Does this sound familiar?
You’ve made the decision to lose weight – whether for health reasons, or just because you want to rock the skinny jeans this year. Either way – the reason is yours. No judgey eyes here! Feeling motivated, you fill the grocery cart with everything labeled Non-Fat and Low-Fat. This time you’re really going to do it. You are on FI-YAHHHH!!
Ice cream? Hardly – it’s now Low-Fat FroYo, yo. Bagel for breakfast? As if. It’s a healthy bowl of low-fat granola, berries and skim milk for you, duhh. A couple weeks go by, and….hmmm ….no change. A few more weeks….and you actually gained a few? WTF?? Despite your best efforts the weight just won’t come off and you don’t know why. It can feel so frustrating and demoralizing.
HINT: It’s the SUGAR…… and I can help you.
I know….SUCH a bummer, but our beloved FroYo is just packed with sugar. 17-grams in 1/2-cup serving. I have never had a 1/2-cup serving. Ever. It’s more like 2-cups. With fresh strawberries for extra health benefits of course. ;-(
The Big Fat Problem: Fat OUT means Sugar IN
First, let me say that we are not talking about naturally low-fat or non-fat whole foods like fruits, veggies, fresh fish, chicken etc. I’m talking specifically about the pre-packaged processed foods you find in the center aisles of the grocery store, and in typical restaurants and stores. These are the culprits housing way too much added sugar, hidden in plain sight.
Why Low-fat Foods Won’t Help You Lose Weight
In short, low / non-fat foods will not help you to lose weight because they are filled with added Sugar.
When fat is removed from a food, it tastes like cardboard. In order to make it taste good, and therefore “sellable” to consumers, food companies ADD SUGAR. So, while you may be ingesting less fat – you are filling your body with more sugar. Sugar is void of nutrients, vitamins and fiber which means you are eating airy, empty calories and never feeling full. Add to this, the fact that Sugar is extremely addicting – making you crave it more and more, and you’ve got a vicious cycle.
That’s why you can eat an entire bag of low-fat cookies….. and still feel hungry. Guess what happens next? Yup. We reach for more food in an effort to feel sated, resulting in eating even more calories. But it’s not only the additional calories we’re eating – it’s the INSULIN SURGE that sugar causes in our bodies – that promotes weight gain.
Even the NAME is misleading. SnackWell…..like this is a healthier option. It’s NOT. Don’t be fooled. 1 snack-pack, which has 4 cookies – has 17-grams of SUGAR. 17 grams. And btw – I used to freaking LOVE these cookies, and I can tell you that Never-Did-I-Ever eat only 4 of them. Ever. ;-(
Insulin Surge says: “Stop burning fat, Start storing it.”
Inside of our bodies, our pancreas creates a hormone called insulin. Insulin is released into the bloodstream to help regulate our blood sugar by transferring said blood sugar into our bloodstream and into our cells. In other words, it keeps everything running smoothly and systematically. When we eat foods with too much sugar, our pancreas goes into overdrive to produce enough insulin to accommodate the rush of sugar we’ve just ingested.
This is called an Insulin Surge. Think of it like the difference between a light sprinkle of rain, and a torrential downpour. Too much sugar = torrential downpour and the pancreas is trying to put out enough rain buckets to keep from drowning.
This why we gain or cannot lose weight eating processed low-fat (or fat-free) food products. It’s not just the extra calories we end up eating – it is the way in which too much sugar interacts with our insides, causing insulin surges which tell the body to store fat – not burn it.
It is NOT your fault
If you’re like the vast majority of people, myself included – you fell into the “low-fat is better” ploy at least once in your life. We feverishly focused on low-fat foods, when the proverbial Sugar-Train was coming from the other direction. And you know what? It is NOT your fault. Seriously.
I mean, I’m all about taking personal responsibility – but when wealthy, Goliath sized food conglomerates systematically market their sugar-filled products to us as healthy, despite knowing differently, and the sugar industry purposefully stops or dismisses negative, or counter-productive studies about the dangers of sugar-consumption from reaching the public – how are we able to make smart, informed decisions for ourselves?
And oh btw, we should be really angry about this. They have zero right to mislead, lie or suppress important information that clearly affects our health, and our lives. Zero.
Will this help me get Light & Fit? Nope.
Light & Fit Yogurt. Sounds healthy, right? I mean, who doesn’t want to be Light & Fit? The problem is, no one’s getting light and fit eating this stuff – packed with 11….that’s ELEVEN grams of sugar in ONE cup. That represents almost half of the 24-gram daily maximum the ADA recommends for women. More on that later.
Think about it logically. Fat-free foods have inundated the market-space for a good 30-years, in conjunction with the whole gym & fitness craze. Yet we as a society are literally fatter and unhealthier than ever. It isn’t lack of exercise, or less moving around due to technology. A very, very large part, I would argue – lies in our over-consumption of highly-processed foods, the vast majority of which are filled with unhealthy added sugars.
The average American eats 88-Grams of sugar per day. That is over 3.5x the daily recommendation. The American Diabetes Association recommends no more than 24-grams of sugar per day, for women. Men, no more than 36-grams. Again, compare that to our average of 88-grams. Ah-ha!
Did you get that? As women, we should be ingesting less than 24-grams of sugar per day. That’s it.
We can only make smart decisions when we have accurate information, and now we do. More and more information on the dangers of sugar consumption are starting to seep out into the general public, and starting to get a lot of well-deserved attention. This is good, people!
Most any independent study you will find, (that is, studies not backed by the sugar industry or conglomerates whose products are primarily sugary) says that our increasing consumption of sugar is making us fat, sick, unhappy, it is aging us and in short – it’s killing us. So let’s take back control, shall we? We shall.
KIND “Healthy Grains” (c’mon – it’s granola). This is actually the brands 35% less sugar version. Still – it has 5-grams of sugar in 1/2 a cup. Don’t get me wrong – it is deliciously addicting. It is very, very hard to have just 1/2 a cup. I’ve tried ;-/
Bringing it Home, Baby! Make Healthy Changes Starting Now!
Here’s what we know:
1. The Added Sugars in our food are making us fat, sick, lethargic, unhappy, addicted – and they’re outright killing us.
2. We women should not eat more than 24-grams of sugar, per day. That equates to 6-teaspoons. Now let’s take action!
1. Go into your pantry and read the sugar content on the labels of foods you’d typically eat. Chances are, you’ll be shocked at the ubiquity of sugar. It is everywhere – hiding in foods you’d never think had sugar. Like pasta sauce, soups, and condiments.
2. Make sure to read the serving size. They’re usually super small, and most of us will naturally have a couple servings. For example, pasta sauce usually gives a 1/2-cup serving size. When I started paying attention to sugar, I would measure out my typical serving – and found that I’d usually have 1-cup of pasta sauce. That meant I would be ingesting 8-12 grams of sugar, if I chose to still have the sauce. Ugh.
3. Be sure to include drinks! Things like Sports drinks, Vitamin Waters, and Specialty Coffee drinks can have loads of sugar in them. Be sure to include those in your analysis!
4. Now just apply the 24-gram per day Rule. That is, your maximum added sugar intake should be 24-grams or less. As you’re making a meal or about to have a snack – just read your labels. Know what you’re eating!
Eating Under 24-Grams of Sugar. What to Expect!
The difficulty level of staying under 24-grams of sugar daily, will really depend upon your current eating habits. If frozen pizzas, sodas, and packaged foods have been your go-to, it might be a bit more challenging for you than say, someone like my mom – who already eats pretty darn clean. That’s ok! You’re a warrior and I know you’ll get it done.
A little cranky and agitated at first
+ The first 1-2 weeks are usually the most challenging. You may feel cranky and agitated, as your body throws a mini-tantrum that it isn’t getting its sugar-fix. This is normal. Just muscle through it, think of the end goal – good health, feeling amazing, dropping unhealthy lbs.
Cravings will begin to subside
+ As you adjust to eating less sugar, you’ll likely begin to crave it less and less. This is the sugar-addiction working its way out of your body. Happily, you will naturally not want to eat – what you do not crave. This is good!
Tastebuds will adjust
+ Your tastebuds will change and adjust. This takes a few weeks or even a month. Too much sugar, salt and fat dulls our tastebuds. In greatly reducing (or eliminating of course), your sugar intake, you’ll notice that sweetness is intensified. So your favorite low-fat granola, will taste much sweeter than you recall.
Mind clarity, happier, more stabilized moods
+ The negative effects that sugar has on our entire being, is so exhaustive – there was no way to fit it into ONE article without turning it into a novel. Sugar also affects mental acuity (feeling foggy, not as quick), and our moods. Think of how agitated or irritable we can sometimes feel after too much sugar.
As you go through the process of essentially detoxifying your body from sugar-overload, you will begin to feel as though a cloud has been lifted from your mind and spirits. You’ll feel sharp, clear-minded and experience lighter, happier moods. This is when most people realize how powerful and toxic sugar is to our entire health and well-being.
You will lose weight
+ You WILL lose weight. By greatly reducing sugar to under 24-grams, (of course eliminating is best, but one step at a time) you’ll naturally start cutting out many unhealthy, processed foods because it would put you over the 24-grams. Also, in eating healthier alternatives, you’re going to feel fuller – not reaching for “something else to eat.”
You are the only YOU this world has….. Take care of yourself, fuel your body with healthy foods, eliminate things that are not for your best and highest good. Live your healthiest, happiest – most amazing life. You deserve nothing less. 😉
xoxoxo – Shelli
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