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6 Reasons Why Too Much Added Sugar is Unhealthy

There is never a better time to start work on eating more healthy than right now! Thanksgiving has gone and we have the Holiday season and the New Year right around the corner. Cutting back on added sugar can do wonders for both your mind and body. In regard to the mind, consuming less added sugar helps reduce blood sugar spikes. As a result, you will be less “foggy” and stay focused for longer periods. With respect to the body, less sugar means less calories from processed foods and drinks. The result? fat loss!

Health Benefits of Added Sugar Restriction

Scientific research continues to demonstrate the many health benefits when added sugar and processed food are restricted in a typical diet. Many of us can eat healthy during meal time. Issues seem to arise, though, during snack time. Grazing throughout the day or late night snacking can cancel out your hard work in the gym. It is typically during these times that we jump ship, eating more highly processed foods and added sugar. A famous exercise physiologist once said, “Exercise is great but if you have to watch what you eat to lose weight, your diet is wrong.” Here are six tips from Jefit to help you reduce your daily added sugar intake.

1. Limit Processed Food

It can become a daunting task when someone is focused on trying to eat healthier. The packaged foods in a typical grocery store contain 74 percent added sugar. This is one reason why nutritionists always say to shop only the outside or periphery of the store, do not go down the middle isles.

Two large European studies published by the British Medical Journal found positive associations between consumption of highly processed foods and risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results showed that higher consumption of ultra-processed foods (more than 4 servings per day) was associated with a 62 percent increased risk of all cause mortality compared with lower consumption (less than 2 servings per day). For each additional serving of ultra-processed food, mortality risk relatively increased by 18 percent.

2. Monitor Added Sugar Intake

The average American consumes too much added sugar on a daily basis. Americans currently eat about 76 pounds of different forms of sugar every year. Even though we have seen a 15 percent decrease in added sugar consumption since 1999, according to government data, a typical person will still eat about 94 grams (or 375 calories) of sugar on a daily basis (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

3. Get on a Sugar Budget

Some publications have reported added sugar should make up less than 10 percent of our total daily caloric intake. Other reports say that’s wrong and it should be more like 5 percent – which I tend to agree more with. In that vein of thinking, there may be value in putting ourselves on what I like to call an added sugar budget. An average meal can easily turn into dessert. A good, healthy goal for men is to consume no more than 150 calories a day (38 grams) of added sugar. Women should have a goal of 100 calories a day (25 grams). To clarify, you should limit your added sugars not natural sugars.

4. Have a Game Plan

To see big gains in the gym, it’s important that you train smart, eat healthy by decreasing sugar and processed food, and get plenty of sleep. Most people understand this intuitively but never develop a game plan to eat healthy. Try to follow these four steps to make the process easier, and in turn, hopefully build a healthy habit.

  • Eat more fiber in your diet
  • Decrease added sugar
  • Eat fewer unhealthy fats
  • Reduce salt intake

5. Eliminating Added Sugar Can Help Sculpt Abs

Many factors can influence the way you look and feel on a daily basis as well as over the course of your lifetime. A healthy, sustainable lifestyle also plays a huge part in how lean you ultimately get. You have probably heard that genetics are also important. True. Don’t forget about physical activity (in and out of the gym), this plays a significant role too. The missing “ingredient” in most exercise plans though is cutting back and monitoring added sugar.

You may wonder why your abs are not showing as much as you would like, especially since you’ve been hitting the gym every other day for months now. A research study at the University of Massachusetts, in 1984, looked at various fitness outcomes of subjects who performed 5,000 sit-ups over the course of a month. This equated to performing hundreds of sit-ups on a daily basis. It wasn’t enough to lose abdominal fat though. The subjects, a group of college students, had body measurements taken as well as a muscle biopsy procedure. The subjects body fat didn’t change; not even an inch was lost around the abdominal area by the end of the study. In the end, they had much stronger abs but their body fat and girth remained unchanged.

6. Your Brain on Fire

Eating too much added sugar affects just about every cell and organ in your body and the brain is no exception. Previous research shows a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brain can’t form new memories and we have difficulty learning and remembering things. There is also additional research, published in the journal, Peptides, showing chronic consumption of added sugar dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating.

Hopefully this article sheds more light on the pitfalls of eating too much added sugar. You can pick your poison, it leads to weight loss, brain fog, low energy, oral health issues, you name it. Eating added sugar in moderation is fine. Too much of it though will lead to a multitude of health issues including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Stay Strong Together

Jefit, named best strength training app by Sports Illustrated, GQ, Men’s Health, and many others. We offer a community responsible for more than 92,000,000 workouts to date! Jefit recently passed 12 million downloads. It comes equipped with an advanced customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio coaching cues, and can share workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals.

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