So in an effort to get healthier, I started to look at my sugar intake. True, I am also trying to lose weight, but there are other important reasons why I’m doing this:
- I have a higher risk of diabetes due to genetics and another disorder. My boyfriend, family, and doctors have been pushing me to eat less sugar because of it.
- I don’t want to spend as much money on sweets (I’m the person who buys the $10 Slushee every time she goes to the movies).
- I don’t want to go to the gym just so I can eat whatever I want. I want to be healthy all the way through.
Now, as someone who loves sweets, especially sugary drinks omg, I thought, “Whatever. I’ll just drink less soda a week, and everything will be okay.” Little did I realize how fucking terrifying refined sugar actually is.
1. The first thing I did was figure out the maximum amount of refined sugar I could be eating per day.
Because I don’t want to cut sugar out completely, I wanted to see how much I could get away with eating a day.
There are tons of tables on the internet about sugar intake, and how much you should consume a day. There are many different answers to this, and a lot of it depends on your own lifestyle, age, and build, but the general consensus for me was between 40 and 50 grams of white refined per day.
Cool. No problem, right? So I immediately went to the fridge to get some milk for cereal, and looked at the nutritional facts on the back for each:
- 1 Cup Raisin Bran Cereal: 18g of Sugar
- 1 Cup Skim Milk: 11g of Sugar
- So 1 Bowl of cereal has about 29g of Sugar
That’s already about 30g out of my daily 40g. I’m in trouble.
So then, I looked at my favorite drink, Arizona Grapeade:
- 26g Sugar per serving, but there are 3 servings per giant can, so fucking 78g Sugar per 1 can of Arizona
I’m in big trouble.
And it’s everywhere. They put sugar in everything, now. How do you escape it?
2. Sugars that are fine, and you should put them in your face.
The nutritional facts on the sides of food items includes the sugar that is added sugar, so refined sugar, but that there may be naturally occurring sugars (such as in fruits).
I’m not a sugar expert, but I do know that the “refined” sugars are the bad ones, but the naturally-occurring sugars in fruits, dairy, etc. are the good ones that are fine to eat.
So basically, if it’s a fruit, you don’t have to worry too much about how much sugar is in it (for general purposes). Now, if it’s a canned fruit, suspended in sugary “juice”, you have more to worry about. Making sense? I hope so.
3. What does sugar actually do to me?
There are tons of facts and theories about what sugar actually does to your body.
Now, there is no actual proof that you can be actually “addicted” to sugar. And yet, people still feel this way: Why? This is generally because although white sugar comes from a plant, it has been refined to such a degree that it looks (and acts) more like a chemical. And sometimes when we put chemicals in our body, shit goes down.
There are tons of proven effects from the long-term over-consumption of refined sugar, including an increased likelihood of diabetes. But because there are so many different opinions on what other effects are fact verses fiction, you should do the research yourself! Normally I wouldn’t cop-out like that, but it’s true. Despite what friends and family were telling me, I didn’t realize how awful sugar was for me until I found my own reasons.
For me, it’s that sugar in my body is literally just chillin’ there. It’s not helping or working or changing, or being built into something new. It’s just going in, and most of it is staying there for no reason.
I don’t like that. Not one bit.
4. So, why don’t we just switch to diet stuff, like Diet Coke? Diet Coke is amazing!!
The effects of sugar are disputed, and so are the effects of aspertame. Aspertame is the weird little chemical found in products like Diet Coke, “diet” yogurts like Yoplait Lite, and tons of other products marketed for dieting.
Aspertame is addictive. That’s why people get so addicted to Diet Coke; it’s actually an addiction to aspertame. Aspertame has been rumored to have other damaging effects, but similar to sugar that’s research you’ll want to do on your own.
One this is certain: Studies have shown that people who drink Diet Coke tend to weigh more than those who drink regular Coke, because they are fooled into thinking they can drink more because it’s “Diet”.
So yea, just….just be careful.
5. Here’s what I know for sure:
I’ve been watching my sugar intake for a few weeks, now, and replacing sugary stuff with healthier options.
I feel better. I look better. My skin is brighter. My hair is shinier. I like it. I like it, a lot.
Now, these nice new things are just as likely to be in conjunction with all the good stuff I’ve been eating, and not necessarily the lack of refined sugar. However, I’ve also been sleeping better, and I have more energy when I go to the gym. I refuse to believe that the lack of refined sugar in my body doesn’t have something to do with this.
6. Whether you agree or not, just be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth.
I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: Read labels, and pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. As I’ve also said before, you can be healthy and big; being a plus size man or lady doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unhealthy, and being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re healthy. Just be aware of what you eat. Please. I’m begging you.
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