As we know the Standard American Diet is very S.A.D. In the last 27 years the American waistline has increased substantially. By state, obesity prevalence ranged from 21.0 to 34.0% in 2010. No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 states had a prevalence of 30% or more. One-third of American children and adolescents, nearly 25 million young people, are overweight or obese.

Is that a statistic we are willing to live with?

SUGAR IS TO BLAME

Our society is getting larger and our health is going downhill fast. You probably know that sugar and sweets can lead to gaining weight. But sugar also has a much darker side. Sugar depresses your immune system, making it easier to catch infections and harder to get rid of them. And now sugar has been linked to a host of diseases that collectively constitute the biggest threat to worldwide health.

Added sugar is found in so many foods that it’s hard to find foods that don’t have it. Ingredients like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are the two biggest culprits. The average person in the U.S. now consumes over 600 calories from sugar every day that’s nearly 30% of total daily calories!

Also known as OVER-CARB-SUMPTION; this is the problem. Too many carbs (breads, sugars, processed foods) can cause an inflammation effect within our bodies, particularly in our gut (digestive system) and our immune system starts in the gut.

The problem is, your body was not made to digest and process all that processed and refined sugar. For the vast majority of man’s history, sweets and high sugar foods were always a minor part of the diet. It’s only been over the last 50 years or so that processed and refined sugars have become a significant portion of what we eat.

Sugar is much more than just empty calories. In many ways, sugar can act as a toxin in your body, which can become a root cause for a host of diseases over time. Sugar can trigger liver toxicity and lead to a number of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, dementia, accelerated aging and even cancer.

SUGARY and ABUNDANT PROCESSED FOODS make your body more acidic which rob you of crucial nutrients. Refined sugars are processed to strip away their nutrients, fiber and minerals. This forces your body to strip away minerals from your bones and other tissues in order to digest them. In this vicious cycle, the mineral deficiency can further cause enzyme depletion, which then contributes to poor digestion, reduced nutrient absorption and autoimmune.

As mentioned before, sugar undermines your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. In fact, did you know that sugar causes inflammation in your body?

Perhaps worst of all, sugar is addictive. Sugar has many similarities to alcohol (alcohol actually comes from sugar). Sugar disrupts dopamine levels and has strong habit forming effects. On top of the sugar cravings this insidious food ingredient also disrupts hormones so you feel hungrier and less full after eating. So not only is sugar the worst food to eat, it can also be the hardest food to give up.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Clean out the pantry. Plan a week’s worth of meals. Go shopping at the local health food store, farmers’ market, buy fresh go-to meals for when you get home late, tired and you’re super hungry. Success! Write down all the potentially stressful situations coming up in the next 30 days! Times you know you might be more vulnerable and create a plan ahead of time.

Remember, food should make us healthy. The physical benefits of healthy eating include improved body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, attention span, mental attitude and athletic performance.

The psychological benefits of healthy eating include changing long-standing, unhealthy patterns related to food, eating and your body image, and a dramatic reduction or elimination of food cravings, particularly sugar and carbohydrates.

This is not a “diet”, but a lifestyle!  Eat to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight.  Aim for well-balanced nutrition. You do need carbohydrates, but you need to get them from vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal or pasta. Also, fat is a healthy source of energy when it comes from high-quality foods like avocado, coconut and pastured chicken / grass-finished beef.  Follow your PWLC food plan to diminish the food cravings and eat to be strong and healthy!