Valentine’s Day Nutrition Tips

February 13, 2015
Conversation Hearts

Love is almost in the air, because Valentine’s Day is tomorrow!  It can be easy to get swept up in the romance of the day and over-indulge in some sweets, so here are some tips to keeping your day in check:

When reviewing the nutrition facts of our favorite treat we want to look at calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium to name a few but we all want to look at sugar. We tend to get a lot of sugar from our diet, and most being added sugar. When looking at sugar on the nutrition facts label, it can be challenging to really understand what the sugar means. You see, both naturally occurring and added sugars are lumped together as sugar. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). While added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation. These sugars can include white sugar, brown sugar and honey. Another challenge with the nutrition facts label is that it is hard to know how much sugar is natural vs. added. The new nutrition fact label that is proposed would require information about “added sugar”.

Ok so now we know about the different types of sugar- but how much is too much?
For American women, no more than 100 calories per day or 6 teaspoons of sugar is recommended. And for American men no more than150 calories per day or 9 teaspoons. So, the easiest way to understand a nutrition facts label is to convert the grams into teaspoons. The equation for doing so is simple: 4 grams is almost 1 teaspoon. So, if you have a treat that has 24g of sugar, you are actually consuming approximately 6 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving. This is the maximum recommended amount.

So how do your favorite treats stack up?
8 conversation hearts=96 calories and 19.2 grams of sugar or 4.8 teaspoons
3 Dove Chocolate (Promises) = 132 calories and 13.2 grams of sugar or 3.3 teaspoons
28 M&M’s=142 calories and 18.4 grams of sugar or 4.6 teaspoons

 As you can tell it is easy to reach 6-9 teaspoons of sugar! Keep your sweets in check this year and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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