5 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
Sign #1: You’re Craving Sugar
If you find yourself saying, I could really go for something sweet right now, all the time, chances are you go for something sweet all too often. “No one’s craving sugar because they’re eating healthy,” explains Brooke Alpert, RD, author of The Diet Detox: Why Your Diet Is Making You Fat And What To Do About It. “You crave sugar when you’re consuming a lot of it. Then, after your blood sugar spikes, you start to crash. That’s your body’s saying ‘More please!’ And who can blame it? You just had a high. No one wants to go back to the low.” That’s how your cinnamon roll breakfast turns into a mid-morning smoothie and a lunch with a brownie as your “chaser” and. . . well, you know how it goes.
The solution: Take a good look at what you’ve been eating, noting especially what foods you’re consuming that might have hidden sugar in it. “People know they’re having a lot of sugar when they eat cake or a donut, but they’re not aware that their salad dressing, pasta sauce and bread can be loaded with sugar,” says Alpert. “Read the ingredients labels on your food. There are things that sugar should be in—and then there’s things it should not be in. If you’re eating yogurt, for example, there shouldn’t be any added sugar.”
Sign #2: You’re Kinda Moody
Snarky comments directed to your co-workers or a short temper during your morning commute might be signs it’s time to check your sweet tooth. “When your blood sugar levels are up and down, your body’s hyper-focused on getting your next fix,” says Alpert. “You’re not a pleasant person to be around in those moments. Those are the moments when I snap at my kids. Those are the moments when we’re not so kind with our colleagues or spouses.”
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The solution: Be moody for a good reason—because you’re getting healthier by ditching added sugar cold turkey and recalibrating your body. “I’ve found in my practice and with my readers that it’s easier for them to take three days and say, ‘This is going to stink but I’m going only going to eat real fruit as my source of sugar,’” says Alpert. “We just need to break the cycle.”
Sign #3: You’re Gaining Weight (Maybe)
Feel like the scale is creeping upward—without any signs of stopping? “When we’re consuming too much sugar, there’s no way for our weight to be healthy,” says Alpert. But excess calories leading to a larger dress size aren’t the only things we need to worry about. “Even people who are able to maintain a decent metabolism with their sugar consumption—people we call ‘skinny fat’—should be on alert. Excess sugar affects your heart your brain, your skin and more.”
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The solution: Start making an effort to opt for more green leafy vegetables and good quality proteins. “Your health is greatly influenced by every bite that you take,” says Alpert. “If you give your body good stuff to eat, you’re going to feel healthy and energized. If you give it the not good stuff, you’re going to end up with obesity issues, blood sugar issues and more.”
Sign #4: You’ve Got Brain Fog
Can’t remember which day your kid’s having that sleepover? Feel like taking a nap even though your body isn’t tired? Can’t recall the last sentence you just read? It could be your diet. “Scientifically what I think is happening is that your body is focusing so hard on the withdrawal and on your blood sugar crashing that you’re really going into a panic mode,” says Alpert. “When your blood sugar is not in control and you’re having these highs and lows, it puts you right at risk for cognitive issues and impairment.”
The Solution: Start each morning off with healthy eating habits and push them throughout the rest of the day. “At coffee shops in the morning, I see people getting basically what would be considered a milkshake in my book,” admits Alpert. “And they’re getting a muffin, flavored yogurt or a bagel on top of that—all of which is just sugar, sugar, sugar. Breakfast may be one of the most important meals of the day but only if you’re doing it right.” Instead, consider having eggs with a side of spinach, an apple with some nut butter or full-fat yogurt topped with berries.
Sign #5: Your Taste Buds Are Changing
“I had a client that came in the other day that was putting sugar on his strawberries,” reveals Alpert. “I said, ‘Strawberries already have sugar in them! They’re perfect!’” But that’s a big red flag that your sense of taste is changing—a hazard of not just having too much sugar but also artificial sweeteners which can be much more intense. “We can lose touch with what true sweetness is,” says Alpert who notes that putting extra teaspoons of sugar in your coffee or finding that you’re pouring a little more maple syrup on your pancakes than usual is another red flag.
The Solution: “When I get clients eating really healthy meals, all of the sudden their sugar cravings are less and they’re really satisfied with a piece of quality dark chocolate instead of needing something really sweet and over the top,” says Alpert. Scrutinize what you’re eating, make healthy switches and see if you still want that dessert-like coffee drink each morning.