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  • Carol Aranos

Ditch the Sugar & Lose the Muffin Top

woman with muffin top from eating too much sugar by Carol Aranos Camp Hill PA

Mary Poppins sang, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” and in the 1800’s it may have been necessary as castor oil was the solution for everything. Fast forward to 2021 and we now depend on medicine to overcome the effects from the spoonfuls of sugar we consume on a daily basis. In fact, it is really more like cupfuls as the average American consumes 6 cups of sugar each week, which is the equivalent of 156lb per year.

While 42.4% of adults are obese and I could write an entire blog on the addictiveness of sugar and obesity-related diseases, my focus in on that annoying muffin top that seems to have crept on and never goes away. Summer is here and perhaps a trip to the pool or beach is in the plans so let’s lose that muffin top!

Here are five ways you can reduce sugar and eliminate the muffin top for good.

Take the Sugar Challenge

The recommended maximum daily intake of sugar is about 10 tsp (40 grams), however, the average American is consuming up to 41 tsp per day. Recognizing that something is wrong is the first step toward changing the world. The same can be said for sugar intake and changing your muffin top.

Look at the sugar content in everything you eat every day for one week and calculate the total amount of sugar you consumed. There are also lots of apps that will do the work for you. I call this the Sugar Challenge.

At the end of the week, look at how much sugar you consumed. Is the total amount of sugar you ate less than or equal to 10 tsp per day? Make a note of the foods you’ve eaten that are highest in sugar and keep reading for ways to get that number down:

Eliminate Sugary Drinks

Habits are hard to break but this is the fastest and easiest way to lose your muffin top. Sugary and coffee drinks comprise the biggest culprits for high sugar consumption. Here are just a few:

  • 12 oz can of Coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams (9.75 tsp) of sugar

  • 16 oz Starbucks Carmel Macchiato contains 260 calories and 38 grams (9.5 tsp) of sugar

  • One Bottle of Gatoraide contains 158.3 calories and 31.9 grams (8 tsp) of sugar

  • 16.9 oz bottle of Lipton iced tea contains 100 calories and 25 grams (6.25 tsp) of sugar

The sugar content in most of these is the nearly the recommended amount for an entire day and substituting it with water will leave you feeling better and dropping your muffin top in no time.

Discover Hidden Sugar

Did you know there are more than 56 names of sugar? We may know some of the common ones like sucrose, glucose or dextrose but many foods hide sugar in plain sight. These sneaky sugars can appear in yogurt, barbecue sauces, peanut butter, dried fruit, granola bars, salad dressing.

Make it a habit to read the nutrition labels before purchasing the product. My general rule of thumb is to select foods that contain ingredients that I can pronounce and know what they are. Simply choosing an alternative that contains zero sugar will significantly reduce your sugar intake.

Here is a great article that lists all 56 and the most common ways it appears in our food.

Crowd Out the Sugar Cravings

Leptin is a hormone that helps regulate metabolism and the rate of fat breakdown in our body. It tells our brain that we are full. Selecting foods that release it will keep you satiated and reduce the urge for sugar and ultimately your muffin top. Here are some suggestions:

  • High protein foods – lean cuts of meat, eggs, poultry, fish, legumes, beans and yogurt

  • Good fat foods – avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil

  • High fiber foods – whole grains, vegetables, greens, fruit, beans

A great start is to have these foods on hand and eat them daily. Grab a handful of nuts or seeds mid-day to prevent going into the dinner hour hungry. Allowing hunger to overcome you is a recipe for disaster and we generally make poor choices when we are hungry.

Drink Water

This doesn’t really have anything to do with sugar but, in a way, it is the secret to everything. Nearly 75% of all Americans are chronically dehydrated, and while I could talk about the benefits of water for days, the aspect that pertains to this blog is that proper hydration makes your feel full – remember the crowding out philosophy that I touched on above?

Some other benefits include;

  • Increases your metabolism

  • Eliminates toxins from your body

  • Improves digestion

Water is the key to life. If you can only focus on one of these tips – drink more water!

These easy recommendations can make a significant difference in reducing your muffin top – just in time for that trip to the beach! Email me for a customized solution.