Cookies! Me love cookies! Do you hear the funny voice of the Cookie Monster? I loved the Cookie Monster. He was my kindred spirit gobbling cookies like they were the key to happiness.
Cookies (and their other sweet, doughy cousins) were the foods that brought me joy. They were such a part of every day, that I would, with eyes still half closed, walk from my bedroom, into the kitchen, quietly lift the cookie jar lid, grab a cookie, and eat it while walking to the bathroom to get ready for school.
These are funny stories and happy memories. No doubt about it, sugar makes you feel great…in the moment.
In this post, you’ll see what sugar does to our bodies, how much that can cost you in real dollars, and actions you can take to unwind yourself from sugar’s grip without feeling deprived.
How Sugar Affects Your Body and Wallet
Sugar takes a heavy toll on our bodies. It saps our energy, ruins our skin, damages our cells, causes obesity, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.
Did you know sugar consumption is a major contributor to the top three diseases of aging? Crazy, right?
Diabetes – In a diabetes study spanning 175 countries, researchers found increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates. In the U.S., people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures 2.3 times higher than those without diabetes.
Heart Disease – Over the course of a 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. Average direct medical costs related to heart disease are estimated at $18,953 per year per person. With approximately 22 million US residents having cardiovascular disease, this translates to medical costs of more than $400 billion just for one disease.
Alzheimer’s – Dr Omar Kassaar, from the University of Bath, states: “Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets.” Out-of-pocket costs of care represented 32% of total wealth for those with dementia versus 11% for those without dementia.
This is not the quality of life you’re working hard to achieve!
Say Goodbye to Sugar
Here are the 5 top ways you can massively reduce sugar and put energy back into your life.
- Eliminate sugar sweetened beverages completely. This means sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, even fruit juice. Replace with water, flavored soda water, or tea.
- Limit processed foods and packaged sweets. If you’re craving a cookie, stop by your favorite bakery and buy one.
- Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer. Don’t keep sweets and packaged foods at home. If they aren’t easy to grab, chances are you’ll eat very few.
- Amp up your healthy fats and fiber. Strive for 7-9 cups of veggies and a little fruit per day. Snack on healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olives, or almond butter on celery or apple.
- Watch your alcohol intake. Recommendations are 1 drink a day for women and 2 a day for men.
Freedom and Energy
Habits are hard to change especially when you want to reduce something that is associated with happiness.
Start small. Pick one of the 5 sugar-reducing tips above and commit that you’ll work on it this week. Set a goal. Track your success at the end of the week.
Remember, every forkful and every sip is another opportunity to make the best decision. You have thousands of opportunities this week. Go for it!
Leave a comment and tell me how it’s going.