Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beat The Sugar Cravings

As most of you know I love desserts and I love to hate them also. No one really needs desserts and that is the problem because, just like me, so many of us love to crave and indulge in desserts. Of course, with desserts comes sugar and a lot of it.

I can go into this article giving you a lot of facts, conversions, statistics and this and that but I am not. I am a regular overweight woman who counts my calories, exercises daily and also struggles with my cravings. When I have a larger dinner I often times want a dessert to top it off. I am that typical person who craves a nice slice of chocolate cake or a delectable brownie around 8 p.m. on a Tuesday after dinner and that's not good.

Now, we all know that sugar is bad for us and that most all desserts have lots of sugar (and that kind of sugar we really don't need), but hey, what will one brownie or one slice of cheesecake hurt? Right? Well, if you're watching your sugar intake it could really do some damage to your day.

I will start of by giving you some basics.

1. There are simple sugars which occur naturally in your fruits
    A. These are common to most healthy diets and aren't normally a hazard if eaten in moderation.

2. Then there are added simple sugars which come in most of your desserts, cereals, juice drinks, etc.
     A. These sugars actually make you want more sugar and induce cravings which makes us eat more.

As I was doing some research on how much sugar an adult female should consume a day I came across a lot of answers given in teaspoon measurements. If you are like me though, I don't measure my sugar consumption out by the teaspoon, down it and know that my daily intake has occurred. I eat my sugars by the food I take in. So, my charts are based on grams because on nutritional labels where it has the sugar labeled, it isn't in teaspoons, so neither should my advice to you. But, for kicks I will give you a little trivia.

Do you know how much sugar a female and male should take in daily?
Females should take in no more than 6 teaspoons and males should take in no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar a day. OK, so do you know how many grams that is without Googling it? Me either, so check below for the conversions and shocking facts about some food you may eat daily!

Each day I start my morning with a bowl of oatmeal (1/2 cup of oats, a banana and two tablespoons of sunflower butter). I add no sugar besides what's in my sunflower butter and banana. Something that floored me once I started paying more attention to my sugar was how much I was eating just by having this, seemingly, healthy breakfast. Just by having this breakfast every morning I was taking in 18.4 grams of sugar! That's almost 77 percent of my daily intake, just in breakfast alone! It seems like a healthy breakfast, right? Lets see if you're able to guess which breakfast item in my bowl has the most grams of sugar.

Oats: 1 gram
Sunflower Butter: 3 grams
Banana: 14.4 grams

If you pair this with an 8-ounce glass of orange juice (and it must be 8 ounces none over) you would be over your daily intake of sugar by a whopping 15.2 grams! If you're a mathematician then you now know a glass of orange juice will set you back 20.8 grams of sugar, or well over 3/4 your daily intake. With that being said, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that if you ate an orange the sugar you took in would be less hazardous than the "added simple sugar" in the orange juice.

Is it starting to make more sense now? Most of us get an outrageous amount of sugar without even knowing it because we don't realize how "added simple sugar" is in the food items we eat. I made a chart of some of the fruits I eat the most of and how many grams of sugar each contain. If you'd like for me to create a chart of your fruits then let me know in the comment section below!

What I want you to gather from reading this article is that we all need to be more conscious of what we are putting into our bodies, feeding our family and our children. It isn't about cutting out all sugars, fruits, desserts, cereals, juices, etc., but being aware of what we are eating and whether we are consuming more simple sugars or "added simple sugars." So next time instead of having that big slice of cherry cheesecake switch it to some heart healthy fruit such as the antioxidant blueberries and some Greek Yogurt.

Having a healthy lifestyle isn't about blocking out a dessert on a night out or not having that soda every blue moon, but it is about making the small changes as much as possible in order for us to live a happier, healthier life. Constantly choosing soda, cheesecake, sugary cereals and sugary juices will only lead you to craving more sugary foods and ultimately result in weight gain.

Be good to your heart and choose foods that make you and your heart function to its longest and best life!

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below!

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