The World Health Organization had some not so sweet news for the sugar loves of the world. The U.N. body strongly recommends that members of the public drastically reduce their total sugar intake. The recommended limit is six to twelve teaspoons per day, or roughly 25 grams.
To understand how much sugar the WHO guidelines recommend, consider the fact that there are 35 grams in a can of Coca-Cola. Meanwhile, a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar contains 26 grams of sugar, one gram more than the daily limit.
If you’re panicking about the possibility of cutting down on your sugar intake to meet WHO guidelines, it may be time to stop and re-evaluate exactly how much sugar you’re consuming every day. If you feel you can’t do without sugar, you may be the victim of a problem you didn’t even know you had. In other words, you could be addicted to sugar.
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Symptoms of a sugar addiction are said to include uncontrollable cravings and loss of control. Depending on how sugar impacts the reward center in your brain, it will fuel your perceived need for sugary foods.
Before you think cutting sweets is all it takes to curb your sugar cravings, consider that certain starchy foods break down in the blood stream just like sugar. Saying goodbye to soda, candy bars, and donuts only to say hello to white bread and pasta doesn’t ease the problem.
Should you be working towards breaking possible sugar addiction, it’s going to take some serious food planning. For example, did you know eating vinegar with starchy foods can slow down the rate at which they convert to sugar in the blood? Adjusting both what and how you eat can make it easier to scale back on how often you satisfy your sweet tooth.
Something else to strongly consider the fact that you can use substitutes to replace much of the sugar you consume. A popular replacement for sugar that would help meet WHO guidelines is stevia. The sweetener is FDA approved, and because it’s often a LOT sweeter than sugar, you’ll use far less of it. Another reason stevia is popular is because it contains zero calories.
If you’re wary of stevia (some companies mix in dextrose to preserve their product), then consider alternative natural sweeteners.
Remember that the WHO guidelines are not asking you to remove sugar from your life completely. After all, it does have its uses in the body. Instead, just eat nutritious, healthy meals, and leave excess sugar off the menu whenever possible.
How do you feel about the WHO sugar guidelines? Are they excessive?
[Image Credit: Moyan Brenn]