. When you don't get enough sleep, your decision-making becomes impaired and you're more likely to eat sugary, salty, or high-calorie foods.
Going to bed late has also been linked to consuming more calories the next day. If you're committed to reducing your daily sugar intake, then getting a full night of sleep is a great place to start.
Even if you have the right intentions, a tired brain can mean more junk food and fewer fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps you've tried changing your diet several times in the past but something always causes you to revert to your old ways. Maybe you just don't like plant-based foods, or maybe cravings get the best of you. Either way, this cycle is very frustrating and it’s difficult to get out of that rut.
The big food companies have engineered their food to contain the right combination of sugar, salt, and fat to get your body to crave more. There's a reason why you can keep going back for more chips but feel satisfied after an apple or two.
However, here’s some good news! You can reset your tastebuds so you prefer a healthier diet. Foods that are high in sugar and salt can condition your taste buds, desensitizing them and making it more difficult to enjoy plant-based foods.
A juice cleanse can put a stop to this by resetting your taste buds. What’s the first thing you do when something goes wrong with your electronics? You restart them or reset some settings and they’re often good as new.
A juice cleanse is the perfect way to jumpstart your taste buds and erase those pesky cravings. By the end of it, your body will be back to feeling clean, light, and happy.
Start a juice cleanse today! Our juice cleanses are made entirely from superfood fruits and vegetables. There's no added sugar and no artificial ingredients. Trust our juice cleanse to completely overhaul your health and your relationship with sugar.
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