by Matt Weik
Without realizing it, you very well may be taking in more sugar than you realize on daily basis. How many of you simply grab whatever food suits your mood and devour it? I can see quite a few hands in the air. If you aren’t tracking your nutrition, you really have no clue what macros you’re getting each day. You could be way off from where you need to be in order to reach your health/fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking your macros is a very simple way to see the pounds disappear. If you aren’t seeing those numbers going down on the scale, you need to make a change and tracking your nutrition will get you there.
Part of the reason why you aren’t losing weight is because you’re eating too much junk. Have you looked at the nutrition label of what you’re eating these days? I’m willing to bet a lot of the foods you’re looking at have either high sugar that you simply don’t care to worry about, or hidden sugar that you didn’t even realize was added to a so-called “healthy” food option. I doubt the fact that eating sugar is terrible for you comes as a surprise. If this is the first time you’re hearing you need to stay away from sugar, we have a long journey ahead of us. If you see any of the below signs, you’re probably taking in too much sugar.
1. You constantly feel sluggish during the day
I’m sure you’ve experienced the feeling of that “rush” of energy after you ate something high in sugar. You experience an almost instant “high” that allows you to push a little harder in the gym or during an activity but then you find just like in science class, what comes up, must come down. Unfortunately, this “down” creates a crash that will leave you feeling like you got hit by a ton of bricks. When it comes to energy, having stable blood sugar levels will ensure you have steady energy throughout the day. Once your insulin rises and falls, you will start to feel shifts in energy and those highs and lows will lead to not feeling like yourself—sluggish, tired, and lazy. Pay attention to your body, it won’t lie to you.
2. You seem to always crave sugary foods
It’s quite simple, the more you eat, the more you’ll want. Sugar is addictive and creates a brutal cycle that unless you can break it, you’ll go back and forth between wanting sugar, feeling satisfied, to right back to craving it again. Just like we mentioned in #1, this “drug” gives you that up and down feeling, leaving you wanting more to get back to the “high”. You’ll also find that your taste buds have changed—leaving you needing more sugar to get the same taste and satisfaction from foods.
3. You seem to be very moody like it’s your time of the month
If you’ve seen the Snickers commercials where they tell someone to eat a Snickers bar because they aren’t acting like themselves, that’s exactly what we are talking about with #3. You simply aren’t yourself. That up and down feeling you get from the sugar highs and lows causes you to have mood swings due to the changes in energy levels. When you’re coming down off of the sugar high, you can compare it to coming down from a high you got off of a drug. You’re moody and subconsciously craving that feeling of being high again.
4. You find your skin is constantly breaking out
You’re in your 30’s or 40’s and still breaking out with pimples like you were in your teens? At least there’s one good thing—your voice isn’t cracking anymore (hopefully). But the fact that you’re breaking out is quite annoying. Check how much sugar you’re taking in each day. Increases in sugar can change the hormones in your body and increase the degree of acne breakouts. Want to start looking your age and not like a pimple-faced teen? Keep your sugar in check or eliminate it altogether. Your face will thank you.
5. You seem to be putting on weight
In case you weren’t aware and know absolutely nothing about nutrition, there are calories in sugar. If you’re taking in unwanted sugar, you’re taking in unwanted calories. Unwanted calories leads to unwanted weight gain. It’s not rocket science. Not only that, but our body has a way of handling sugars by having the pancreas release insulin which helps the body use the energy from the sugars. Unfortunately, once your body is insulin resistant due to constantly feeding it a large amount of sugars, your body won’t be able to properly manage the sugars entering the body. If your body is constantly having to release insulin to shuttle the sugar to the organs, you risk putting undue stress on your pancreas where it will no longer be able to combat the effects of increased sugars entering the body—therefore increasing your chance to develop diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Adding on extra pounds will also lead you down the path toward an epidemic here in the United States—overweight individuals and increased obesity rates.
6. You find you’re lacking mental clarity
Sure, it happens. You find yourself daydreaming or you’re just having a bad day and your brain seems to be in a fog. If this is happening frequently though, you might be taking in too much sugar from your diet. If you can’t seem to focus and you’re in a fog, it could very well be a symptom of low blood sugar. I know what you’re thinking, “Matt, but this article is about eating too much sugar.” You’re correct. How the body reacts to sugar is pretty unique. Rather than a gradual rise and fall with your blood sugar, ingesting a lot of sugar will cause your blood sugar to skyrocket quickly, and then fall quickly. This spike and drop is consistent with poor control over blood sugar and is a key component to issues in cognition. Want to get your mind right and get work done? Then stay away from sugars, this includes creamers you’d put in your coffee at work. If you need coffee to wake up or get you through the work day, drink it black or add something like Stevia or Splenda to sweeten it.