With the festive season upon us, baking is in full swing. And with baking the indulgence of sugary treats commences. The question arises how much sugar is too much, and should you try to cut down this holiday season?
It’s no surprise that sugar is bad for you. But before we vilify sugar, it is important to note that there are two categories of sugar: natural and added. Natural sugar is found in many fruits and vegetables, and comes bundled with vitamins and fiber. Natural sugar can also be found in many dairy products such as milk and cheese.
Added sugar is the white stuff we add to our foods. Added sugar has no nutritional benefit, and can be considered ‘empty calories’. Syrups, molasses and honey are also included in this category.
Added sugar can be masquerading under many different labels. Below is a list of commonly found sugar additives in processed foods:
Added sugar is bad for a few reasons:
It ramps up inflammation in the body which can cause many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and dementia
Added sugar has no fiber associated with it, causing spikes in blood sugar. This leads to weight gain, insulin resistance and the development of diabetes.
Foods high in sugar are generally lower-quality than foods that have lower amounts of sugar. These foods also have less vitamins and minerals.
Going sugar free may not necessarily be the answer, but being mindful of what your are eating can help you consume better quality and more nutritious foods.
Being conscious of the amount of added sugar you are consuming is also very important. The good news is that people are taking note, and that sugar consumption is on the decline. Unfortunately, about 15% of our daily calorie intake still comes from sugar. The goal should be 5-10%, which amounts to about 6 teaspoons of sugar.
So before you enjoy that holiday meal, keep mindful of how much sugar you are consuming. Your body, health and mind will thank you!