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Sugar…the wonderfully delicious ingredient that makes foods taste yummy! The obvious sugary foods are ice cream, candy, and sodas to name a few. However, did you know that even “healthy” foods can contain a large amount of added sugar? Cereal, yogurt, granola bars, protein powders, protein bars and fruit juices also contain large amounts of added sugar.

So how do you know how much sugar you are actually eating every day? The numbers speak for themselves and can be quite shocking.

When reading food labels, it’s very difficult to understand how much sugar is actually in your food, as food labels provide a sugar count in grams. So, what does that really mean? Let me provide some prospective. Approximately 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar. In my opinion that is astounding!

By converting grams of sugar into teaspoons of sugar, you actually get a better understanding of how many teaspoons of sugar you are consuming each and every day. As noted above, even foods that are perceived as “healthy” may contain high levels of refined sugars. Flavored yogurt is an excellent example of a high sugar food. These yogurts can have anywhere from 6 to 7 teaspoons of sugar per serving!

Another thing to look for when reading food labels is that added sugars (refined white sugar, high fructose corn syrup) are generally listed within the first 5 ingredients. As a rule of thumb, the higher up an ingredient is listed in the ingredient menu, the higher the quantity of that ingredient is in the product as compared to the other ingredients listed after it.

Some of you reading this are probably wondering why sugar is even important to a chiropractor.  Well, most people don’t realize that sugar as well as refined carbohydrates and high fructose corn syrup are toxic to the body. There is no dietary nutritional value to these products.

Sugar has been found to cause an inflammatory response reaction within the body, which affects joints, tissue and bone; thereby, increasing pain within the musculoskeletal system.  Sugar is also known to have a significant impact on chronic degenerative conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity or even arthritis because it suppresses the normal immune system response in the body.

So, as a chiropractor that deals with patients in chronic musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, this dietary issue is very important. I like to take a look at how much refined sugar my patient is ingesting on a daily basis. It is my experience that decreasing sugar intake will decrease the inflammatory response and improve the overall health of a patient.

Many patients find it difficult to reduce or eliminate sugar because they have become addicted to sodas or other high sugary foods or drinks. For patients who would like to reduce these food cravings, I like to recommend an herbal formula called Gymnema by MediHerb®. This formula reduces sugar and carbohydrate cravings and assists the body in maintaining normal blood sugar levels throughout the day.

So I challenge all that read this post. Take a look at the foods in your pantry and your refrigerator. Then, convert the grams of sugar on the product label into teaspoons of sugar.

Also, check and see where in the ingredients list sugar or high fructose corn syrup is listed. Keep a food diary on how many teaspoons of added sugar you are eating per day. You will probably be shocked at the number, but use this highly valuable insight to make the necessary dietary substitutions to lower your refined sugar intake.

According to the American Heart Association, women should limit their added refined sugar intake to 6 grams per day and 9 grams per day for men. By making a few small changes to your diet and with the help of Gymnema, you will feel better and have more consistent energy throughout the day. Another perk, you may also begin to notice a shrinking waist line.

If you would like my help in reducing refined sugar and carbohydrate cravings with Gymnema or would like assistance in substituting sugary foods with healthier alternatives, call our office at (530) 894-5990 and schedule an appointment. I would be glad to help you reach your nutritional goals.