From Nutritionist Mikaela Reuben
As everyone knows, eating sweets can bring feelings of comfort and happiness. This is because when we eat sugar our brains release dopamine – a feel good chemical that motivates and reinforces behaviors, like eating cookies and hiding chocolate bars beside the bed. We eat sugar, we feel rewarded, and we want more sugar.
In terms of health, sugar is not as sweet as it seems. Sugar can depress the immune system, wreak havoc on blood glucose levels, spike and crash energy levels and focus, cause major weight gain, heighten aging and internal stress, and cause inflammation in the body.
How To Spot Sugar
In order to cut back on sugar we first must be able to spot it; this if often half the battle.
The first step is to get up close and personal with food labels. You can’t choose to avoid it if you don’t know how it may be showing up in your foods. Beyond the obvious offenders, sugar content can be high in some foods you may not expect. Many foods perceived to be healthy pack a significant amount of sugar. Read the ingredients and if sugar is one of the first two listed, do not buy it. The higher up on a list an ingredient is placed, the more of it has been added to the product. This is a simple way to spot foods that include a lot of added sugar.
Sugar can hide under many names so when you are looking at a label search for any of the following: Agave, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, coconut sugar, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maltose, maltodextrin, maple syrup, molasses, sorghum and rice syrup.
Sugar is added to sauces, yogurts, dressings, and bread, almost anything that is produced and processed with a shelf life in a grocery store. The best way to keep sugar out of the picture is to make your own food using whole foods so that you know each ingredient that your meals are made of.