I am addicted to sugar… These are words I would not have said last month, but after really looking at my food consumption and reading labels, I now believe that I AM addicted to sugar.
I am a physical therapist, I exercise daily and I try very hard to eat healthy. I’m not overweight (most people consider me on the thin side) and thankfully, my cholesterol, blood pressure, and metabolic levels are all within normal limits for my age. Despite all this, I am addicted to sugar. Here is what I have discovered over the past month…
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons, or about 25 grams, of added sugars per day for women, and 9 teaspoons, or about 36 grams, for men. The Harvard School of Public Health states that 70% of Americans eat at least 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily.
We all know that sugar is in sweets such as candy bars, ice cream, cookies, sodas, cereals, but what I didn’t realize was how much sugar was hiding in my “healthy” foods. Sugar is added to some almond milks, greek yogurts, granola, tomato sauces, balsamic vinegars, salsas, peanut butter, cheeses, flavored waters, and sparkling waters. There is frequently more sugar in processed foods that are “Low Fat” or “Fat Free” than in the original products. It’s EVERYWHERE!
Here’s the scary part: Recent research studies with rats show that sugar is more addictive than cocaine! So trying to break a sugar tooth is really about changing a neurobiological signal deep within our bodies that our brain often doesn’t have the willpower to conquer. To make things worse, the sugar substitutes are bad for you too! Diet sodas are under more and more research and the results are the same as regular sodas. These sugary or “fake” sugar drinks are linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating no more than 5% of your total calories as added sugar, that’s roughly 6 teaspoons as part of a 2,000 calorie diet. 6 teaspoons is the amount of sugar in 1 cup of granola or in 2 small flavored yogurts. Unfortunately, the percentage of daily sugar is NOT required to be reported on nutritional labels. The labels tell you the amount of grams per serving but not the percentage.. possibly because it will trigger people to realize how BAD the food is for them.
I challenge all of you to start reading your labels and see how many grams of sugar are in your favorite foods, even your “healthy” foods. I think you’ll be shocked too. This sugar addiction is a huge issue for our younger populations. These kids and adolescents have grown up with thousands more sugary products than their ancestors and they ARE addicted. They can’t control the cravings and they see sugar everywhere which triggers their body cravings. Please help them to slowly decrease their daily sugar intakes and realize how bad sugar is for their long term health. For more information please watch the recently released documentary “Fed Up” or read Suicide by Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction, by Nancy Appleton, PhD.
For more information or to contact us for pain relief, check out our website at www.PTLIFETIME.com or call 303-952-5053.