Know Your Nutritional Enemies

There is a LOT of information out there for each consumer to wade through as we attempt to change our lives for the healthier and better. We need to know our friends and identify clearly our enemies.

For a long time Americans have fought their battle with fat by eating “fat free” foods. We are, in the wake of this, a fatter and sicker country, not a healthier one. So if good fat from the right sources is not the enemy, (see my article on good fat/bad fat), then maybe we need to look for another culprit.

I’ll just say it- the real enemies, in my mind, are packaged, refined, processed, old foods and added sugars. We are a convenience oriented and sugar addicted society and if you want to get serious about losing weight and feeling better, start eating real, whole food and dump the added sugar!

Whole food just means real food in it’s freshest, youngest, most original form. Do you recognize what you are putting in your mouth? Do you have any clue what it “used” to be when it was a baby? Was it ever a real, living thing?

Too much sugar and too many refined carbs affect our insulin levels, changing blood sugar levels and causing fat to accumulate, especially around the waistline. Research reveals that the average American consumes more than 47 teaspoons of sugar per day! This consumption level directly correlates to our national obesity. High blood pressure, an increased risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes are 3 other good reasons to get sugar consumption under control.

Take a look at your own pantry and fridge and check out the sugars hiding in non fat dairy products, sweetened soy, almond, rice, and coconut milk, bread, cereal, condiments, soup, peanut butter, as well as the more obvious sweets and treats.

Filling up with “foods” low in nutrition and high in sugar will keep us away from the good stuff. It may also suppress the immune system, effect moods, cause headaches, change energy levels, promote tooth decay, cause unnecessary weight gain, increase fluid retention…I’ll stop there, but it’s not a pretty list!

Can you be addicted to sugar? You bet! Try going off of it. A good layman’s definition of any addiction is anything you throw an internal TANTRUM over not being able to have. That’s a red light. Sugar addiction has the classic symptoms of cravings, increased intake, withdrawal, and relapse. Can you let it go?

Don’t do it by substituting  garbage chemicals like saccharin, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and sucralose. I won’t go on about this, but do your homework if you need to. They’re not good for you. Period.  Stevia is probably the best sweetener out there- check it out! Soda? Forget it. Diet Soda? Even worse. (See mySo-Duh! article)  Ultimately we want to slow down, suppress, and replace our appetite for sugar, not feed and awaken that sugar tooth through false sources.

Stress may trigger your sweet tooth, or even thirst, so ask yourself the age old question before you eat the sweet- “Do I really want or need this? Is it worth it?” Try drinking 8 oz. of water and WAITING 15 minutes. If the urge is still there, go for something more pure like a small amount of organic dark chocolate over a processed candy bar. If you aim at a maximum of 5 grams of sugar 3x a day, you’ll start to notice a change in how you feel and how you look. Isn’t that the point?

So I challenge you to go on a 2-4 week sugar fast. No added sugar. Naturally occurring sugar in organic, whole dairy products is OK, but even consider going off fruit, JUST for this sugar fast. Notice how you feel, when you crave the sugar, what you’re hungry for, and who you’re with when the craving hits. Be prepared with other food to meet your craving head on- eat some protein or veggies & dip or air popped corn- be creative and don’t let yourself get hungry.

This could be your year to embrace nutritional friends and address an old enemy!

Questions?  Send me a note!

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