If there’s one thing you could change in your diet that would help you excel with your exercise and training activities, it would be limiting your daily sugar intake. Numerous studies have found that, on average, we consume 40 to 50 teaspoons of sugar per day. So I measured out 45 teaspoons of sugar and was blown away by the size of the pile on the plate. I also went one step further and weighed that pile of sugar and it was 12.2 oz. (approximately 350 grams for my Canadian friends). In one month that would be 22.9 pounds of sugar. In a year it would be 274.8 pounds. I can’t imagine what that stack would look like.

From what I understand, when we consume sugar, our pancreas produces insulin which breaks it down so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and help produce energy in our bodies. Two too much sugar and our insulin levels rise and that extra sugar turns into fat. Our bodies then say: we can’t burn this excess fat, so we’ll have to store it. Around the waist seems like a good place. Once that fat is stored, we all know how hard it is to get rid of.

Sugar is found in almost everything we eat in one form or another. From ketchup to bread to milk, sugar is present under different names. It can be fructose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, or lactose in milk. It’s all sugar.

Some foods that are high in sugar are fruit juice concentrates, with orange near the top of the list. Also barbecue sauce, cookies and cakes and fruit-flavored yogurt. One of the worst foods, especially for children, is grapes. Not only do they have a very high sugar content, but they stick between your teeth and can cause cavities. A 12-ounce can of soda can have up to 40 grams of sugar. I know someone says they only drink diet soda. That’s even worse. But that’s another argument.

Be aware of your daily sugar intake. A teaspoon of sugar is approximately 4 grams. Read food labels to find out how many grams of sugar are in that product. It’s better to drink water to stay hydrated than to have one of those sports drinks. If you can burn off your sugar intake through your exercises and workouts, you’ll get faster results in achieving your fitness goals, and your pancreas will thank you.

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