As Muslims, we spend a lot of time attempting to live closer to the way of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It isn't only in our devotional times that we need to emulate his ways. We were given so much authentic information about his daily habits---more than for any other prophet (peace be upon them all). Therefore, we observe the way he lived, or the sunnah.
He didn't eat refined sugar. He just didn't. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he lived a much healthier dietary life than we do. Actually, no one really ate refined sugar until about a thousand years after he passed away.
Does that mean we should not be eating anything he didn't eat? I'm not going to go that far, but we do have to look at following the sunnah in which the Prophet (pbuh) tasted the sweetness of dates and honey and was satisfied with that.
Is there a chance you could reduce your sugar intake?
That's what I starting asking myself. I looked into it not as a diet---because "I don't die it, I live it". I looked into it as a way to be more faithful.
I started researching.
How many teaspoons of sugar is the maximum a woman should consume in a day?
Six. A woman is only supposed to have six teaspoons in a day.
Each teaspoon is the equivalent of 5 grams, so each day women have 30 grams of sugar as a limit.
Me? I was putting two and sometimes three teaspoons of sugar in my coffee. Half of my daily intake was done in the first hour of every day----and you know that I didn't stop there!
Now? I put only put one teaspoon of sugar in my coffee. You know how we add a little too much sugar if nobody's looking? I bought some sugar cubes! Those sugar cubes are measured to exactly be those 5 grams. If it's tea, I use honey. Therefore, I am reducing my sugar intake by at least 5 grams every day.
"A DROP IN THE BUCKET!" shouts the heckler from the nosebleed seats.
He's right, but every good intention for better health has a reward.
Let's do some math...I know, you used to hate math in school...me too! Somehow, though, it is comforting me in my old middle-age.
If I, in shah allah, give up one teaspoon a day then every six days it's like I've given up a whole extra day of sugar. That's good! That's not just a drop; it's the equivalent of giving up a whole day of sugar.
It wasn't just coffee and tea. Look at this great graphic from Mother Jones:
I started looking into the juice I've been drinking. Time Magazine looked into the issue as well. Here in Egypt the sugar content is very high. The juice is more like a concentrated syrup than a beverage. I thought that I was buying "Pure" juice because that's what it said on the label. I was still bringing 12 to 16 grams of sugar in every juice box I sipped for lunch.
Do the math again! Ya, so that's 2-3 teaspoons of sugar in every box. It felt wrong.
The next time I went to the grocery store, I brought my reading glasses and spent some time reading labels in the juice aisle. Sure enough, I could find a juice that only listed 10-12 grams sugar. If I was able to eliminate 5 grams, then I stopped me from unwittingly ingesting another teaspoon.
If Yosra drinks a juice box a day during the school week, and she is saving herself from drinking 5 milligrams of sugar with every juice box, how much sugar is she eliminating from her diet every month?
5 x 5 = 25 grams a week or 5 teaspoons a week
5 x 4 weeks = 20 teaspoons
20/6 teaspoons maximum per day = 3 days.
Add that to the amount I'm already giving up in my morning coffee and it's 8 days total. Could you give up sugar for eight days? It would be hard, but it's not impossible if you simply view it this way. You ARE giving the days up, but while only reducing rather than eliminating.
One thing you know that is just horrible is soda pop. I've asked for my husband to stop buying it. If we're out at a restaurant (and that's once in a blue moon) then I don't mind if we order it. However, having it easily accessible every day, means that you simply will drink more of it. Pop is just too high in sugar content to consume it on a regular basis.
Take a look at Coke and Mountain Dew. Remember, the maximum is supposed to be SIX sugar cubes. 27?? 30???
I tried to explain this in the staff room. You know how people on a health kick are! Right away, it was assumed that it was about weight loss. It isn't! If I never lose another pound in my life, I'll be fine. I would like to reduce the strain on my body, however. I'd like to eliminate thirst that seems unquenchable because I've had too much sugar.
Sugar really isn't harmless Click to read some easy to understand research.
Am I noticing any effects? I am more mindful of what I'm buying and eating. I like that because that's who I strive to be. I ate a creme-filled cookie last week and it was waaaaaaaay too sweet for me. I hated it. That's a good thing! I'm less thirsty. My jeans fit a little better this week than last---that's good because even though I'm not doing this to lose weight, I do want to reduce the belly fat that slows down insulin production (and leads to diabetes).
Maybe you didn't think of any of this before. Now that you have, it's up to you to either look into your own sugar consumption or not. The problem is that once you realize you could do better, you can't ever claim that you never knew.
No food that has been made lawful to us can be declared "haram" or unlawful by us. I'm not saying that sugar is haram. Eat and drink it bismallah (in the name of Allah). Only, realize that we are supposed to be people who live by moderation in all things. Obviously, we, as a society, have not been moderate in our sugar intake.
Maybe you have battled and won---good on ya! Maybe you're like me and you're in the throes of the struggle---keep going! If you haven't ever given it a thought and now you're thinking about it differently----let me know! I'd like to know if this post has a positive impact on your life. I hope it has.
Love and Light!
UPDATE: While talking to a co-worker, she helped me realize that the sugar content listed is really deceiving the consumer. For example, the drink in my hand was 250 ml but the nutritional information was only for a 100 ml serving. Therefore, the 12 grams of sugar listed needed some math.
12 x 2 = 24 (to change sugar grams from 100 ml to 200 ml)
12/2 = 6 (the additional 50 ml)
24 + 6 = 30 grams of sugar
All of a sudden what seemed like a good deal was horrible. Instead of imbibing 2 teaspoons of sugar, I had been drinking 6 teaspoons of sugar! Even though I was reading labels, I was misreading---and I'm an educated woman who is really investigating. Imagine someone with less ability trying to figure it out. It's almost as if the beverage industry has something to hide...
Therefore, take a second look at those labels!