As I have already mentioned, I have the worst time with nutrition. I know the fundamentals, I have a clear idea of what I should and should not be eating, and I think that for the most part, I probably eat pretty well; however, I am almost always low on energy, poorly-fueled, and I tend to get hungry pretty soon after I have eaten a meal. Clearly my application of my knowledge of nutrition leaves much to be desired, and I am admittedly extremely confused about certain things.
At the top of that list is sugar. What, exactly, is the deal with sugar? I know that the completely ubiquitous (and seemingly completely unnecessary) high fructose corn syrup is to be avoided, and I try my hardest to check the ingredient list of pretty much everything I buy because man! that stuff will sneak up on you!! It is in most cereals (even those that claim to be healthy, such as Special K) and even whole wheat breads. Even foods that are salty have high fructose corn syrup now, and don’t even both trying to get a light dessert because you are probably much better off just having a small portion of the full-fat version rather than buy the low-fat, low-cal, high fructose corn syrup containing variety.
But I digress. I often wonder if my mid- to late-afternoon dips in energy have anything to do with sugar. Am I eating too much of it? Should my carbohydrates be less refined and more complex? Should I be cutting sugar out of my diet? Most importantly, how exactly does one do that? Does that mean I have to cut out foods that have higher levels of sugar even if they are fruits? One thing that always blew my mind about the first stages of the South Beach Diet was how much fruit was looked down upon because of its potentially high sugar content. I know it depends on the fruit, but I’m speaking in general terms here.
I guess what it boils down to is this: for a while I have been toying with the idea of reducing or eliminating sugar in my diet (or my eating, since diet has somewhat negative connotations) but I have no idea how to do it. Do I just get rid of added sugar and continue eating things like honey, fruit, and other foods with naturally occurring sugar? Or do I just cut it out entirely? Or is it even worth addressing?
One thing I am hoping to take a look at after this week of keeping a food diary is how much sugar I am having in a day, and whether or not it seems to affect me in any way. Maybe after that I can start making some changes, if necessary. I mean, I don’t think I am a sugar junkie by any stretch of the imagination, but the whole thing does have me a bit curious.
Have you all ever tried changing the amount of sugar you eat? How did you do it, and did you see any results?