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For the month of August, we are challenging you to RETHINK YOUR DRINK

Replacing sugar and artificially sweetened beverages with healthier alternatives is one of the quickest and easiest routes to weight loss, increased energy, decreased inflammation and vitality.

To support you on your new journey you have all been enrolled in


Sugar School is a 4-week series where I will be teaching you exactly how to break up with sugar. The first step in breaking up with sugar is understanding the different types of sugar and where you will find them.

Our first lesson is: THE BASICS OF SUGAR and class is officially in session.

There are 3 types of sugar or sweetener that people often get confused:

Added sugar, natural sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

ADDED SUGAR is the stuff that is added to food, beverages, or goods during processing. This includes sugars from syrups, honey and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. This does not include naturally occurring sugars that are found in milk, fruits, and vegetables.

Added Sugar can be hard to identify on a label because it goes by over 75 different names or identities such as sugar, refined sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, palm sugar, refined sugar, cane juice etc. Its important to understand that despite the name change, these are all sugar.

Added sugar has little to NO nutritional benefit and A diet high in added sugar aka empty calories may contribute to weight gain, low energy, bad mood, increased anxiety, stress, decreased memory, focus, and skin problems.

The American Heart Association recommends women limit sugar consumption to 6

teaspoons or 25 grams per day and men limit to 9 teaspoons or 36 grams per day.

If you are considering gulping down a 12-ounce can of soda which contains 8 teaspoons or 32 grams of added sugar, you will consume your whole days allotment in just one drink.

Added sugar can be found in obvious places like sugar or flavored syrup added to coffee, soft drinks, candy, and dessert foods like cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream.

But can also be found lurking in foods most people consider healthy such as :

plant-based milks, breakfast cereals, protein bars, jerky, bacon, dried fruit, BBQ sauce, wine, sushi rice, bread, tonic, nut Butter, flavored oatmeal, ketchup, salad dressing, granola, pasta sauce, and flavored yogurt.

This is why it is always so important to read labels.

NATURAL SUGAR is naturally occurring in foods such as whole fruit, unsweetened dried & frozen fruit, 100% fruit juice, and unsweetened plain yogurt or milk. Yes, these foods have natural sugar, but they also carry important nutrients for good health and therefore should be enjoyed in moderation.

Last is ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS which are technically not sugar but deserve an honorable mention. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals commonly added to diet beverages, desserts or found in those little packets you add to your coffee in the form of Splenda, Equal or Sweet'N'Low.

You will likely see them listed under a variety of different names such as sucralose or

aspartame on your food labels. These are a popular sugar swap for diabetics and dieters alike as they contain no calories.

While these are a step in the right direction for those looking to lower their blood sugar, its important to understand they are no magic bullet. Artificial sweeteners can be up to 1000 times sweeter than table sugar and people who routinely use them may start to find naturally sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and unsweet foods, such as vegetables completely unpalatable.

Additionally, research suggests that they may prevent us from associating sweetness with caloric intake. As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and gain weight. They also may disrupt the balance of gut bacteria in some people, which could increase the risk of disease.

Artificial sweeteners are generally recognized as safe but research remains unclear on the effect they have on our cravings, appetite and weight. They contain no nutritive value or calories and therefore will not be listed as sugar on the food label.

These are the basics of sugar and sweeteners.

In our next lesson I will be teaching you how to find them on a food label.

Your homework this week is to discover which foods and drinks you consume have sugar or sweeteners in them.

Until then, class is dismissed.

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