Self Care Defense 101: Hidden Sugar

The Impetus

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

An effective weight management plan is more than just what we eat and how much we exercise. It requires attention to many self care processes that can affect our weight. Nutrition, sleep, hydration and stress management are all important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

One of the major problems contributing to weight issues is excess sugar consumption. To put this into context, the average daily consumption of sugar by Americans in 1822 was 9 grams a day. It is currently 152 grams a day per individual. The average person in the U.S. consumes 130 pounds of sugar per year. This is nearly a 17-fold increase in less than 200 years. We change very slowly biologically, yet we have drastically altered what we are eating and the amount of sugar we are consuming.

The Awakening

Hidden Sugar

There are over 600,000 food items sold in the U.S and over 80% of these have added sugar. If you want a self care awakening look at the nutrition facts label on the food in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. It will list sugar content expressed in grams per serving. Let’s use a few examples, one soda can have as much as 45 grams of sugar per 12 ounce serving, that is equivalent to nearly 12 teaspoons of sugar. Popular breakfast cereals are spiked with sugar, some being as much as 55% sugar. Some surprising foods with more sugar than a Twinkie would include yogurt, tomato sauce, granola bars, fat-free salad dressings, muffins and many canned fruits, typically containing 30 to 40 grams of sugar per serving. Even frozen green beans have added sugar. Checking labels before purchasing items is essential to monitor sugar consumption and keep your daily consumption at a healthy level. You don't always see the word "sugar" on a food label. Marketers use other names, like these:

  • Agave nectar

  • Brown rice syrup

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Dextrose

  • Evaporated cane juice

  • Glucose

  • Lactose

  • Malt syrup

  • Molasses

  • Sucrose

Watch out for items that list any form of sugar in the first few ingredients, or have more than 4 total grams of sugar.

recommended daily sugar intake

To monitor sugar consumption, it is helpful to understand that 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon.  It is recommended that a heathy daily consumption of sugar should not exceed 24 grams or six teaspoons for women and 36 grams or nine teaspoons for men.

Sugar is highly addictive. Sugar activates the reward center in our brain the same way as many drugs, provoking similar cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Studies in rats have shown that sugar activates the brain's pleasure centers more than cocaine does.

To break the sugar addiction, let protein help. Eating protein is an easy way to curb sugar cravings. High-protein foods digest slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein doesn't make your blood sugar spike the way refined carbs and sugars do.  Protein shakes are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day. Having a good protein rich breakfast is vital to prevent sugar cravings.


Our Favorite!

Kenzen Vital Balance

Kenzen Vital Balance

Kenzen Vital Balance® is a crucial component of the Everyday Organic-Based Weight Management Program. Our new formula contains organic moringa and naturally sweet monk fruit in addition to organic pea protein and organic vegetables. It is designed to help burn fat and boost metabolism as well as promote healthy brain function and the elimination of toxins in the body. With pre- and probiotics to assist in digestive and immune system activity, the Kenzen Vital Balance formula is food for action and food for thought—for people of all ages.