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The Word on Sugar

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Those looking to achieve optimal health will want to limit daily sugar intake to less than 5% of their total calories, announced the World Health Organization. Recent medical studies have confirmed that sugar is not a friend to the human body. In fact, medical science now knows that sugar actually damages DNA.  Artificial sweeteners are even worse, as they have been linked to many potential diseases. Sugar is empty calories, and your body needs quality calories to build and repair. This is why sugar is especially harmful for children, as it steals away precious calories needed for growth and brain development.

Guard your health and beware of excess daily sugar intake.

In short, you should avoid sugar whenever possible, but doing so is more of a challenge than it might initially seem because sugar is hidden in a wide array of food.  When consumers start carefully looking for processed sugar, they soon realize it’s been well-hidden in processed and fast foods. Luckily, food manufacturers are required to list their ingredients, so we know what foods have sugar in them and what foods do not.

If you want to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you either have to largely eliminate processed foods and fast foods or become an avid reader of labels. Reading labels may be time consuming, but once you identify which foods have sugar and which foods don’t, shopping becomes much quicker.

The big “wild card” in sugar consumption comes in the form of fast food. Unfortunately, fast food ingredients are not listed for consumers to quickly and easily read. The end result is that most people who dine out are also consuming far more sodium and sugar than they realize. If you’ve decided to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you’ll have to do some research on your favorite restaurants so to know what foods are low in sugar and what foods should be avoided.

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There are many ways to avoid sugar. One way is to prepare more of your own foods. In this way, you know all the foods being used and the overall sugar levels. Another way to avoid sugar, and this one will also improve your overall health, is to eat more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are foods that you can usually trust as there is nowhere to add additional sugar, with the notable exception of nuts and seeds that have been dusted with sugar.

Reducing your sugar consumption doesn’t have to be a full time job. After you go through the process of learning which foods are loaded with sugar and which ones are not, your shopping and eating practices will become second nature. The bottom line is that the effort you put into lowering your daily sugar intake is well worth it. The empty calories of sugar lead to weight gain and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you want to look great and feel great, then one of the first steps to take is to drop the sugar. Your body will thank you!

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