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sPEAKing Our Minds: Sorry, Sweetie...It’s Time to Break Up

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No doubt about it, folks. We are in love with sugar. It’s like the bad boy (or girl) you had a major crush on in high school and couldn’t get enough of, even though everything about him was a horrible idea. You wanted him anyway.

We will do anything for sugar. The food industry knows this. They keep adding more and more of it to our diet. “Give the people what they want!”, am I right? The problem is, added sugar is horrible for our health, both short and long term. Yep, kind of like that boyfriend.

 “Added” sugars, by definition, are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed. “Naturally occurring” sugars are those already found in fruit (fructose) or milk (lactose). It’s the added sugars that are the problem. They can include, brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose. It is recommended that women consume no more than 24g (6 teaspoons) per day and men 36g (9 teaspoons) per day, yet, according to the CDC, men currently average over 19 teaspoons per day and women over 14 teaspoons. What’s worse, our kids are more addicted than we are, with boys age 9-18 consuming over 23 teaspoons/day and girls 9-18 nearly 18 teaspoons.

Why does it matter? It’s making us sick. Sick in the heart, sick in the liver, sick in the kidneys and even sick in the head. Our addiction to sugar is costing us our health both now and in retirement. Too much sugar in our diet can lead to diabetes—we already know that. But did you know that it can also cause a fatty liver (similar to alcoholism), heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia? Too much sugar can also be responsible for chronic, low-grade inflammation which can also lead to serious health problems, including cancer.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your intake:

• Read labels: Look for added sugars from the list above. Helpful hint: Take the number of grams of added sugar listed and divide by 4. That’s how many teaspoons there are. You might just get grossed out and toss it.

• Drink less soda and sweet tea. 1/3 of the added sugars we consume come from sugary drinks. A large sweet tea from a certain fast food restaurant contains 38g of sugar (almost 10 teaspoons!) A large cola from the same restaurant has 77g of sugar (gulp! Almost 20 teaspoons!)

• Eat fruit! Add it to your oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, and pancakes or eat it as is.

• When baking, you can reduce the sugar by 1/3 and it will not affect the recipe. Use less!

Hopefully, you smartened up and realized that bad boy was no good for you back in the day and you ditched him. Let’s try the same with the sugar in your diet. Create a buzz. Foster a new vibrancy. Develop a destination. Get kids, families and communities moving. Now is the time to get everyone involved in fitness! ELEVATE Fitness Course was inspired by the fast-growing trend of obstacle course fitness and its ability to engage both traditional and non-traditional users. Learn more about ELEVATE here. Transform the way you think. Become empowered to become your best self. Join a community of like-minded individuals. Get advice from licensed and certified fitness and nutrition professionals. For more information on Peak Performance click here.



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