Reduce added sugar consumption to 3 servings per week.
What exactly is “added sugar?” Well aside from the obvious pouring sugar in your coffee or eating a candy bar, added sugar can be pretty sneaky and it can be found in foods that would surprise you. Take pasta sauce for example, ½ cup of Ragu Robusto pasta sauce contains 11g of sugar. Now go grab your ½ cup measure and see just how small of a serving that really is. If I were going to eat this (which let’s face it, as an Italian who likes to cook, would neverhappen as Ragu was the equivalent to an actual 4 letter word growing up) I would use at least 2 servings but probably more like 3 because I like a lot of sauce. So 3 servings of pasta sauce at 11g of sugar per serving equals 33 grams of sugar! That’s a little more than 8 teaspoons of sugar….in pasta sauce. Um, no thanks-if I am going to suck down 33 grams of sugar it better be in my home-made peanut butter cups and not in some jarred pasta sauce. This resource from the Whole30 web site lists all the different names and forms of sugar found in foods. It’s crazy when you see how many different ways companies can sneak sugar into our foods. I’ve never even heard of treacle before so I certainly didn’t know it was as type of sugar syrup. The bottom line is that if you haven’t started to read labels yet, now is the time to start.
So why is sugar so bad for us? Well aside from the obvious empty calories (empty calories provide us with calories but no nutrition) sugar is a highly addicted substance. The more sugar we eat the more sugar we crave which creates hormonal imbalances that can lead to insulin resistance. (Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells don’t respond to the insulin that is secreted by the pancreas, so the pancreas must secrete more insulin to decrease blood sugar.) When sugar is ingested, beta cells in the pancreas secrete the hormone insulin to either:
A. convert the sugar (glucose) into energy to be used immediately or to
B. shuttle the sugar into cells to be used later for energy (and also to decrease blood sugar.)
Excessive amounts of ingested sugar/glucose are converted into glycogen to be stored as fat. Yes you read that correctly…excessive sugar consumption is stored as fat.
Why sugar is addicting and how it triggers a hormonal response when we ingest it.
I teach my students and children what I learned when I read It Starts with Food, the foods that we eat either add to our health or take away from our health. There are no redeeming nutritional qualities found in sugar. Your health can do nothing but improve with less added sugar.