Last time I talked about the main types of sugar. It is important to know the types of sugar we are exposed to, so we can know which ones to avoid. We can’t simply cut sugar out of our diet. That would mean that we wouldn’t eat fruit, dairy or even vegetables. Obviously, that would not be healthy, smart or sustainable. Today I want to talk about which sugars to avoid and 3 reasons why doing so will make you healthier.

Beware of added sugars

From marinara sauce to peanut butter, added sugar can be found in even the most unexpected products. I dare you to look at the nutrition labels next time you go to the grocery store. You will be surprised at how many items list sugar as one of their main ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of importance or how much of it is used in the product, beware of products that list sugar as 1st, 2nd or 3rd ingredient.

Check the nutrition label to see how much added sugar is in the item. As already discussed, a lot of products have naturally occurring sugar, those are fine. It is the added sugar you have to be careful with. Unlike foods and drinks that contain natural sugar, those with added sugar provide no nutritional value. They are also a poor energy source, as the body digests added sugar very quickly. So, when I talk about avoiding sugar; I mean avoid products that contain added sugars.

Why you should avoid added sugar

Sugar crash

There are many reasons why you should beware of products containing added sugar. One of them is the crash that comes after eating too much sugar. When you eat sugar, the body secretes insulin to take the sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells. Desserts and sugary drinks raise insulin levels quickly because they don’t have fiber, protein, fat or other nutrients to slow down the digestion process. The more sugar it’s in the blood stream, the more insulin gets releases.

You might think that having more sugar in our cells is a good thing; but when the levels of glucose increase quickly, the insulin reacts quickly to take it away which leaves us feeling depleted of energy. This is known as a sugar crash. Sugar crashes makes us feel irritable, anxious, tired and hungry. To avoid a sugar crash, try eating a piece of fresh fruit with nut butter instead of something with sugar added like cupcakes or ice cream, try. It will satisfy your sweet tooth and the fiber in it will slow down the digestion so the sugar levels won’t raise quickly, which in turn means that you will avoid a sugar crash.

Increase risk of disease

High sugar diets have been linked to a lot of diseases. For example, evidence suggests that they can diets can lead to obesity, inflammation, high triglyceride count, high blood sugar and blood pressure levels which are all risk factors for heart disease. When we consume added sugars for a long time we can develop resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.

Manufacturers use high fructose corn syrup in many processed products. A high intake of fructose has been consistently linked to an increased risk of fatty liver. Fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver. In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat. Thus, consuming too many products that have fructose (or high fructose corn syrup) might increase our risk of developing a fatty liver.

Weight gain

The last reason to avoid added sugar is the risk of weight gain. Rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugar, is thought to be one of the main reasons behind it. The thing with sugary foods is that it gives your body a lot of calories but not a lot of anything else. Since the body digest sugary foods fairly quickly, we feel hungry sooner rather than later. Then we tent to eat more calories than we burn and the extra calories are turned into fat. If we don’t control how much added sugar we eat, we might find ourselves gaining weight by consuming more calories than we need. Even if not all of them come from sugary foods.

There are a lot more reasons to avoid added sugars, these are just some I feel strongly in terms of why is important to avoid them. The problem is though, that sugar is a very addicting substance, so it is difficult to make a change to the “added-sugar free” lifestyle. Also, cakes, donuts, ice cream and candy are delicious; which make it even harder to give up. If you need any help determining the amount of added sugars in your favorite products, or if you need help cutting added sugars from your diet; talk to any of the coaches at Celebration CrossFit. We can help you.

by coach Keren

keren