Bye-bye, Sweetie!

By Ellen Wood
Posted 4/18/19

'Sugar and spice and everything nice." When we were children some of us took to heart that rhyme about what little girls are made of and we gobbled candy and other sweet things. Not so that we'd …

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Bye-bye, Sweetie!

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'Sugar and spice and everything nice." When we were children some of us took to heart that rhyme about what little girls are made of and we gobbled candy and other sweet things. Not so that we'd become sweeter - it just tasted darn good. It certainly sounds better than "Slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails" - what little boys are made of. It turns out sugar is not nice - to little girls or big girls or big or little boys, and many of us have suffered the effects of too much sugar.

In my opinion - and most doctors agree with me - the most damaging thing you can eat is sugar. Inflammation is a major factor in aging and has been linked to heart disease and obesity, arthritis, gastritis, colitis, dermatitis and other chronic conditions. Sugar is a major cause of inflammation.

How many grams of sugar are you eating a day? You're probably aware of how many teaspoons of sugar you put into your coffee or oatmeal, but you may not be mindful of the sugar you consume in bottled drinks and packaged food - and those show the amount of sugar in grams.

To convert the grams into teaspoons, divide the number of grams by four. For a drink that contains 32 grams of sugar, the equivalent is 8 teaspoons.

Here is an important habit for you to undertake: every time you go to the grocery store, put "look at sugar" on your list. Then when you're shopping, check to see how much sugar is in the bottled drinks, cereal, canned goods, packaged food, kefir, nut milks and so on. You'll be amazed.

My anti-aging doctor gave me a goal of no more than 15 grams of sugar a day; preferably 5 grams at the end of each meal, rather than all 15 grams at one time, to avoid rapid glucose fluctuations in my bloodstream. I decided to aim for that six days a week. On the seventh day, I go ahead and splurge and allow myself a break - it's good for the soul to know that I have that freedom.

Ask your health care practitioner what your daily limit of sugar should be, and if you should count fresh fruit or not. I don't because fresh fruits are full of nutrients and the fiber can mitigate the sugar, but avoid dried and tropical fruits.

What's sweet and does not spike your blood sugar? Stevia is my favorite - it's plant-based, has a zero glycemic index and is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. And although experts disagree, some prefer agave as a natural sweetener for its low glycemic index and you need less of it than sugar since it's one and a half times sweeter.

So say, "Bye-bye, Sugar!" and get on the road to healthier sweeteners. You'll live longer and feel better. Ellen Wood of Questa is the award-winning author of the series of books, "The Secret Method for Growing Younger." Her websites are howtogrowyounger.com and ellenwoodspeaks.com. Contact Ellen at ellen@howtogrowyounger.com.

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