Over the past month, I’ve been really focusing on eating cleaner, which means to limit the processed foods and refined sugars in my diet. The biggest challenge that I had, was not the actual eating, but it is grocery shopping. Now my trips take almost twice as long, because I have to check the labels of foods to make sure that I’m making great choices. The frustrating thing is that majority of the foods in the grocery store contain tons of ingredients that are not real food (chemicals and additives) or sugar (or some chemical produced variant) is the first or second ingredient. I was shocked, but moreover, I was left feeling like I was embarking on an impossible journey.
I was appalled that food manufacturers would use terms like “low fat” or “all natural” or “whole grains” on the front, but when you check the labels and ingredients they are all laden with tons of sugar! And after doing more research and after reading a recent Team Beachbody Article, I realized how dangerous and addictive sugar really is and it is a major culprit in the dis-ease of our society. Here are some of the things that I found about having a high processed/refined sugar diet:
- Suppresses the immune system’s defenses against bacterial infections
- Increases the risk of blood clots and strokes
- Contributes to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating
- Can lead to hypoglycemia, kidney damage, an elevation in harmful cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay
- Helps speed the aging process, including wrinkles and gray hair
A lot of food manufacturers use sugar as the top #1 or #2 ingredient in foods, some you wouldn’t even think of and most of the time they use other forms of sugar to make you think that you are eating healthier. Here are some culprits -Cane sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sorbitol, sucrose. Be leery of these ingredients as they are sugar and can cause damage to your weight loss progress.
So, I am not going to be a drill sergeant and say that you have to eliminate all sugar from your diet, mainly because we do need sugar to help give us energy, but if you want to live a healthier life and get your fitness/health goals in alignment, you will need to cut out a lot of the excess sugar that you are eating. Here is what I do now:
- Eliminate Sodas completely, if I want something bubbly I go for sparkling water with lime or rasperries
- All of my drinks must have no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. I also dilute fruit juices with water. (Once you start cutting out the sugar, things that you didn’t mind before become ‘too sweet’)
- When grocery shopping, sugar can’t be the #1 or #2 ingredient
- Desserts and sweet snacks are something that I eat only on special occasions or once and awhile, it is no longer an every day thing. (Ask yourself “Is it really worth the empty calories?” Plus, now you can focus on having really good desserts every once in awhile instead of subpar ones everyday)
- If I need a sweetener I will go with stevia or agave over granulated white sugar.
- Drinking Shakeology everyday (it helps eliminate cravings, especially sugar cravings)
Once I got awareness on how sugar really affects our bodies and can cause a lot of dangerous effects like Diabetes, tooth decay, speed up the aging process, create imbalances with your hormones, and how addictive it really is (because they put sugar in EVERYTHING), I had to make a change. And my body has thanked me, I sleep better, I feel better, my stomach is flatter, and I’m not always starving.
You can do it, email me at allisontibbs@beachbodycoach if you have any questions or need help with planning your meals or grocery shopping tips, or even good low sugar products.