Most of us don’t give sugar a second thought. The sugar bowl on the table for coffee or the canister on the counter for baking. It’s just something that’s always been there, kind of like that one friend who’s always up for whatever without hesitation. This “friend” is in the carbonated beverages you drink, the processed foods you eat, and even in the sports drinks your kids love. Truth be told, you might be a little too attached to this pal. While you may not think about sugar all that much, it can leave a long-lasting impression on you and your family – and not in a good way. Let’s take a minute to get to know sugar a little better.
How Sugar Works in Your Body
Sugar isn’t all bad. We need some forms of sugar for energy. The problems start when you consume too much sugar. If you’re active, you’re likely to burn off this excess sugar. If you’re just sitting around after a sugar rush, that’s where the trouble starts. If your body can’t find a place to store extra sugar, it goes to your fat cells, which leads to weight gain, which leads to…well, you get the picture. It can also lead to serious and scary issues such as diabetes. This is when the body produces too much of the hormone known as insulin. Sugar, unfortunately, can be a little sneaky. The harmful effects of sugar don’t really become evident all that quickly, which is what makes it so dangerous. Your best weapon is knowing what you’re up against. Let’s start with a little motivation. Some advantages of kicking or curbing the sugar habit include:
- The ability to burn fat quicker.
- An overall healthier feeling, including having more energy.
- Decreased risk of serious health issues such as diabetes, which is on the rise in kids.
- Less mood swings, especially in children.
- Better ability to focus.
Making Smart Choices
How can you be expected to make sure you and your kids don’t get too much sugar when it’s in just about everything you and your family eat and drink? It depends on how you look at it. Sugar is only as addictive as you let it be. Your biggest defense against big bad sugar is your ability to make choices. When it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle with less of a dependence on sugar, don’t think of it as what you can’t have. Instead, shift the focus to the choices you can make that are actually good for you. It all comes down to making smart choices about what you eat and drink and how you burn off excess sugar. Some smart choices when it comes to avoiding or moderating your sugar intake include:
- Choose to read labels and avoid foods that are high in sugar such as carbonated beverages and processed foods.
- Choose to remove sweet temptations from your home. If you don’t have easy access to such foods, you tend to lose the craving.
- Choose natural sugars such as those in fruits and vegetables. You’ll end up with other healthy vitamins and minerals at the same time.
- Choose to burn fat. Get up, get moving, and do stuff. The best way to prevent excess sugar from turning into fat is to burn it off.
Like anything in life, sugar in moderation has its place. It’s not an easy lesson to teach your kids because it’s not an easy lesson to learn yourself. It’ll take some time to change your sugar habit. Add a little will power and determination and you should be on your way to taking control over the sugar in your life. Once you reach that point, passing that wisdom onto your kids shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. Why? Actions speak louder than words – something your kids already know.
Karen Boyarsky is an advertising copywriter who has worked on myriad health-related accounts. She also blogs on a variety of topics and recommends that to learn more about current health issues and how you can make a difference, click here.