Can you believe that Americans eat 50lbs more sugar a year than we did in the 1950s? What's going on? Turns out the biggest culprit is all the processed foods we're eating. They're filled with hidden sugars.
Natural vs. Added Sugars
Whole fruits, vegetables, and grains have Natural Sugars. Almost everything else has "Added Sugars," including:
- Baked goods/bread
- Processed snacks
- Most pre-packaged juices
- Alcohol drinks
- Sugar sweetened coffee and other beverages
- Flavored milk and yogurts
- Salad dressings, sauces and condiments
Take a look at most products’ lists of ingredients and you’ll find sugar hidden everywhere: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), invert sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, molasses, fructose, and maltose....even “healthier” ingredients like organic cane sugar, agave, organic honey, invert sugars and evaporated cane juice. These all just different names for added sugar.
How Does Sugar Affect Me?
Sugar on its own is just a simple carbohydrate, without much nutritional value besides providing quick energy. Whole foods with natural sugars have fiber, antioxidants and vitamins/minerals which give them major health value … processed foods are seriously lacking in these kinds of nutritional benefits.
Added sugars can wreak havoc on our brains. When we eat sugar, a chemical called dopamine is released, which controls the reward and pleasure centers in your brain. With chronic sugar overconsumption, your brain can become desensitized to dopamine. In other words, to feel the same satisfaction from sugar, you need to consume more and more of it -- an easy way to develop a sugar “addiction”.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for our next post about the science behind sugar and the human body.