Sugar. That sweet thing that adds lip-smacking flavor to your favorite dessert, drink and other treats. (It’s also hiding in many “healthy options” but more on that later.) We crave it, but like many things, too much of it can cause health problems. Read on friends to learn the sugar basics.
What is Sugar?
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that our body uses as an energy source. It is a natural part of the food that we eat. Note there are two types of sugar to be aware of: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. Appropriately named, natural sugars occur naturally in the food we eat (think apple) and added sugars have been added to the food and drinks we consume (think sugar in a can of cola).
The Deal with Sugar
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Harvard School of Public Health reports that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That’s a lot of sugar! The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons per 100 calories for women and 9 teaspoons per 150 calories for most men.
In short, sugar itself is fine in moderation but our bodies don’t need more sugar to function properly. Added sugars contain added calories and no nutritional value.
Health Risks of Too Much Sugar
Diabetes is a long-term health condition that affects how our bodies turn food into energy. When we eat food, it is broken down into sugar (also known as glucose) and released into our bloodstream. When our blood sugar levels go up, the body signals to the pancreas to release insulin.
If you have diabetes, the body can’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin it has as needed. Insulin is important because it works to let blood sugar into the cells for use as energy. According to the National Diabetes Statistics report of 2020, over 34 million people of all ages in the U.S. had diabetes.
The American Heart Association (AHA) also recommends cutting back on added sugar intake to slow down the rate of heart disease and obesity.
Should I Break Up with Sugar?
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You might be thinking if only I could say, “Bye sugar. I'm so sorry this didn't work out.”
Before you totally break-up, remember the body needs sugar to function properly and not all sugars are bad sugars. Naturally occurring sugars from foods like fruit are not harmful to our health. Fruits are a great source of vitamins and nutrients that counterbalance the sugar content.
You want to limit or avoid added sugars. We’re talking about things like cakes, desserts, cereals, and soda. You also want to watch out for so-called healthy foods that are surprisingly high in sugar content. These are things like ketchup, yogurt, fruit juices, and energy drinks.
How to Tell If You Have High Blood Sugar
First, your body sends you a sign. When you have high blood sugar, you may experience symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
There are ways to check your blood sugar levels. These include blood glucose meters and urine tests, and you can also ask your doctor to check your blood sugar measures during routine blood work. When in doubt, always consult your doctor for assistance on which test to take and what to do.
How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar Naturally?
If you have high blood sugar levels, or at least you think you do, there are ways to decrease it.
You can start cutting back on sweets by limiting your dessert consumption and choosing fruit over cake (we know the struggle is real). Other healthy swaps include:
- Selecting juice beverages with no added sugars;
- Using spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger instead of sugar;
- Avoiding soda and instead ordering drinking water or unsweetened tea.
When in doubt look at the nutritional label (where possible).
Also look to add more foods that help lower blood sugar levels to your meals such as broccoli, seafood, apples, okra, flax and chia seeds.
Lifestyle changes can also help lower blood sugar levels including:
- Exercising regularly;
- Monitoring and managing your carb intake;
- Staying hydrated (water is our friend!);
- Portion control;
- Stress level management;
- Visiting your doctor - regular health checkups make a difference.
- Adding fiber to your diet
Yes, this is a long list but one of the easiest ways to lower your blood sugar level immediately is to increase your fiber intake. Yep, our good friend fiber also helps control blood sugar levels.
How Psyllium Husk Fiber Can Help Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber derived from the seeds of this awesome medicinal plant called Plantago ovata. Plantago Ovata is an excellent source of psyllium husks which are a great source of fiber.
Psyllium husk works great in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels because the gel-forming fibers in psyllium husk slows down food digestion which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
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Psyllium husk is known to provide many health benefits and has prebiotic effects that are great for the whole body.
While it’s best to reach your fiber goals via your diet, sometimes that isn’t possible. The good news is psyllium husks are available in your BFF (best fiber friend), Bonny.
Try Bonny Fiber Supplements
Bonny is a prebiotic fiber supplement that contains psyllium husk and inulin. A double dose of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Bonny is an all-natural, plant-based fiber powder that tastes AMAZING with flavors like Mixed Berries and Apple Pie. Finally, fiber that doesn’t taste like fiber.
We fully support your road to a healthier lifestyle and don't forget to consult your doctor regarding your diet and lifestyle changes.
Wishing you pleasant poops, as always.