Have you checked the nutrition labels on your favorite foods lately? Even if you're buying and consuming foods you don't think of as "sweet" (bread, crackers, condiments), they could still contain high levels of sugar.
Unfortunately, you might be one of the millions of people who doesn't realize how much added sugar you're consuming on a daily basis.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average, Americans are consuming 156 pounds of added sugar each year. This is a 39 percent increase since the 1950s.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to irritability, mood changes, weight gain, heart trouble, obesity, and diabetes.
Even though the foods you may love aren't the healthiest option, it's okay to treat yourself every once in a while... just don't overindulge.
How can you have the pleasure of sugar but still be healthy?
Typically when you think of sugar, you might automatically think of candy and other junk foods. However, sugar also hides in the least expected places, including yogurt, fruit juice, soda, condiments like ketchup and barbeque sauce, peanut butter and bread. This adds up to the high count of daily sugar intake.
A simple approach may be to eliminate sugary drinks, which can contain 33 grams of sugar per serving. Instead, try beverages with natural sweeteners like Stevia.
If you're someone who loves dessert foods, what are some ways to take a few bites but not overeat?
Even though the dessert tastes delicious, try to slow down your eating. Take a bite, put the dessert down and allow some time between bites.
If you've tried all of these suggestions, but still can't kick the sugar habit, is it possible that you could have a sugar addiction?
When you consume sugar, you may experience a sugar rush. When sugar enters your body, it's turned into glucose, a sugar found in your blood. When you eat an overwhelmingly amount of sugar, your brain sends out a pleasure sensation, causing you to crave and want sugar even more. This sugar rush can also equate to that boost of energy for which Snicker's bars are infamous.
So, if you're someone who is constantly rushing around, instead of caffeine, you might turn to sugar for that extra energy boost to keep you going throughout your day.
What else can you do to prevent overindulging on sugar?
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum joins Dr. Holly to discuss everything sugar, including the possibility of a sugar addiction and ways to enjoy little amounts of sugar without overindulging.