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Sugar, It's in Everything

Sometimes we eat food that just doesn’t agree with our bodies. For me, that’s ice cream. Whenever I have a bowl of ice cream it’s a long, funky night for the whole house (tmi, sorry). Whether it be weight gain, disease, allergic reactions, or just plain ol’ feeling bad, our bodies let us know when it’s not cool with something, usually in an uncomfortable way. You may not be aware of it in the moment, but sugar is one of the biggest culprits. Don’t shoot the messenger.

We’ve been trained to think that when we can’t stick to our lifestyle changes it’s because we’re weak and have no willpower. The truth is that everyone has a limited amount of willpower and if you turned down those doughnuts in the breakroom, chances are you aren’t gonna turn down that burger and fries for lunch. Don’t beat yourself up about it, it happens.

We live in a society where there is temptation all around us. Even though we all pretty much know that we should eat more whole foods, it can be tempting to grab a pack of cookies or a bag of chips. They’re not just convenient, they taste delicious in the moment.

You can’t even go buy clothes without there being a candy bar or a soda staring at you on your way to the counter. I mean, seriously, why does a clothing store even have candy? Not like you’re gonna wear it (rolls eyes).

Everywhere we look there’s sugar and foods high in carbs. Some of you may not know that our bodies convert carbs into blood sugar, so even though you may be watching your sugar intake, that bowl of cereal in the morning is causing your blood sugar to soar. When that happens, you end up being hungrier throughout the day. I know you’ve all probably heard about the study where rats were given sugar and cocaine, and overwhelmingly chose the sugar (if not, give it a goog).

Major food companies are sneaking added sugar into our food any way they can. It’s no wonder we’re all strung out, the food has been designed to make us that way. I’m gonna show you guys how to recognize when the advertisers are trying to dupe you into buying sugary foods disguised as healthy ones.

First of all, sugar goes by a ridiculous number of names, so if you see any of these just know that it’s just a fancy way of saying sugar:

Brown sugar, cane sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, cane juice, dextrose, fructose, sucralose, lactose, maltodextrin, molasses, maltose, sucrose. There are more, but these are the most popular.

Keep in mind that the ingredients are listed by weight. Whatever the product contains the most of, is listed first, so try and avoid foods with added sugars as the first ingredient.

If you aren’t aware of these other names you could be eating a lot of sugar daily without even knowing it. The other day I was at my mom’s house rummaging through her cabinets to see what kind of junk she had put in there since the last time I visited. She eats pretty decent, but some things she just doesn’t know aren’t so good for her. The cabinet was cool, but when I opened the fridge, I noticed she had some orange juice.

I’m a rehabilitated OJ lover, so I know what a cold glass can taste like on an early Sunday morning, unfortunately, it’s chocked full of sugar. That one had 23 grams per serving (8 oz.). Just so you are aware, 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon, so there was almost 6 teaspoons of sugar in that particular orange juice.

Considering women should only have 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, she was pretty much done. Men should only have 9 teaspoons a day. With that being said, on average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. 22!

A lot of that is because we’re not paying attention to the labels. We assume the advertisers are telling us the truth when they say something “may lower cholesterol” or “good source of vitamin C.” The vitamin C in orange juice is completely overshadowed by the sugar. It would be better for you to just add an orange to your breakfast meal, at least then you would get the fiber, which slows down the insulin response.

Sugar has been linked to many health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Being that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for African Americans, and my father just had a heart attack in 2020, this is especially important to me.

My father turns 62 in a few months, looks super healthy, and had never been sick. He does happen to have a major sweet tooth, though. Remember, just because you look good on the outside doesn’t mean your body is good on the inside. There’s a such thing as skinny fat.

I’m sure many of you have probably known or loss someone close to you because of heart disease, but that doesn’t have to be your fate. Just because something “runs in the family” doesn’t mean it can’t stop with you. Every time we have a doughnut or a bottle of soda, we’re rolling the dice on our health.

For us to have the best quality of life possible we need to avoid sugar. The first step is to retrain your taste buds by introducing more whole foods. The more whole foods you eat, the less your body will crave sugar and processed foods.

When you do have a taste for something sweet, eat a piece of fruit. Fruit contains natural sugar and won’t make your blood sugar soar because of its low glycemic index (more on that in a later article).

Unfortunately, many of us have watched a loved one battle diseases that probably could’ve been prevented if they knew about the lifestyle changes that could’ve been made.

Fortunately, we can reverse a lot of our own health issues by just choosing foods from nature and staying away from the man-made foodstuffs that are making us all sick.

Throughout these articles I’m going to show you how to break generational habits that have been fueling our diseases since we began eating the Standard American Diet. If we just get back to our roots, we will all live much healthier lives. We deserve it.

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It's that time again my friends! You know that time of year where everyone starts talking about all the healthy things they’re gonna do this year. Eating healthier, exercising more, and losing weight

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