More sleep leads to less sugar intake
Sugar has officially been put on notice – specifically added sugars. For the first time the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans outlined a specific recommendation to limit added sugar to no more than 10% of calories each day (about 200 calories or 12 tsp for a 2000 calorie diet). The American Heart Association recommendations are even leaner at 6 tsp and 9 tsp a day for women and men respectively. Added sugars are an issue because they are a major source of empty calories with no nutrition or fiber. They are so very prevalent in our diet, especially if you consume foods like soft drinks, sugary cereals, desserts or sauces such as BBQ or ketchup – even if in moderation. Complicating things further, sugars hide under cover of different names on the food label, making it even more of a challenge to identify and omit them!
But what if we told you that there’s an easy way to eat less sugar and carbohydrates? What’s more, it is completely effortless and has countless benefits for your health? According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, all you have to do is hit the sack a bit earlier each night.
Researchers assessed diets and sleep patterns of 42 normal weight adults for 7 days. Participants were identified as short sleepers, or people who sleep 5-7 hours a night instead of the recommended 7-9 hours a night. Half of the group underwent a sleep consultation designed to improve length of sleep, while the rest maintained their usual nighttime routine. As a result, 50% of the counseled group increased their time asleep. Interestingly, they also consumed 10g less sugar each day which translates to a significant 2.5 tsp.
Researchers were encouraged by these findings because sleep is something most people would welcome more of! It’s also a very realistic way to limit sugar intake, especially in today’s environment which seems to encourage sugar excess and could lead to weight gain and obesity.
Published December 1st, 2018