Our nutrition coach and regular blogger Michelle Cartmel knows breaking up is hard to do, especially in the month of love. But sometimes we have to say good-bye … especially when our “sweetie” is sugar.
Question for you in this month of love: If you had to choose a long-term mate, which of these options has the qualities that would be most desirable to you, A or B?
A) Wild Like a Roller Coaster Ride, Addictive, Delicious but Dangerous, Sweet but Seldom Satiating
B) Consistent, Grounded in Goodness, Uplifting, Full of Good Taste
Clearly most of us would not choose A to describe our ideal long term partner, but funnily enough, a lot of us make that choice when it comes to our diet.
You know, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. After the first bite, you just can’t get enough, and then before you know it, you fall into a post-sugar slump. What happened to my buzz, that warm fuzz that makes my heart beat fast and ignites my spirit?
For many of us, sugar is a lifelong partner that we discovered in our youth, and because we’ve been together for so long, it’s next to impossible to shake the sugar habit. Breaking up can be hard to do, especially after a long term relationship, but I’ve got three reasons why saying goodbye to this sweetie can benefit you in the long run.
According to Dr. David Samadi, when we eat foods high in sugar, the reward centers of the brain are activated, and a large amount of dopamine is released which is what makes eating sugar feel so good.
When we eat high-sugar foods often, we develop a tolerance which in turn requires us to eat more sugar to get that same level of reward. Over time and with an over-stimulation of those reward centers, we develop an addiction to sugar because it simply makes us feel good when we eat it. Due to the powerful effects sugar has on the brain, it can be thought of like a drug in that it functions similarly to actual drugs like heroin and cocaine.
According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars a woman should eat in a day is 25 grams/6 teaspoons, or 100 calories. So, let’s say you have a Starbucks Tall Non-Fat Vanilla Latte for breakfast. This single coffee contains 27 grams of sugar!
Imagine what other sugar calories are sneaking into your lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. Sugar is hidden in so many of the foods we eat, including the “healthy” ones, like yogurts, bars, salad dressings and “enriched” food products like pastas and breads. It’s easy to see how the sugar calories can add up to extra LBS when you aren’t paying close attention to what you are putting in your tank!
A steady diet of too much sugar can lead to a litany of health problems, from high blood pressure to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, liver disease and Alzheimer’s. Sure this sounds dramatic, and it should. If influencers like Michelle Obama and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg are taking the time to advocate for sugar reduction in our diets, we need to take notice and understand that sugar is the underlying cause of our national health crisis and obesity epidemic.
One of my food heroes is nutrition guru Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the recently released book, Food, What the Heck Should I Eat? Dr. Hyman describes sugar as “toxic and addictive” and prescribes a diet rich in veggies, good fats, and lean proteins.
Dr. Hyman recently said on one of his Instagram posts that, “Food is the road to your fully expressed life,” and I couldn’t agree more. The only way to maximize that expression is with real, whole foods that optimize your health, not sugar-filled, manufactured products that are bereft of nutrients and deplete your livelihood.
So when looking for a long-term (food) partner, choose the one that has the characteristics of “B” to enjoy a fully expressed life. And if you are inclined to cheat on a “B” with an “A” every now and again, this kind of cheating is OK as long as it’s in moderation.
Cheers to your health,
Have you given up sugar yet? Or tried to? It’s tough, no doubt about it, so we’d love to hear what worked and didn’t, so we can use your information for ourselves. Share with the community in the comments below, or hit us up on Gennev's Facebook page or Midlife & Menopause Solutions, Gennev's closed Facebook group.
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