The average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year – compared to just 7 ½ pounds consumed on average in the year 1700.
Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at UC San Francisco who is deeply concerned about the American addiction to sugar. In this “60 Minutes” interview, he points out that children today are the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, in large part due to obesity. According to Lustig, this obesity often comes from eating too much sugar.
Lustig believes that the consumption of added sugar has plunged America into a health crisis, whether it’s obesity, type 2 diabetes, or heart problems.
Sugar is a bigger part of your diet than you realize and it’s hard to avoid. A recent study reveals that 80 percent of the 600,000 food items in America are laced with added sugar. And yet our bodies do not need sugar. There is not one biochemical reaction in our bodies that requires sugar.
Clearly, it’s important to cut down on sugar, or eliminate it altogether.
8 Tips For Losing The Sugar Addiction
1. Check the labels. All those bottles that proclaim “Low Fat!” or “Less Fat!” are probably loaded with sugar. You may not see the word “sugar” as the first ingredient, but instead you’ll see “High Fructose Corn Syrup” — we’ve grown to love it. Start checking out ingredients, and you’ll find sugar in the most unexpected places: salad dressing, wine, even your marinara sauce.
2. Try not to let yourself get hungry. We’ve all experienced that mid-afternoon flag in energy, when it is so easy to just grab a cookie to get an extra boost to get through the day. Grab an apple before that happens.
3. Avoid processed foods. Even organic packaged foods often contain significant amounts of sugar. While many of them are preferable to their non-organic counterparts, the sugar content is something to be aware of. Don’t keep these foods at home, otherwise you may find them to hard to resist. Instead, make sugar-free snacks at home.
4. Make smart choices when eating out. Sugar is hidden in many dishes at restaurants, including unexpected ones like salad dressing and fruit juice, and of course their desserts can be tempting. If you are eating out, make sure you stick with dishes like grilled meats and roasted vegetables that aren’t as likely to be full of sugar.
5. Be ready to deal with cravings. You will probably be craving sugar for at least the first week or so. You might want to reach for some fruit when that happens, or alternatively, try drinking something slightly sour, which could help reduce cravings.
6. Challenge yourself to go completely sugar-free for two weeks. Sometimes when you simply try to reduce your sugar consumption, you end up eating only slightly less than where you started. Going completely sugar-free for two weeks will help you retrain your taste buds, and you’ll feel proud of yourself, as well as much healthier.
7. Get a friend to give up sugar with you. Sticking to your goals is easier if you have a buddy who you’re accountable to.
It could be a spouse, a sports pal, or a professional colleague. If you can’t find someone in “real life,” then how about an online friend?
8. Go have fun! You really don’t need to sit around thinking about sugar; in fact, that will only make your quest more difficult. Take a walk and enjoy nature, go to the park with your kids, read a good book. In other words, enjoy life. Really, you can enjoy it without sugar.
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