Most of us love sugar because it simply makes our food taste better. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that our bodies need this substance to help create energy. The problem is that we tend to eat much more than what our system can use. One important thing to remember is that not all sugars are the same. According to the AHA, sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and other natural healthy foods have no negative effect on our health. It’s the added sugar in processed foods and soft drinks that are the real problem. The AHA also recommends that for the average healthy woman, added unhealthy sugar intake should be 25grams or less or the equivalent of 100 calories. For men it should be less than 36grams or the equivalent of about 150 calories. To put this into perspective, the average can of 12 ounce soda contains about 22 grams of sugar. That pretty much wipes out our total intake for the day.
I am military veteran and have always believed in working out and staying in shape, but it was not until about a year ago I really started to pay attention to food labels. I went to my doctor for an annual physical and was surprised to find out that my blood sugar was elevated. I started trying to think back to what could be causing this change. That’s when I started to realize that I was eating too much sugar. One thing I did not realize is that just because a food is healthy in one aspect does not mean its good for you in all aspects. For example, I love orange juice and it is a good source of Potassium, Vitamin C, and other vitamins and nutrients. The downside is that it’s high in sugar. Typically, one eight ounce glass of the name brand juices contains as much sugar as soft drinks. So it’s best to drink pure squeezed orange juice because the sugar content is not as high and it’s natural from fresh fruits. Not all juices are 100% pure so always read the labels and do your homework if not sure. You can see this usually on the packaging of the product. Make sure that you read them carefully so you will get and know the amount of sugar on the product.
The doctor recommended that I lose around 5-10 pounds and to improve my diet and have my labs taken again in three months. I cut a lot of the bad sugar from my diet and also lost about five pounds. When I had my labs taken again my levels were back to normal. I am not saying that my problem was totally caused by sugar, but I am sure it was a contributing factor. If you are concerned about your health, I cannot stress enough to really pay attention to the labels of the food you eat. It is especially important to monitor your sugar intake because it is very easy to surpass the daily recommended intake. This could potentially cause you serious health problems.