I do have to admit, I use to be extremely bad when it came to my intake of sugar. Before getting into fitness and surrounding myself with healthy, wholesome foods, I would drink soda and consume sweets on a daily basis. This caused me to gain weight, especially in my legs, and one day I just had enough. I completely changed my lifestyle to incorporate healthy behaviors, got a trainer and followed a strict diet for three months. I reached my weight loss goal in this time period and have stayed with this regime ever since.
From this experience, I have learned the importance of consuming healthy fats, such as coconut oil, having a balanced diet of protein and carbohydrates, and almost completely eliminating sugar from my diet. I do allow myself a small sweet twice a week, but moderation is key with this. Take the time to look at the nutritional labels of each product you purchase and analyze the sugar content. Takepart.com recently listed 12 surprising foods with have more sugar than one Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut! (Some of these are even “healthy”!)
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) recently put out an article about new suggested sugar recommendations for both adults and children. According to the new draft guidelines, the suggested sugar intake should be five percent of your daily total calories – this is HALF of the original recommendation. Why? The W.H.O. is breaking down the difference in our diets between naturally occurring sugars (like those found in strawberries or bananas), and “free sugars” (the ones we add to foods through refining and processing).
“Free sugars contribute to the overall energy density of diets. Ensuring energy balance is critical to maintaining healthy body weight and ensuring optimal nutrient intake.
There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
Also of great concern is the role free sugars play in the development of dental diseases, particularly dental caries. Dental diseases are the most prevalent NCDs globally and though great improvements in prevention and treatment have occurred in the last decades, dental diseases continue to cause pain, anxiety, functional limitation and social handicap through tooth loss, for large numbers of people worldwide. The treatment of dental diseases is expensive—costing between 5 and 10% of health budgets in industrialised countries—and would exceed the financial resources available for the whole of health care for children in the majority of lower-income countries.
When finalized, the recommendations in this guideline can be used by programme managers and policy planners to assess current intake of free sugars relative to a benchmark and develop measures to decrease intake of free sugars, where necessary, through public health interventions.” – W.H.O., 2014
I personally have had great results with adding coconut oil into my diet, which has tremendously helped my sugar cravings. Try Michelle’s recipe for Overnight Oatmeal or Healthy Apple Crisp, which will give you a source of natural sugar, healthy fats, and a satisfied sweet tooth.