Dr. Joseph Mercola has always preached against excessive sugar consumption, saying that sugar, particularly fructose, is one of the most damaging products in the food supply today. Many people already know this, which is why they look for “sugar-free” health foods.
But, watch out: numerous “health” food products today are in fact, LOADED with sugar.
The Huffington Post listed six so-called “health foods” that may contain more sugar than a Twinkie :
- Yogurt – Some commercial yogurt brands contain as much as 30 grams of sugar in every six ounces! You should also avoid “light” yogurt varieties that may contain less sugar, but are loaded with toxic artificial sweeteners.
- Tomato sauce – One cup of tomato sauce can have as much as 20 grams of sugar, and some brands even have added sweeteners. What makes it worse is that people eat tomato sauce on top of carb-rich pasta.
- Granola bars – Sugar is one of the main ingredients in granola bars. The grain in granola bars also break down into sugar, which may lead to excess body fat, obesity, and related health issues.
- Fat-free salad dressing – Fat-free French dressing or Thousand Island dressing can have as much as 40 grams of sugar.This is because when the fat is removed from food, sugar is usually added in as a replacement.
- Muffins – These contain a high amount of carbs that may interfere with your leptin and insulin levels. Even “healthy” varieties like bran muffins contain added sugar, along with the grains they are made with. Many muffins are also large in size, and may contain as much as 30 grams of sugar.
- Canned fruit – Many canned fruits are packed with high-fructose corn syrup. In fact, a single cup of canned peaches or pears can have as much as 30 grams of sugar. It’s better to consume fresh fruit in moderation, since is also contains fructose and may become problematic if eaten excessively.
(Read the full article here.)
How Does Sugar Harm Your Body?
At present, an average American consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar daily – this is equivalent to at least two tons of sugar in his entire life.
“Why we eat this much sugar is not difficult to understand – it tastes good, and it gives us pleasure by triggering an innate process in our brain via dopamine and opioid signals,” says Dr. Mercola.
However, the effects of sugar on a physical and emotional level are more alarming than you think. Sugar, particularly fructose, is a potent, pro-inflammatory agent that helps produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in your body. It speeds up your aging process. Sugar also promotes the growth of fat cells around your vital organs, which may cause diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Mercola adds: “Sugar also increases your insulin and leptin levels and decreases receptor sensitivity for both of these vital hormones, and this is another major factor of premature aging and age-related chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, as well as a leading cause of the climbing rates of overweight and obesity in developed countries.”
One indication that you may be consuming too much sugar and not eating correctly is constant hunger. Your body needs a certain amount of nutrition regularly, and if you fail to satisfy this with enough healthy fats and protein, your energy reserves will not be enough. This is why you become prone to cravings.
How to Consume Healthy Amounts of Sugar While Banishing Your Cravings
Dr. Mercola says there are ways to enjoy the health foods listed above without the added sugar. For example, instead of store-bought yogurt, opt for homemade yogurt made from raw organic milk, minimally sweetened with stevia or a small amount of fruit. Another tip is to make your own tomato sauce at home instead of buying canned varieties. Eat it with some shredded spaghetti squash.
Dr. Mercola also recommends consuming healthy fat instead of carbohydrates, which will satiate you better. According to experts, your diet should contain only 20 to 30 percent carbohydrates, and 50 to 60 percent healthy fat.
Here are some healthy fat sources you can try:
- Olives and olive oil
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Organic pastured egg yolks
- Palm oil
- Raw nuts like pecans and almonds
- Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
- Grass-fed meats
- Unheated organic nut oils
Dr. Mercola also warns against dangerous artificial sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda (sucralose). Instead, he advises using the sweet herb stevia as a sugar substitute.
If you are having trouble getting rid of sugar cravings, Dr. Mercola recommends these helpful strategies:
- Try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This energy psychology technique has already helped many soda addicts get rid of their cravings. EFT is based on acupuncture, but doesn’t use needles.
- Get enough exercise. Sufficient amounts of cardiovascular exercise can help cure food cravings. Dr. Mercola says it may be because of the reduced insulin levels that occur after exercise.
- Drink organic black coffee. Coffee is a potent opioid receptor antagonist that contains cafestrol. This compound binds and occupies your opioid receptors, and essentially blocks your craving for other opioid-releasing foods. This may help reduce the addictive power of sugar and other substances.
“For optimal health, eat natural whole foods primarily, and limit your fructose consumption to below 25 grams per day,” Dr. Mercola advises.