How to live a low sugar lifestyle
According to an article from www.news.com.au, the World Health Organization recommends our sugar consumption should only make up five per cent of our total daily calorie intake, which equates to about 25g or six teaspoons per day.
Although sugar consumption has dropped since 1999, we are still wildly exceeding the recommended limit. Indeed, the amount of sugar added to most processed foods to enhance flavour, texture and shelf-life mean it’s not hard for us to hit that total, even without purposely dipping into the sugar bowl.
For example, eating a bowl of Weet-Bix Crunchy Honey Bites cereal for breakfast, and a sandwich at midday with 2 slices of wheat bread, 4 slices of beef and pork bologna and 3 tablespoons of ketchup, with a low-fat fruit yogurt for dessert, already has you at a running total of 12.32 teaspoons of sugar. And that’s just by lunchtime.
Over recent years, more and more studies are revealing the adverse effects of excess sugar on our physical health and overall wellbeing. While for many years, saturated fats were demonized as the primary source of heart disease, more recent studies reveal that in fact, sugar is the major culprit. Richard Johnson, a nephrologist at the University of Colorado, Denver comments, “It seems like every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar.”
If we want to save ourselves from the consequences of the typical modern lifestyle— that is, one high in added sugars and ultra-processed foods — we need to be more mindful of the hidden sugars in the products we buy and we need to start replacing processed foods high in added sugars with real, raw and unprocessed ones that will give our bodies the real nutrients they need.
Top 3 everyday tips for living a low sugar lifestyle:
We talked to nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, founder of Low Sugar Lifestyle. She shared with us her top 3 tips for starting, maintaining and enjoying a low sugar lifestyle in your everyday life:
1. Watch out for products marked ‘99% fat-free’
A small bag of jelly snakes and average size box of biscuits can be labelled 99% fat-free yet they can contain 33 teaspoons of pure sugar! Also, often products like 'fat-free yoghurt' have large amounts of added sugar to make up for the loss of flavour which occurs when the fat is leached out of the yoghurt.
2. Eat healthy fats
Michele recommends a steady supply of fat be consumed at each meal, especially if you are a sugar craver. Fat triggers neurochemical responses and sends messages that we have had enough to eat, meaning we are left feeling satiated after a meal instead of craving more.
3. Eat protein at every meal
Consuming foods like meats (beef, lamb, chicken, pork and fish), dairy (milk, plain yogurt and cheese), eggs, seeds, tofu, tempeh and edamame will help to balance your blood sugar levels, stabilise your mood and reduce sugar cravings, as well as build a strong immune system and increase lean muscle mass.
Remember, it’s not about perfection, or even about eliminating sugar altogether. Living a low sugar lifestyle is about making small, long-term changes that will leave you feeling energized and revitalized every day.
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