Has your fear of sugar reached a new level of obsession? Understand why it may actually be holding you back from a healthier life.
The media tends to go through phases hating on one food, food group, food component, or ingredient – whether its gluten, dairy, or high fructose corn syrup. This unfortunately can lead to unnecessary obsessions without considering the evidence.
It’s true, studies have linked excessive sugar consumption (excessive being the keyword) with obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and more. And while no one is endorsing sugar for health, there is an issue with food obsession. Here are three reasons why you can stop freaking out about sugar.
1. Sugar Obsession Doesn’t Consider Your Diet as A Whole
While it’s great you’re trying to cut back on sugar, you may in fact be overlooking your own personal dietary downfall, whether it’s your relationship with food or specific nutrient needs. Our diet is comprised of not only what we eat, but also how we eat, which includes mindfulness, portion sizes, and more.
Diets and dietary recommendations are completely individual and you may or may not be over-consuming sugar. If you’re trying to eat healthier, consider looking at your diet as a whole before restricting and obsessing over sugar, calories, gluten, protein, or anything else.
2. Food Restriction and Obsession Is Not a Healthy Lifestyle
In general, all foods can fit in a healthy lifestyle. When we tell ourselves we can’t have a certain food, we quickly begin to obsess over it and often crave even more of it. A diet is really meant to be long-term, sustainable behaviors, not a temporary program or the quick fix that mainstream culture has you believing.
While restricting sugar begins with positive intentions, it can quickly spiral out of control – whether the obsession intensifies, anxiety around food increases, or it initiates cravings and overindulgences. It may not be the best choice to drink a large soda everyday. But if you like it, you should allow yourself to have a treat rather than putting it completely off limits. Obsessing over every food choice is not a healthy mindset or way to live.
3. Fruit is Good for You
As the obsession with sugar exploded, the media even began to point blame at fruit. Yes, fruit naturally contains sugar, and ultimately sugar is sugar. However, 100% orange juice is different than soda, just as strawberries and bananas are different from candy bars and cookies. Fruit and fruit juice provide antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals that do wonders for our health and our bodies. Soda and candy provide us with calories and little to no other nutritional value.
Drinking 200 calories in a 16oz soda or eating 200 calories in 1 chocolate bar will leave you feeling empty and still hungry. While eating 200 calories in apples (about 2 large apples) will leave most people feeling quite full. This is because whole fruit has fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps to fill us up, and slows the spike in our blood sugar. The benefits of the antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals from fruit far outweigh any risks from the small naturally occuring sugar content.
While it is important to take a closer look at your health and diet, try to focus on the foods you can have rather than those you “can’t”. Focusing on including more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins while being more mindful of your behaviors and choices will actually take you further.
So stop holding yourself back, and reset your mindset.
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: RODION KUTSAEV
Jenna Gorham, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Bozeman, Montana focused on helping 20-somethings improve their health by making healthy eating easy. By emphasizing nutrition is more than the latest fad diet and trend, Jenna bridges a better understanding of the body’s needs with simple, long-lasting lifestyle habits that help others achieve the best health.