By now, you probably know you should lower your sugar impact.
Too much sugar causes weight gain, inflammation, and makes you feel rotten. Sugar has also been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity and dementia.1 Nobody wants that!
So What’s Your Sugar IQ?
Unfortunately, avoiding sugar isn’t as simple as skipping candy bars and fountain drinks. Many “healthy choices” are just as bad. (I’m talking to you, juice shots.)
So it’s time to test your sugar knowledge! Here’s three facts you probably already know about sugar, and three more that may come as a surprise…
You know to avoid soft drinks, but how about skipping fruit juice?
Dumping the cola is a pretty obvious step when it comes to lowering your sugar intake and risk for disease. In fact, studies show that even lightly sweetened drinks can be enough to make you gain weight.2
What you might not know is that, when it comes to sugar, drinking fruit juice is just as bad as downing a bottle of Pepsi! Ounce for ounce, many fruit juices have the same sugar content as the bottles lining the soft drink aisle.3
Curious why? When you turn fruit into juice, you remove all the fiber and allow the fructose (the sugar that comes from fruit) to roam free, causing a huge, immediate impact on your blood glucose levels. That challenge strains your whole body and can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and worse.
The healthy answer: you’re much better off with fruit-infused water, unsweetened green tea, or coffee. (Check out this article for 10 easy infused water recipes…)
You know to avoid high-fructose corn syrup, but do you eat sugar-free jam?
High-fructose corn syrup earned its bad reputation.
Research shows a diet high in fructose is linked to higher body fat and lower levels of physical activity.4 Fructose has also been proven to damage over 500 genes related to brain function and memory.5
In other words, fructose makes you fat and forgetful! (There’s a tagline you’re not likely to hear in a commercial anytime soon…)
So if you’re avoiding sugar, it seems like something labeled “sugar-free” should be safe, right? Before you start slathering on the “simply fruit” jam, check the label.
Jams and preserves sweetened with fruit juice concentrate can still legally be labeled “no sugar added,” even though their sugar content is sky-high!
The takeaway? Trade the sugar-free jam and toast for a delicious gluten-free wrap with fresh fruit and nut butter.
You know to avoid table sugar, but how about honey or agave?
Most of us know better than to spoon granulated sugar into our morning cup of tea. But adding honey or agave isn’t a big improvement!
While nutrients in honey can have health benefits for those suffering from local seasonal allergies, it takes regular servings of 3-5 tablespoons to see results.6
Because honey is broken down into glucose and fructose, eating that much daily can cause problems, especially for people with diabetes or other blood sugar issues. Unfortunately, smaller amounts of honey carry all of the sugar impact and none of the healthful benefits.
As for agave, welcome to one of this decade’s biggest health food hoaxes. Most agave “nectar” or syrup is created in a lab and has up to 90% fructose – even more than high-fructose corn syrup! This is one time when marketing definitely won out over common sense, and it’s time to reject agave for the horrible health risk that it is.
As with all of your health decisions, information can go a long way toward helping you look and feel your best. If you need some tips for finding natural sweetener options that won’t harm your health, here’s a blog post to help you get started.
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