First, let me say I am NOT a dietician, nutritionist or any other type of fitness expert. I’m a runner who loves chocolate. So please, take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. Or sugar. I have, however, tried a TON of clean eating challenges, TLS & Advocare supplements, been on a ‘crash wedding diet’ and lots of other weight loss & fitness journeys over the last twenty-some years.
We all question ‘how much sugar is ok?’ especially if starting a New Year’s resolution or a Living Fit challenge. If your body doesn’t burn off the sugar, its stored as fat (or something complex like that!) On our current challenge, you can earn 5 points daily for ‘refraining from sweets, sugary treats, desserts & alcohol’ ~ so this poses the question of ‘what is considered a treat?’ What if you’re injured and your husband/doctor prescribes self-medication of a tall glass of wine? What if you bought a ‘healthy’ energy bar, only to find out it has 20 grams of sugar?
We polled some of our Living Fit members & did a bit of research on the ol’ sugar topic. Here are some tips & guidelines we came up with…
- Experts recommend a daily sugar intake [maximum] of around 20-25g for women and 36-37.5g for men.
- Natural sugars are best ~ try to avoid all added sugar, refined carbs, processed foods and ‘artificial’ sweetners. Whenever possible, stick to single ingredient, whole foods.
- Sugar can produce similar brain activity to some drugs… what?! And you CAN get addicted to it!
- “Acceptable sweets” that we came up with collectively include; apple w/ nut butter, fresh fruit, yogurt, avocado w/ sprinkled nuts & drizzle of honey, hot tea [try putting blueberries in your green tea], dried fruit & nuts, granola or snack bar (Quest and Lara have low sugar), Carob Spirulina energy squares, KIND bars. Certain fruits have a lot more sugar, so keep this in mind if trying to be extremely strict with your sugar intake. Those Craisins are still better than a cookie, but have 24g of sugar!!
- Find small ways to cut sugar in everyday choices. Ask for just TWO instead of four pumps of syrup in that grande latte. Try your coffee black. Eat a fresh apple instead of a bag of cookies (okay, that’s a tough one). Do what you can to make better choices.
With all of this info, we also believe in the theory of ‘everything in moderation.’ Our winter challenge does allow one day of sweets with no penalty. So don’t forget to let yourself enjoy life every now and then, you only get one of them!
Note: If you have information or tips on diet, nutrition, runner-friendly healthy recipes, etc ~ send them our way! We are pretty good about getting fitness & exercise related posts up, but need to work on our ‘diet’ posts ~ a lot of us RUN because we like to eat, drink & be merry! LivingFitColumbus@gmail.com
Sources and articles for more info:
- Living Fit Columbus members