I’ve got the Archie’s song, “Sugar, Sugar”, stuck in my head! There is a lot of talk about how it is important to eliminate sugar from your diet. Bottomline, we eat a lot of sugar and we need to reduce that amount.
According to the American Heart Association:
“American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day, more than 3 times the recommended amount for women. This adds up to around 60 pounds of added sugar annually – that’s six, 10-pound bowling balls, folks!”
Sugar can add excess calories to our diet really quickly. More importantly, can cause a variety of health issues.
“The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
How much sugar is “ok”?
Men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons a day of added sugar.
Women, kids and teens should consume no more than 6.
It’s important to understand the sugar that is out there. There are two types of sugar- added sugar and naturally occurring sugar.
Added sugar means sugar literally added to the food product/recipe. For example, if you are making banana bread, there will be sugar from the bananas and maybe a few other ingredients naturally. The sugar in the recipe, like granulated sugar, is considered “added sugar”.
Naturally occurring sugar is what is found in fruit or milk. These sugars add up in that same total sugar number BUT foods that have naturally occurring sugar also have many important nutrients- like vitamins, minerals and fiber. These foods should remain a part of your diet.
To reduce your sugar begin with nutritional labels (NOT eliminating fruit). Look for the sugar line and avoid foods with a high sugar content and watch the “added” sugar. Second, look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many different names. Here are a few to watch for: corn sweeteners, dextrose, fructose, galactose, lactose, levulose, turbinado, molasses, honey, maple sugar. All together keep in mind processed packaged foods in general have many ingredients that are best to avoid. Eat whole, real foods as often as possible. If you want cookies, bake them yourself rather than buy them. That way you can control the ingredients.
Get familiar with the foods that you eat regularly and research their sugar content and try to reduce the amount you consume. Any reduction is a good one and important one.