6 Signs You Might Be Eating too Much Sugar
Why should you be mindful of not eating too much sugar? Over the last few years, researchers have been building a case against sugar. A study has shown a connection in children between cutting back on sugar and heart health, and in September, JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that the sugar industry “sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in coronary heart disease.”
Here are a few signals your body might be sending you to let you know you’ve been eating too much of the sweet stuff.
1. You feel like a zombie.
You wake up tired, so you grab a vanilla latte, but soon after, you’re exhausted again. What’s the catch? Feeling tired all the time is a common sign of eating too much added sugar.
Overdoing it on sweet treats like Halloween candy to The Walking Dead. Sugary foods give us a boost in energy at first, but not long after — about 30 minutes — you will come crashing down, and turn into a zombie!
2. You’re often hungry.
When lunch rolls around, you’re often ravenous, despite the two snacks you ate after your morning coffee. Sure, the 12 grams of protein in that Vanilla Latte helped tide you over, but that’s not what’s affecting your appetite. It could be the sugar you consumed this morning, starting with those pumps of sweet vanilla (or hazelnut or caramel) goodness. Excessive intake of sugar often displaces other, more nutrient-dense foods. Sugar-rich foods or beverages are often empty calorie/nutrient-void, so you can consume a lot and still feel “hungry” because your body still needs proper nutrition.
3. You can’t stop blowing your nose.
When a cold is going around, do you seem to catch it every time? Or do you seem to get every bug your kids bring home, despite being fairly healthy? Sugar can suppress the immune system and cause you to get sick more often.
4. You’re moody.
Feeling grumpy or on edge for no reason? Surprisingly, sugar — which gives us pleasure when we eat it — can negatively impact our mood when we overdo it. Both depression and anxiety are linked to added sugar intake. Added sugars cause inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, and cause spikes in blood sugar, which can also affect mood.
5. You can’t seem to stop eating added sugar.
If you crave the sweet stuff and just can’t seem to get enough, it’s a sign you may eating too much sugar. Constant sugar cravings are the most common sign of over consumption. Do you crave sugary or ‘carbolicious’ treats throughout the day? If so, chances are, you are addicted to sugar. Unfortunately, the more you eat, the more you’ll crave.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) daily from added sugar, and men should limit that amount to 150 calories (9 teaspoons). That’s about one soda’s worth. If you’re eating more than what’s in that, that’s too much.”
6. Your weight loss has stalled.
All calories are not created equal, and a diet that tips heavily toward sweets can cause weight loss to stall out. If you’re having a hard time shedding pounds, I suggest looking at macro-nutrient balance. A diet high in refined carbs and sugar and low in fat can keep on excess weight.
If you’re starting to worry you’re eating too much sugar, know this. Moderate amounts of added sugar are not harmful to health and helps make eating a balanced, healthy diet more pleasurable — think honey drizzled over plain yogurt, maple syrup in your favorite homemade energy bar, or regular sugar in your famous recipe for chocolate chip cookies. So start small and cut back slowly. Or, try this approach:
No added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and no alcohol for a week!
First, I had to figure out what in my diet had to go. For three weeks I wouldn’t add honey to my overnight oats, I would make my own salad dressing instead of buying it from the store, and I would drink plain black coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up instead of a handful of chocolate chips. I swapped out my vanilla almond milk for the unsweetened version, and I chose plain Greek yogurt instead of a flavored kind. My options to satisfy my sweet tooth began and ended with fruit. What joy, muttered my inner chocoholic.
In addition to added sugar, artificial sweeteners also went on the no-eat list. You don’t absorb artificial sweeteners the same as natural sugar, and they don’t have any calories, but they’re weird chemicals and they put your palate off.
Many experts don’t count Stevia as an artificial sweetener given it comes from a natural source. That’s sound logic but if you’re trying to ‘reboot’ your taste buds, you might as well skip it too. I was interested to see if my sweet tooth would change by not eating added or artificial sugar, so I opted to remove all forms of sweetener for this experiment.
And finally, alcohol. A moderate amount of red wine is permitted in this plan, thanks to the fact it contains the antioxidant resveratrol. But it does contain a lot of sugar and it lowers your inhibitions, which meant it would make it that much harder for me to resist a sugary snack. It looked like I’d have to find another way to consume my grapes.