Beware of Added Sugar!
Anybody trying to be more health conscious knows how challenging it can be to try and eliminate the sweet, sweet goodness of sugar. Even more bittersweet is the notion that your favourite drink or latte is loaded with empty, sugar-filled calories. In general, any added sugar (sugar that is not derived naturally from the whole food itself, such as a banana) is to be avoided. Nature has provided us with all the essential sugars we need in our diet in the form of fruits and vegetables, and it couldn't be any sweeter.
Excessive sugar consumption has a strong effect on overall health, from digestion to circulation. It is important to make sure you are keeping a proper balance of nutrients. Too much sugar in the diet is a leading contributor to obesity and has a unique fat promoting effect. Some common risks associated with consuming excessive sugar include high cholesterol, heart disease, and an increased risk for diabetes. Ultimately when you reduce the consumption of sugar you reduce health risks, so it’s better to indulge occasionally rather than reaching for a treat to satisfy a craving. Sugar is addictive; the more you have, the more you want. It is okay to have occasionally, but we get in trouble when the occasional “treat” becomes our regular afternoon snack as we power through the day.
Cutting down on sugar doesn't have to be intimidating. When it comes to diet changes, just act natural. Reading labels is a great way to avoid added sugar. Applesauce is a great substitution that adds some sweetness to your baking. Alternatively, lemon or citrus fruits can add flavour to your salad dressings while keeping the sugar content down. Part of avoiding sugar is to not drink it, as sweetened drinks do not contribute to overall health and can actually create a sugar dependency. Lastly, looking towards herbs like cinnamon or vanilla can be a fabulous way to add some sweet flavour without the toothache. Cutting down on sugar today is a fantastic start to a sweeter tomorrow.