Sugar Demo

I know a lot of people are on a "diet" in the beginning of the year. I typically don't do the whole "diet" thing, but choose to focus instead on eating real food that's nourishing and delicious ALL year long. The one thing I will say if I am completely, 100% behind a sugar detox or the Whole30 concept. 30 days of no wine you ask?!?! Yes- It's a serious commitment. (And one I feel you will not regret.) This is very close to the way I normally eat. If anyone asked me, I would very readily state that I eat extremely healthy; I genuinely love vegetables and rarely crave or want excessive carbs or sugar. YET... These things sneak into your diet without you even realizing it! Look through the labels on your sausage as you throw them on the grill. Almond milk is generally sweetened with something, as is tomato sauce and even chicken stock. So, while I say I am healthy, and consume very little sugar- I DO get some in ways I don't even mean to. 

I recently did a display at my local Whole Foods with a bunch of products and the sugar cubes that corresponded to the sugar in each product. There were a few eye-openers. The 300 calorie, full-fat yogurt I feed my children is LOADED with sugar. (Does anybody besides myself seek out full-fat yogurt? There aren't many on the market. I don't WANT nonfat for my kids, I want them rolling in cream and whole milk!) Anyhow... This display showed everyone shopping that day just how much sugar was in each vitamin water, protein bar, and juice box they are feeding themselves/their kids for breakfast each day. Some shockers were tomato sauce, bacon, and salad dressings. That's why I continue to do a complete overhaul a few times a year and embark on a Whole30. The teeny, tiny bits of sugar you consume (even being a health coach and knowing not to eat sugar) add up. 

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Even when you try and live the most healthy version of your life that you can, sugar sneaks in. It's more addictive than cocaine. It's hidden in everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Salad dressings are my personal favorite. SO many people are making the responsible choice; they're ordering a salad with a vinaigrette (rather than the fat-laden Caesar so dear to my heart) and gobbling up immense amounts of sugar smeared all over their romaine and carrot slices. This is truly sad. People are doing the right thing and they're being tricked. The simple answer here is to make your own dressing. If you're traveling or out at a restaurant, simply ask for oil and vinegar (as in separate carafes) on the side. 

I have no end to my annoyance at hidden sugar, but I don't hate all sugar. I love a good meringue, or a fresh, golden, crispy, hot-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. I would never tell someone to cut out all sugar forever. There SHOULD be sugar in those foods! Nothing is hiding; you eat a cookie knowing full well that you're consuming sugar. It's the products that should NOT contain sugar that are hurting us. Read through five boxes of chicken stock the next time you're grocery shopping and see what I mean. It took three boxes of almond milk at the grocery store today before I was able to find one without sugar or carrageenen. I'm happy to notice more and more products being made "cleanly" and without the added sugar. So continue to support products that do try. I'm sure it costs them more, as sugar is a preservative. I personally would rather eat my six grams (the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association says is alright for women) of sugar in a dessert than my salad, soup, or daily vitamin. 

The far left is the amount of sugar considered alright for the average American man. The middle stack represents the average daily intake of American adults. The far right stack represents the amount of added sugar the average American child consumes daily. (Per the American Heart Association)

The far left is the amount of sugar considered alright for the average American man. The middle stack represents the average daily intake of American adults. The far right stack represents the amount of added sugar the average American child consumes daily. (Per the American Heart Association)