You know you’re supposed to limit added sugar in your diet, but even if you steer clear of M&M's and donuts chances are you’re eating more sugar than you think. The scariest part about sugar is that it’s hidden in a lot of everyday foods. Even when we think we are eating healthy, we may be consuming way too much added sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day is:
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)
Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet
With most Americans tripling or even quadrupling this recommend intake of sugar, it’s not uncommon to be addicted to sugar. Check out these warning signs below to determine if you’re eating too much sugar:
You Have Intense Cravings
Eating sugar makes you crave sugar. It can also make you crave carbs too. If you find yourself constantly craving something sweet, you might be a sugar addict. Some researchers have suggested that sugar can have similar effects on the brain as addiction.
When you eat sugar, your brain releases dopamine which makes your body feel good. If you eat too much sugar regularly, your brain will become less sensitive to sugar – which means that you will need more and more sugar for your body to feel a sugar high.
Sweets Aren’t So Sweet Anymore
Have you noticed that treats just don’t taste as sweet as they once used to? That’s because your taste buds have changed from an excessive intake of sugar. Just like your brain, your taste buds have grown accustomed to sugar and it will take higher amounts of sugar taste that sweetness you crave.
You Feel Groggy Throughout the Day
We’ve all heard of a “sugar crash” before. Although sugar might initially boost your energy and give you a sugar high, it won’t last long. The aftermath of a sugar high will leave you feeling sluggish and groggy throughout the day. Eating too many sugary foods also means that you’re probably not getting enough fiber and protein, which are both key nutrients to sustain energy.
Even more surprising? A sugar high doesn’t have to come from candy or sweets. Your breakfast or lunch could contain sneaky amounts of sugar that will leave you crashing in no time. For example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread is loaded with added sugars that could set you back for the rest of the day.
Your Skin Is Breaking Out
You can actually see this symptom of too much sugar. If your face is breaking out more than usual, excessive sugar may be to blame. According to Acne Einstein, frequent consumption of sugar increases hormones that stimulate sebum production and skin cell growth. Sugar also activates inflammation, which has been shown to increase the effects of both acne and rosacea.
You Get Sick a Lot
Your immune system takes a nose-dive from a diet filled with sugar. Too much sugar has been shown to weaken your immune system, making you susceptible to any bug that is going around. Eating a diet high in sugar can also increase your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease.
You Have High Blood Pressure
Have you been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure)? Studies have shown that there is a link between high blood pressure and excessive sugar intake. While most people think that sodium is always to blame for high blood pressure, you definitely want to watch your sugar intake as well.
You Feel Depressed
If you’ve been feeling a bit down lately, excessive intake of sugar may be the culprit. As previously mentioned, sugar raises levels of inflammation in the body. This can affect more than just your skin. In fact, brain inflammation is linked to depression. Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of depression, whereas a nutritious diet of whole grains, protein, and produce is linked to a lower risk of depression.
You Never Feel Satisfied After a Meal
Do you find it easy to keep snacking even after you’ve just had a meal? Foods that are high in sugar also tend to be low in protein and fiber. This means that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need to give you that full and satisfied feeling.
Excessive sugar intake can wreak havoc on your brain and body. If you are noticing some of these warning signs, it’s time to make some dietary changes and cut back on your daily sugar intake.
Eating less sugar has more benefits than just helping with weight loss, it will lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of a heart attack, and keep your mind sharp. So, say “buh-bye” to those sugar cravings, and hello to a healthier you.
What tactics have helped you limit your daily sugar consumption? Give us some ideas below!
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