I remember a day when my daughter asked for strawberries. That in itself wasn’t new, but asking for sugar on top of the strawberries was. She said that a friend’s grandmother put sugar on her strawberries when they had an after-school snack and now she didn’t want to eat fresh strawberries without sugar. I did what any parent would do, I lied and said that I was out of sugar. After a few days of “not” having sugar in the house, she went back to eating strawberries as nature intended.
Excessive consumption of sugar or sugary drinks is linked to a host of health risks ranging from fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Research also shows that diets high in added sugar may be linked to anxiety and depressive symptoms.
The health benefits gained by reducing and/or eliminating added sugar from your diet are many. In fact, cutting out sources of added sugar may help you lose weight, not just by cutting calories, but by curbing cravings for high fat, high sugar foods that are linked to weight gain. When you eat whole grain, nutrient-rich dense foods, adding protein and fiber, you stay full longer. Satiety is key to keeping a healthy weight. Foods higher in protein, healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins
and minerals help boost your energy level naturally.
Sounds simple, right?
I propose a 7 day sugar challenge. That is eliminating added sugar for one week to see how you feel and what improvements you can make to your health and everyday nutritional habits. Don’t panic, I’ve got a great list of nutrient-dense foods that you can eat:
Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, sweet potatoes, etc.
Fruits: apples, oranges, berries, grapes, cherries, grapefruit, etc.
Proteins: chicken, fish, beef, tofu, eggs, etc.
Healthy fat sources: egg yolks, avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, unsweetened yogurt, etc.
Complex carb sources: beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brown rice, etc.
Unsweetened beverages: water, sparkling water, unsweetened coffee, and tea
Avoid the following foods and drinks with added sugars:
Condiments with added sugar: ketchup, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, coffee creamer
Sweetened dairy products: flavored yogurt, ice cream, chocolate milk
Sugary baked goods: cookies, cakes, donuts, bread with added sugar
Sugary breakfast foods: sugar-sweetened cereals, bars, granola, flavored oatmeal
Candy: milk chocolate, gummy candies, caramels, etc. (dark 85% chocolate has very little sugar and antioxidants)
Sugary alcoholic beverages: mixed drinks, sweetened liquor, sweetened canned alcoholic drinks
Sugary soda and juices
Suggestion: Try keeping a food journal for one week. You might be surprised at how making a few changes to your eating habits can lead to healthier eating.
If you want to discuss healthier nutritional habits, or if you struggle with food allergies, sign up for a free consultation today and we’ll get you on the path to good nutrition.