Sugar is bad.
We need only a few teaspoons each day. Ten would be plenty. We actually consume five to fifty times that.
Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to diabetes, obesity, cancer, aging, and a variety of other health concerns.
We’re going to eat it anyway.
We like it. We crave it. Some say we are addicted to it.
So what do we do about it?
Sounds simple, but it is almost impossible to actually do. Just as they have with salt, food producers have added more and more sugar to more and more foods. Our only defense is to carefully read labels. However, even that can be difficult because there are so many types of sugars. You have to learn a whole new vocabulary to find all of them. Food labels list glucose, dextrose, fructose, invert syrup, corn syrup, glucose syrup, lactose, and maltose. Foods containing more than 15g sugars per 100g are high in sugar; low is 5g sugars or less per 100g.
We should be consuming about 50g or less per day. In reality most of us are eating 200g per day. I don’t know about you, but when I start talking about and reading about grams, and adding up numbers, my eyes glaze over and my mind shuts down. The only effective way for me to read labels is to compare two to four similar products and choose the one with the lowest number. The two salad dressings I have in the refrigerator right now vary by 7 grams. I’m going to use the lower one because it also contains less sodium.
And that’s the other problem. If your food choice is high in sodium, but low in sugar or vice versa, you have to think carefully about its overall nutritional value and its place at your table. Balancing your consumption of both can drive you crazy!
One of the things that has helped me lower my sugar intake is to stop drinking sugar. I have given up sodas even though I was only drinking one per day. I read that one can of soda per day can add up to 50-65 pounds of sugar per year to your diet. Yes, read that again. 65 pounds! And most of the women I know who are truly addicted to Dr. Pepper or Mt. Dew actually drink at least 32 oz. per day. I know some of you avoid this by drinking diet drinks, but I don’t have that option. Aspartame gives me a migraine and I’m fearful of trying other types of artificial sweeteners. Many studies have shown that diet drinks really aren’t effective for weight control and simply create other problems for your body.
Americans guzzle an average of 50 gallons of sweet drinks per year, and most of those are sodas. Drinking our sugar is quick, easy, and doesn’t really “register” with our brains the way eating a dozen doughnuts might. That’s what makes the habit so dangerous.
Be careful too, of juices. They contain a lot of sugar and should be consumed in small quantities. Switch to the actual fruit if you can. If juice is your preference, then be sure to drink 100% juice, not blends with added sugar.
If you add sugar to anything- cereal, tea, fruit-STOP. Okay, cut down by 1/3. Then in a month cut by another third. Even if you never quit, you will have improved.
Each of us has a “sweet habit” and I’m sure you are aware of yours. Improving your habit or eliminating it is your choice, and your project for the week.
Have a great day! And Happy Birthday to Marilyn! As my students would say, “That’s a big number!” LOL Congratulations!