The truth about a sugar diet is that the less sugar there is in your diet, the better off you are. That is not to say that you need to entirely avoid sugar, but rather that you need to be smart about the sugar you do consume. Sugar is present in many foods including fruits, vegetables, and milk, but the sugar in those foods is naturally occurring sugar.
Sugars to Avoid
The sugar that you need less of is the sugar that is in highly processed foods that are high on the glycemic index. These foods include:
- breakfast cereal
- peanut butter
- many microwave meals
Harmful Effects of Sugar
Sugar raises the insulin level in your body, which in turn depresses the immune system. When you eat something with a lot of sugar in it, the pancreas is stimulated to produce insulin. Insulin promotes the storage of fat, so eating a lot of sugary foods is likely to interfere with any attempt to lose weight. Refined sugar, the kind that is found in processed foods, has no minerals or vitamins. In order for the sugar to be metabolized into the body, it draws on the body’s micronutrient stores to metabolize the sugar. When the stored micronutrients become depleted, it affects the triglyceride level and promotes obesity. With the average American consuming 2-3 lbs. of sugar a week, it is a small wonder that diabetes and cardiovascular disease are rampant.
Determining Sugar Amounts
To determine if the food you are eating has added sugar, all you need to do is look at the label. Sugar is added when the label says any of the following:
- high-fructose corn syrup
- corn syrup
- modified food starch
The higher up in the ingredient list the sugar is, the more sugar the product contains. A 12 ounce can of soda contains almost 4 tablespoons of sugar! Too much sugar, which can be had from just a few cans of soda, is likely to leave you tired, cranky, and hungry for more sugar.
One popular diet that embraces the dangers of sugar is called Sugarbusters. The Sugarbuster diet requires the elimination of all refined sugar, corn syrup, molasses, honey, sugared colas, and beer. It requires that you eat high-fiber vegetables, stone-ground whole grains, lean and trimmed meats, fish, and fruits.
You eat three meals a day of moderate portions, and you can have snacks such as fruit and nuts. Sugarbusters suggests that you will lose weight and prevent serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease by cutting out the refined sugar from your diet.
Health Danger Associated with Sugar
The health dangers of consuming too much sugar include increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Other ways too much sugar can affect your health include:
- mood swings
- kidney damage
- tooth decay
- increased total cholesterol
- weight gain
By limiting the desserts you eat, using less sugar in recipes, substituting fresh fruit for sugary desserts, and using sugar substitutes, you can reduce your sugar intake. Since soda represents the single largest source of added sweetener to the diet of most Americans, consider switching to plain water, 100% juice, or diet soda. Read food labels carefully and select foods where sugar is near the end of the list of ingredients.