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Sweet Tooth Doesn’t Only Ruin Your Health, But Also Your Mind And Productivity

Sweet Tooth Doesn’t Only Ruin Your Health, But Also Your Mind And Productivity

Obesity is a prevalent problem across the world. Take America as an example, the national obesity rate is now estimated at 35.5%, which is statistically higher than the number of citizens who are merely overweight.

While there are many potential triggers for obesity, an excess level of sugar consumption is thought to be one of the most influential. While the average male should consume no more than 37.5 grams of sugar each day, the average American man takes in an estimated 126 grams (which is the equivalent of 22 teaspoons).

This clear and sizeable difference highlights the negative effects of sugar which remains the primary cause of obesity and numerous other health issues. Therefore, by reducing our sugar consumption, we can drastically improve our physical health, while also improving productivity and mental performance.

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Sugar Can Cause Heart Diseases And Belly Fat

When surfing online, you will probably have noticed that there are conflicting reports about the negative impacts of sugar on the human body and mind. While some scientists have claimed that saturated fat is in fact the primary cause of heart disease and far more dangerous than sugar, however, the validity of these reports have been discredited by the fact that the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to publish such findings.

Modern scientists have now reversed their position, citing excess sugar consumption as a primary cause of physical ailments such as migraines, adrenal fatigue and heart disease. It is also believed to be the leading contributor to the accumulation of belly fat, and most doctors now suggest that citizens should restrict their intake to a single can of soda each day.

There are other, more far-reaching physical effects of excess sugar consumption too. Not only can too much sugar and fructose damage the liver (in a similar way to alcohol), but it can also increase your uric acid levels and increase your chances of developing heart and kidney disease. It is also cited as a key cause of metabolic dysfunction, the key symptom of which is elevated blood sugar levels and dangerously high blood pressure.

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Your Mind And Productivity Will Also Be Affected…

The issue of elevated blood sugar is particularly interesting, as this suggests that sugar can also have an adverse impact on our mental performance over time, impacting on everything from our underlying mood to our levels of focus and productivity at work. On a fundamental level, studies have shown that the excess consumption of sugar triggers cycles of binge eating and significant dophamine spikes, which in turn can cause physical and emotional crashes at any given time.

A 2013 study from US analytics firm Gallup even cited sugar-related health issues as a potential factor in global levels of employee dissatisfaction, with just 13% of workers actively engaged at work and capable of maintaining their mental focus over time.

These symptoms and statistics reveal that sugar consumption is a primary cause for numerous physical and mental health concerns, which in turn can impact heavily on our quality and longevity of life. This is also a major concern for our employers, particularly with absenteeism thought to cost an estimated £17 billion ($20.8 billion) in the UK alone each year.

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Rethinking Your Approach to Sugar

In some instances, excess consumption is driven by ignorance and a failure to identify the hidden sources of sugar in food and beverages. SugarScience.org recently reported that a staggering 74% of processed foods contained added sugar that is concealed under more than 60 different names, including starch and carbohydrates. In fact, sugar is a general dietary term for sweet and soluble carbohydrates such as glucose, meaning that many of us consume sugar unknowingly through food such as pasta, sauce and ready meals. In some of these instances, sugar is presented in a highly processed and concentrated form, making it even more dangerous to the human body.

This is just the beginning when it comes to identifying hidden sources of sugar, however, with food items such as granola, yoghurt and salad dressing all deceptively high in soluble carbohydrates. The fact that these ingredients are often marketed as healthy alternatives to snacks like chocolate and biscuits is even more concerning, as this often means that even those who are attempting to reduce their daily intake are consuming far more sugar than they think.

This represents a sizeable gap in knowledge, and one that is exacerbating the inflated levels of sugar consumption in the US and across the world.

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How to Reduce your Daily Sugar Intake and Cultivate Positive Eating Habits

Just as the excess consumption of sugar can have an adverse impact on your body and mind, so too reducing your intake requires both physical and mental effort. This process starts with the understanding that sugar, in its natural form, is not inherently bad, and that you must take responsibility to moderate your consumption and identify all highly-concentrated forms of the substance like fructose (which is commonly found in processed foods and carbonated beverages such as soda).

From here, you can begin to eliminate certain foods and moderate others, paying particularly attention to processed products and refined carbohydrates. These food groups include popular items such as ready meals and breakfast cereals, as these items are known to break down the sugar in your body and trigger an increase in insulin levels. Try to replace these initially with food that include natural sugar (like fruit), and gradually try to reduce your intake over time.

It is also recommended that you rethink your approach to grocery shopping, dedicating up to 90% of your budget on whole foods and focusing on the preparation of meals from scratch rather than pursuing processed alternatives. This will help to gradually improve and refine your diet, allowing you to reduce your sugar intake and increase the consumption of healthy fats and fermented foods with beneficial bacteria.

This structured approach will enable you to make incremental but manageable changes, under the understanding that it takes approximately eight to 12 weeks to break bad habits and cultivate good ones in their stead. It also uses knowledge and an understanding of the negative effects of sugar to make progressive changes to your diet, which in turn can lead to a healthier body and improved mental performance over time.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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