04/01/2016 12:06 EDT | Updated 04/02/2017 05:12 EDT

Is Sugar Secretly Killing You?

Joan Vicent Cantó Roig via Getty Images
Candy string on a hanging knot representing unhealthy eating concept.

Chocolate bars, candy, pizza, cake and ice cream are all tantalizing. They are hard to ignore when it's all you can think about and crave.  Especially if you are trying to manage your weight, making these sugary foods the enemy.

Saying no and depriving yourself of sugar can do more harm than good. By saying no while your body is craving a particular type of food, you're essentially torturing yourself, and it can result in binge eating. The trick is to listen to your body and allow yourself to eat those sweet cravings in moderation. Eating in moderation will prevent you from binge eating later and having a sugar relapse.


Eat In Moderation

Our bodies can only handle so much sugar in our system. Yet, people continue to have the wrong ratio in their diet and instead have a high carb and sugar ratio. Right now there are over 2 billion people in the world who are overweight. This is mainly due to food addiction, and not controlling food portions.

The popularity of sugar-laden carbohydrates in the Western diet has led the sugar addiction. Sugar releases hormones like adrenaline in your body, which increases positive moods. This leads to people losing control and eating more than planned.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans have a daily intake of 28 teaspoons which accumulates to 96 pounds of sugar a year. Globally, the average person has 88 lbs of sugar per year. While the average nine-year-old has 123 lbs of sugar per year. When you look at these numbers as a whole, they can seem scary, especially the amount of sugar kids consume.

Even the people with the best intentions, who refrain from eating too much ice cream, candy and chocolate still can't avoid sugar. According to Fed Up, of the '600,000 food items sold in U.S. grocery stores, 80% have added sugar.' Sugar is added to nearly everything we consume. It is in your pasta sauce, salad dressing, peanut butter, and even in your bread. One tablespoon of ketchup contains as much as a teaspoon of sugar. Honey, agave syrup, stevia, fruit juice and other sweeteners that often appear in "healthier" options are all still sugars.

There Are Two Types Of Sugar

There are two types of sugar; naturally occurring sugar and processed sugar. Naturally occurring sugar comes from fruits and vegetables. Processed sugar is man-made and known as synthetic sugar-think table sugar! Kudolife Holistic Nutrition Coach, Andrea Saliba  says that "Just because you consume natural sugar doesn't mean you can have more of it. Sugar from fruit can still raise glucose levels. For example, pineapple is high in fructose, and if you are pre-diabetic, this could pose problematic." Andrea suggests, "that if you are someone who has been diagnosed  with pre-diabetes, you should limit the amount of sugar you intake. This includes fructose." For optimal health, Andrea recommends people to eat more plant-based foods that are low on the glycemic index and high in fiber.


Photo by Andrea Saliba

Andrea says, "Synthetic sugar has a very different impact on the body than natural sugar. Since our bodies don't automatically  recognize processed sugar, it will cause a raise in insulin levels and eventually be stored as body fat, making us feel weak and lack energy. Natural sugar sources, on the other hand, have the ability to be burned readily by the body as fuel. The takeaway point here is basically that we should reduce the amount of processed sugar in our diets and even those from natural sources when diagnosed with diabetes."

How Much Sugar Should You Have

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released guidelines on how much sugar we should consume. According to WHO, sugars should make up less than 10% of your total energy intake per day. Ten percent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 12 teaspoons of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index. This means you can still fit in a slice of cake (preferably organic).


According to Kudolife Health Coach Dwayne Norris "Most of the sugars that you consume are hidden sugars and can be found in processed foods that are not commonly seen as sweets. It is important to read the ingredients of everything you buy at the grocery store. This way you can ensure that you are eating organic foods with no added sugar." Plus by limiting the 'hidden sugars' from your diet, you will be able to balance more delicious treats you desire, guilt-free. Just remember to eat everything in moderation to limit future cravings and binge eating.

Balancing Your Meals

You can easily control your weight and reduce sugar addiction by following a balanced macronutrient diet of 30-40-30. That would mean consuming 30 grams of carbs, 40 grams of fats, and 30 grams of proteins. This diet will help you directly manage your calorie consumption and intake of carbs, protein and fat. Plus it will directly help you manage your sugar intake.

Loving sugar is a part of our DNA and is an important part of our lives. But a little goes a long way. Eating too much sugar can cause fat to buildup in the liver, which can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  It is important to limit the amount of sugar you have and to choose more natural sugar than processed sugar in order to reduce the threat of these diseases.

Making a few adjustments to your diet can help cut down on unnecessary sugar consumption:

  • Reduce the amount of table sugar you consume
  • Swap white bread, rice, and pasta for sprouted whole grains foods
  • Avoid foods that say 'low fat' foods as they contain hidden added sugars
  • Instead of adding sugar to your recipes, try adding spices to boost flavor and taste.
  • Avoid sugar-containing beverages and try herbal teas or infused water instead. Andrea recommends infusing your water with fresh lemon or mint!
  • Be sure to read the sugar content on all nutrition labels

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