What is sugar? We add it to our coffee, bake it in cookies, or sprinkle it on our cereal for extra “flavor”. Unfortunately it is also packed into many everyday foods and snacks such as soda, pastries, fruit juices, and dairy products. Sugar is commonly thought of as tasty and refreshing, but in reality when consumed in the quantities that most Americans consume it in it is considered toxic.

It is often debated just how much sugar the average American ingests on a daily basis. Depending on the study you read it can be anywhere from 20-32 teaspoons per day. That’s 4 grams of granulated sugar per teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends only 6 teaspoons per day for women and up to 9 teaspoons per day for men. So what is all this excess sugar doing to our bodies?

First off excess sugar in our diets can overload and damage your liver leading. Too much sugar in the diet can effect the liver in a very way to alcohol, leading to potential liver disease over time. Second without getting too technical sugar easily forces your bodily to gain weight and alter our insulin and leptin signaling. Excess sugar also increases uric acid levels which can lead to heart and kidney disease. High sugar intake has also been shown to lead to metabolic dysfunction.

I don’t tell you this to scare you. Sugar in it’s everyday form is natural and normal to consume. Humans have been consuming sugar for thousands of years. It is only in the last couple hundred years that our sugar intake has skyrocketed to dangerous levels creating the barrage of issues we are now facing.

So how can we limit our sugar intake? First I recommend limiting your refined carbohydrate intake ie cereals, waffles, breads, etc. These foods just break down to simple sugars in the body. Also it is wise to minimize most manufactured drinks such as sodas and juices. Next try upping your intake of healthy fats. Your body needs these healthy fats and they will actually help suppress some sugar cravings. Increase your water intake as well. If you are a regular soda or juice drinker this will be hard at first. But if you can swap 2 glasses of water in place of every soda you would drink within a week you can see some very dramatic and healthy changes.

Kicking excess sugar is tough, especially at first. Your body is accustomed to having it and in many cases even addicted to it. You may feel irritable for the first few days or even get a mild headache. I can promise you this will subside in less than a week if you are able to stick to a healthy diet. The benefits of reduced sugar intake will long outlast any temporary satisfaction you may get from fulfilling a craving.

We will be running a 30 Day Nutrition Challenge at Charm City CrossFit in the month of September. One of the most beneficial parts of the challenge will be kicking excess sugar out of our diets. If you’d like to learn more about the challenge you can email us here at nick@charmcitycrossfit.com or give us a call at 443-518-9451.

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