Over the past year have you read some article that declares sugar as the devil or that it is as addictive as cocaine? As someone who has a sweet tooth it is concerning to hear these statements. So should we skip all things sweet?
According to the USDA, Americans have increased our sweet habit by 39% between 1950 and 2000. Currently the average American consumes 3 lbs of sugar a week or 22 teaspoons per day. Do you think that is that too much sugar? I do. The World Health Organization recommends that 5% of your daily calorie intake come from sugar. 5% is approximately 6 teaspoons or 25 g/day. The American Heart Association recommends for women, no more than 100 calories per day (6 teaspoons), and no more than 150 calories per day (9 teaspoons) for men.
So let’s put that into perspective. One can of soda contains around 40 grams of sugar. Skip the soda because one can provides you with almost double the recommended amount of sugar in a few swigs. And you might be asking yourself, why is consuming too much sugar a problem? Well refined sugar is linked to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes to name a few. And from a nutrition value point of view sugar provides you with empty calories- meaning the calories don’t include like fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.
Most of us don’t want to completely elminate sugar from our diet, so how can we practice being mindful of our sugar intake?
• Fruit. Start with the real stuff. Fruits are not included in your 5% of added sugar calories allotment. Enjoy two cups of fruit a day; this may help you curve your need for something sweet.
• Be mindful of where sugar is hidden- so read those ingredient labels. Sugar is honey, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, evaporated cane juice and it has many other names.
• Be mindful of how much you are eating. Enjoying in moderation. And an example of what moderation looks like, it means 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate/ day.