There are a lot of very good reasons to cut down on sugar. Some doctors believe that sugar is the biggest threat to our health. Even if you don't agree with them, it's undeniable that sugar is not good for us. So even if you can't cut it out completely (we all love sweet treats), here are some excellent reasons to cut down on sugar.
One of the most important reasons to cut down on sugar is the harm it does to your health. It's implicated in a variety of illnesses from cancer to heart disease. Obviously eating a diet low in sugar doesn't guarantee you perfect health and long life, but it will certainly help.
2. Hidden Sugars
It's astonishing to realise how many foods contain hidden sugar. Yoghurts and sodas are the obvious sources of added sugar, but you find it in some surprising items. Manufacturers add it to ready meals, soup, bread, tomato sauce and flavored water - and many other products. So you can be consuming a frightening amount of sugar without even realising.
3. Different Sugars
What makes the problem of hidden sugars even worse is that manufacturers use many different versions of sugar. It's easy to miss that ingredients listed in a food product are sugar when they go under names such as fructose, dextrose and maltose. The best way to avoid these is to cook with fresh ingredients instead of buying prepared foods.
Sugar is not the only danger to your teeth - acidic foods such as citrus juice are also a problem - but it is made worse by when we consume it. If we eat sugary foods between meals, the sugar has longer to attack our teeth. It's also a problem drinking sugary drinks throughout the day; instead of drinking lots of soda or fruit juice, opt for water.
5. Empty Calories
Sugar provides a lot of calories, but has no nutritional value. So if you eat a lot of sugar, you're consuming calories that are giving you nothing your body needs. All you gain are those extra pounds. Even that spoonful of sugar in your daily coffee will add up (and sweeteners aren't good for you either). If you need something sweet, use honey and molasses - in moderation.
6. Short-Term Energy
Do you reach for a chocolate bar or sweet snack when you're hungry? Cookies and chocolate may give us a quick boost, but we've all experienced that crash when these sweet snacks wear off. You end up feeling tired again very quickly. Choose a healthier alternative such as nuts or fruit if you need to snack between meals - and never miss meals.
7. Too Much
According to the American Heart Association, most Americans consume more than twice the recommended limit of sugar (source: heart.org). So you probably need to cut down your sugar intake by at least half. Remember that you don't have to reach the limit - it's better to consume less.
Sugar may be tasty, but since we all consume far too much it would be wise to examine how we could cut down our intake. This doesn't mean doing without sweet items altogether, but rather being selective about how we consume it. If you want to eat cakes and desserts, eat smaller portions, and avoid hidden sugars. Could you ever give up sugar?