Snack Smarter with Smart Sweets
Quick, name one of the quickest ways to improve your health, lose weight, and feel better about yourself! Did you think “cut sugar?” If you did, you get a big, ole star from the teacher—a.k.a., those of us here at Supplement Superstore.
Jokes aside, cutting sugar and introducing healthy snacks to your diet is a really great way to start making drastic improvements in your health. We try to steer clear of restrictions here, as research proves that restrictive dieting fails almost every time. Instead, it can be helpful to educate yourself on the harmful effects of certain things in your diet (like too much sugar), and therefore make some modifications without feeling limited.
What is Sugar, Really?
While earlier humans didn’t have the crazy amounts we do today, sugar is a normal, natural ingredient of the human diet. Carbohydrates are made of sugar, fibre, and starch, and when we eat them, they’re broken down into glucose. Glucose is the body and brain’s preferred energy source.
The human body doesn’t discriminate between the types of sugar and breaks them all down into glucose. So, whether you’re eating a candy bar, drinking a glass of OJ, or eating an apple, the body creates glucose. The only differentiation the body makes is the rate at which the sugar is absorbed.
Each day, the brain requires about 130 grams of glucose to function correctly.
How Much Sugar is Too Much?
So, if sugar is a normal, necessary part of our diet, why do we need to be concerned? Well, because sugar is a natural part of many foods we consume, it’s easy to overdo it when you consider the excess sugar that comes in juices, candies, and other not-so-healthy snacks.
The World Health Organization recommends that individuals keep their consumption of “free sugars” (added sugars in foods and beverages and natural sugars in honey, juices, and syrups) below 10% of their daily calories. The WHO goes further by saying it’s even better to keep intake below 5%, approximately 25 grams.
Why is Too Much Sugar a Bad Thing?
One study found that the average Canadian adult consumes an estimated 18.8% of energy from sugar. Considering the recommendations above, that’s nearly double the higher end of the WHO’s maximum recommendation.
This is a bad thing because while some sugar is necessary for normal functions, too much can affect the body in a multitude of ways.
The Impact Too Much Sugar Has on Different Parts of Your Health
Quickly digesting sugars like those in a candy bar provide the brain with a quick flood of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for making you feel really good, and much like a drug, the brain will soon require bigger and bigger floods of dopamine for the same feeling, making you crave more and more candy.
Craving more and more sugar makes it that much harder to keep your sugar intake to a minimum.
More slowly digesting sugars, like those in whole fruits and vegetables, don’t trigger a dopamine flood in the same way, which explains why you don’t (unfortunately) get addicted and crave apples or carrots.
Have you ever experienced the sugar crash? It is that draining, jittery feeling that comes shortly after eating sweets. It results from the rapid spike in blood sugar and consequential drop when the sugar is absorbed by the cells. This can leave many people feeling unpleasant and anxious.
It’s more than just the yucky sugar crash, though, as studies link excessive sugar consumption to depression in adults.
If your skin is looking dull and lifeless, sugar might be to blame there, too. Sugar causes inflammation (more on that in a minute), leading to the production of AGEs or advanced glycation end products, which damage collagen and elastin production. These two protein fibres are responsible for youthful-looking, plump skin. When your body can’t produce these proteins, the result is sagging skin and premature wrinkles.
Another symptom due to inflammation caused by too much sugar is joint pain. This is because sugar leads the liver to produce free fatty acids, which trigger an inflammatory response in the body. In the joints, inflammation causes stiff, painful joints and can increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that too much sugar is bad for your teeth. This is because the bacteria that hangs out in your mouth between brushings love to snack on the sugar that’s left behind. As a result, it allows the harm-causing bacteria to multiply and thrive.
In addition to your brain, mood, skin, joints, and teeth, too much sugar can also cause irreparable damage to your liver—the organ responsible for filtering toxins out of your body. Over time, too much sugar can cause NAFLD ( non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). Both conditions can eventually turn into cirrhosis of the liver, which can cause death if left untreated.
Yet another way inflammation from too much sugar can affect your health is in your heart. The extra insulin produced from too much sugar causes inflammation in the arteries in the body. The thick, stiff walls of the arteries force the heart to work harder and can eventually lead to heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and even heart failure.
Pancreas and Kidneys
The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin after the consumption of sugar. When you eat too much sugar, your body begins producing too much insulin. As a result, the rest of the body processes stop responding to insulin in the appropriate, necessary ways.
This forces your pancreas to produce more insulin, overworking the organ until it eventually breaks down, causing a detrimental spike in blood sugar and causing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
If your body reaches the state of type 2 diabetes, the kidneys start getting overworked as they try to filter out all the sugar that’s left unchecked by your pancreas. This can eventually lead to kidney failure.
Of course, there’s the adage that dietary fat doesn’t make you fat; sugar makes you fat. While it’s probably not news, excessive sugar consumption is correlated to higher body weight.
Along with added calories, too much sugar can also cause the fat cells in your body to become inflamed, which releases chemicals leading to increased weight.
Lastly, too much sugar in the bloodstream can make men impotent—unable to get and maintain an erection. This is another reality of a stressed-out circulatory system due to inflammation.
Worst Sugar Offenders
Alright, now that you’re probably justifiably freaked out by how much sugar you’re eating, let’s talk about some of the worst offenders when it comes to excessive sugar. Some of these are expected while others will likely surprise you because they’re usually thought of as healthy snacks.
Food and Beverages That are High in Sugar
- juices and sports beverages
- carbonated beverages
- sugary cereals
- pre-packaged oatmeal
- protein bars
- salad dressings
- granolas and granola bars
- dairy products
- canned soups and pre-made pasta sauces
- sweetened iced tea
- dried fruits
- canned vegetables
- processed breads
- fast food
Healthy Snack Alternatives
That’s a lengthy list of sugar’s worst offenders, and it might include things you thought were relatively safe—pasta sauce, anyone? Now, let’s talk about some alternatives, like Smart Sweets.
Fresh or frozen fruits sans added sugar are a healthy snack alternative. However, you should still be keeping an eye on your overall sugar intake. Other ideas include nuts, popcorn, vegetables, chips with salsa, guacamole, or hummus.
In a perfect world, you would cut out all added sugar and never have a single craving. But, unfortunately, with constant temptations, that’s not very easy to achieve. Luckily, for those times when you’re really craving some sweet treats and an apple won’t do it, reach for healthy snack alternatives and sugar-free candies like Smart Sweets.
What are Smart Sweets?
Smart Sweets is a brand that started in 2015 when the founder, Tara Bosch, dropped out of college to follow her dream of helping the world kick sugar. In July of 2016, Tara was making deliveries with her personal vehicle, and by March of 2018, Whole Foods launched Smart Sweets worldwide.
The rest is history, as Tara continues to provide us with delicious, sugar-free candies and healthy snacks.
Smart Sweets are Made With…
- no artificial sweeteners or added sugar
- natural food colouring and flavouring
- no GMOs
- no sugar alcohols
- lots of plant-based fibre
- no common allergens
So, let’s look at the Smart Sweets sugar-free candy treats for some healthy snacks that taste delicious!
Smart Sweets Gummy Worms
Smart Sweets has got your back if your particular candy weakness is creepy crawlies! These gummy worms will fulfill your craving while sticking to that sugar-free candy promise they made. Our customers say they’re amazing!
Smart Sweets Sweet Fish
Smart Sweet’s O.G. is their take on the classic Swedish Fish. You know, those delicious little bright red candy fish that can make your tongue do the happy dance. Now you can get the same effect without the massive blood sugar spike and crash that follows the alternative.
Smart Sweets Sourmelon Bites
Check out these sour watermelon candies if you like a little sour with your sugar-free candy sweetness. They have lots of fibre, only 3 grams of sugar, and no nasty sugar alcohol! Some of our customers even think that these are better than the original sugar-loaded candies.
Smart Sweets Peach Rings
When you have a particular craving for peach rings, reach for the Smart Sweets version! Some people like these peach rings even more than the sourmelon bites. In addition, lots of customers say this is a surprisingly filling snack, thanks to all that delicious plant fibre!
Smart Sweets Sour Blast Buddies
If you like those little sour-then-sweet kids on occasion, you can now indulge without risking all the nasty effects of too much sugar. One 40-gram serving of the original candy contains 150 calories, 36 grams of carbs, and 31 grams of sugar. Smart Sweets sugar-free candy version has 130 calories, 40 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of sugar in one 50 gram serving. You might notice they’re comparable…until you get to that crazy amount of sugar!
Smart Sweets Gummy Bears
Who doesn’t love little chewy gummies shaped like beloved childhood stuffed animals? With Smart Sweet’s version, you can snack without guilt and make your inner child sing. Each pack is vegan, contains 21 grams of fibre, and just 3 grams of sugar—like all the other sugar-free candies from Smart Sweets!
Smart Sweets Cola Gummies
Here’s an old school candy you might remember—Cola bottles. Do you remember those from when you were a kid? If you do, it’s probably because you either loved them or hated them. There’s not an in between with these ones, and if you’re one of those who loved them, you’ve got to give their sugar-free candy counterpart a try! These are just like the originals, without all the extra sugar.
Why are Smart Sweets Better than Sugar-Free Candies?
There are many reasons that Smart Sweets are better than your average sugar-free candy you can purchase in the health section of the grocery store. For one, they’re a woman-owned business. Besides that, it all goes back to the fact that Smart Sweets says no to artificial flavours and sugar alcohols.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are the common ingredients used to sweeten other sugar-free candies and “healthy” snacks. They taste really sweet, but the body can’t digest them. So, after they pass through your mouth and gut, they pass out of the body without spiking the blood sugar.
The problem is with the side effects. Sugar alcohol, especially, can cause:
Artificial sweeteners might be even worse than sugar alcohols. They’ve been linked to weight gain, tumors, and cancer.
So, to sum it all up, sugar is natural and necessary to fuel your brain and body. However, too much sugar can cause various health concerns, from weight gain to depression. No matter who you are or how “clean” you eat, you could likely benefit from reducing your sugar intake. Stick with Smart Sweets so you can satisfy your sweet tooth with sugar-free candy and no reason to feel guilty!