My apologies for the late post. I hope you are doing well on your weight loss/health goals this week! Today's topic is a sensitive topic. I find that giving up sugar can be very tricky for so many people. But, doing a sugar detox can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce cravings, improve health, and aid in weight loss - so don't tune me out quite yet ;)
Becoming a Sugar detective
An average American eats 23.5 teaspoons of sugar per day (358 calories). The average female is eating on average 37 teaspoon of sugar per day. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat about 64 pounds of sugar per year. 64 pounds! That’s the weight of an average 9-year old boy! BTW in case you were wondering, the recommendation is no more than 6 teaspoons (25g) per day!
Where is all this sugar coming from you might ask.
Sugar comes from many forms and found in many sources, including dried fruit, snacks, desserts, and beverages. But it is also in a lot of things we don’t realize that really add up! Some examples include: condiments, salad dressings, cereals, breads, peanut butter, and even some frozen vegetables! Sugar is literally everywhere! One trick of the food industry is to add sugar, fat, and salt to food to make it more palatable and addictive.
It is important to look for hidden sugar because it influences our food cravings and, when we eat more than 6 teaspoons of sugar, it makes it extremely hard to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that our body needs without going over the amount of food our bodies need to maintain a healthy weight. There is even less room for sugar for someone trying to lose weight on a calorie restricted diet. (This is why I recommend a good multivitamin for anyone trying to lose weight, also because of vitamin depleted soil).
Another reason to avoid added sugar is the gradual (or not so gradual) desensitization of sweetness.
When we add sugar to food (either by the manufacturer or in our kitchens), the food becomes unnaturally sweet and naturally sweet foods (like fruit) no longer tastes sweet. Sugar (along with salt, and fat, but to a lesser degree) increases dopamine, which excites the brain. When you eat foods with sugar (or even worse with sugar in combination with fat and salt) regularly, your brain lights up and stays that way giving you constant food cravings. These foods stimulate the brain similarly to the stimulation your brain receives from drugs or alcohol. Break this cycle of cravings by detecting hidden sugar and eating whole foods without excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Watch this to find out what sugar goes to your body: https://youtu.be/R46MnUbL6Z8
Which food item has the most sugar?
Answer: The oatmeal! Poptarts: 16g sugar/4 teaspoons; 19g sugar/4.75 teaspoons; flavored instant oatmeal: 28g sugar/7 teaspoons
Some more common foods:
Some more common foods:
But you might be thinking orange juice is better than coke, and you would be right because of the vitamins, but the sugar in juice still behaves like the sugar in the soda. It’s always better to eat the whole fruit instead of the fruit juice. The fruit is packaged in fiber, which slows down the sugar release. When you drink juice (such as orange juice), you’re taking about 4 oranges and removing all the fiber to get one cup.
SO where is all this sugar hiding?
A bit on sugar substitutes...
Diet products (i.e. diet soda, sugar substitutes) can still make people gain weight! This is because they cause people to consume more food because they cause cravings, just like sugar does. One way diet products cause weight gain in through upsetting your microflora (the good bacteria) in your gut. New research is showing how your microflora influences your cravings.
The scoop on different sweeteners:
Finding the Hidden Sugar
1. Locate the grams of sugar, protein, and fiber on the food label. Be sure to check the serving size.
2. Make sure there are at least 3 grams of fiber
3. Add the grams of protein and fiber:
4. Compare the grams of protein and fiber to the total grams of sugar
5. If the grams of protein + fiber total is greater than total grams of sugar the product is a good choice; if it is less than, it is not the best choice. For the example above, this isn’t the best choice. Try finding something that has at least 3 grams of fiber and has less sugar.
The No Added Sugar Challenge: The idea here is to help break the sugar "addiction" that prevents us from reaching lifestyle and weight loss goals. While you are not going to stop eating desserts or added sugar permanently, the purpose of this challenge is to increase your awareness of how much sugar is present in your routine and how it makes you feel. I recommend doing the challenge for 2 weeks in order to see a noticeable change in your taste pallet and to speed up weight loss. At the end of the 2 weeks, you may decide to continue it or start carefully adding in sweeter foods.
Here are the rules:
PAN-SEARED SALMON OVER TRI-COLORED SALAD WITH DIJON DRESSING
Yield 2 servings | Active Time 30 minutes | Total Time 30 minutes
In a separate bowl, combine the radicchio, endive, and arugula; set aside.
Heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place in skillet, flesh side down; cook, until fish flakes easily with a fork, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from skillet.
Toss the dressing with the lettuces and place on the two plates; top each with a salmon filet.