At one point or another, we all have felt it: the seemingly irresistible draw of a slice of cake, a soda, or a bowl of ice cream. While we should definitely treat ourselves to something sweet every once in a while, many of us consume much more sugar than our bodies need on a daily basis.
Our cravings for sugar are ingrained in our biology. Many years ago, when humans were still hunting and scavenging for food, our brains evolved to reward us for finding sugary foods because they provide us with the high amounts of energy we needed. Nowadays, however, sugar is far from scarce.
Not So Sweet
It’s no secret that the amount of sugar in our foods has played a huge factor in the obesity epidemic in developed countries around the world. Even more concerning is that the negative health effects of overconsumption of sugar go far beyond just weight gain.
Up until recently, research mainly revolved around sugar’s role in obesity and dental health. However, new studies have found that an overconsumption of sugar can increase your risk of a number of other health problems independent of weight, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, dementia, and cancer. The consensus is that avoiding sugar overconsumption is not just necessary to maintain a healthy weight: it is critical for overall good health.
Curbing the Craving
So, how much is too much? According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day, while women should limit their intake to 6 teaspoons. To put that in perspective, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 teaspoons of added sugar.
While it may seem obvious, one of the best ways to reduce your sugar intake and simultaneously curb your cravings is to turn to healthier sugary foods, like fruit and dark chocolate. Studies show that foods and beverages filled with added sugar, like sodas, may fulfill your craving in the short term, but leave you feeling unsatiated long-term, creating a cycle of repeated consumption. Conversely, foods like fruits with naturally-occuring sugars leave you feeling full and energetic longer, while offering other nutritional benefits, too.
Shred provides you with the tools you need to get stronger and workout harder with dynamic and diverse training programs tailored to your personal goals. Any fitness regimen is incomplete without proper nutrition. Make sure you’re getting the most out of each of your workouts by balancing your sugar intake.