Sugar tastes good and most of us enjoy it. My Mr. Non-Compliant and I are included in this category, especially when it comes to ice cream. Oh, he likes donuts too. As I contemplated what you might like to know, here is in an extremely simplified version of lots of detail I read through to write this!
I checked a variety of sources and got similar numbers. We eat too much sugar! The average American consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, or roughly 130 pounds per year. The American Heart Association states that the maximum amount of ADDED sugar in your day be:
Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons
Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons
Again, these numbers indicate added sugars. What does that mean? Food that comes packaged and you see sugar on the nutrition facts label with the number of grams per serving. You will see these labels on cereals, ice cream, candy, soft drinks, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, nutrition bars, protein supplements, etc. Sugar is added to many foods so that you become addicted to them, since sugar has the same addictive properties as cocaine! Now, that is a bit scary.
Beware of beverages like fruit juice! These sometimes contain more sugar than soda. Some alcoholic drinks contain sugar as well. Those sugar grams add up over the course of a day.
As an experiment, go about your typical day and track how many sugar grams you are consuming that you may not have been aware of. Do this for several days and get YOUR average. If you are struggling with your weight, type II diabetes or pre-diabetes, even high blood triglycerides or cardiovascular disease, could a high sugar intake be contributing to the problem? Sugar also suppresses the immune system, causes tooth decay, may contribute to deficiencies in essential nutrients, increases stress, and more. Yikes!
Some of the most troublesome foods include:
- baked goods
- soft drinks
- fruit juices
- candy and other treats
- dried fruits
- canned fruits in syrup
- low-fat or diet foods
What about fresh fruit and other real foods? Eat them. Yes, there are natural sugars in fruits and even some vegetables. These are better options than eating foods with added sugars. Some fruits and vegetables are higher in sugar content than others; however, I doubt that this is THE reason you are overweight, if you are. Play detective and scrutinize your other food choices before you start blaming the fruits and vegetables!
What are some choices you can make instead?
- Water with lemon or lime or fruit infused is sugar free, naturally
- Fresh fruit instead of juices, dried or canned in syrup
- Add fresh fruit to oatmeal, yogurt or other foods that benefit with some added sweetness
- Try cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and other natural ways to add flavor
- Eat REAL food–it is not processed and does not have added sugar or chemicals
- Choose ONE thing you can do in the course of your day to decrease the amount of sugar you are consuming.
Do not switch to artificial sweeteners to replace your sugar habit! This is my material for another upcoming BLOG POST. Please just trust me on this for now. Sometimes I add a bit of sweetener to a recipe and I use pure maple syrup, organic sugar or honey. They are all added sugar, of no health benefit, and I keep them to a minimum. (The topic of the differences in all types of sweeteners can get pretty scientific and I wouldn’t want any of you to start snoring while you are reading my BLOG.)
By doing just a LITTLE BIT better daily, weekly, monthly, you will notice improvements in your health, and your life!
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~ Julia Child