SUGAR – We all love it. Unfortunately, North Americans are eating way too much of the stuff and it is showing in our health. A diet high in refined sugars increases risk of diabetes, heart disease, depresses the immune system, interferes with the absorption of a variety of important vitamins and minerals and affects our waist line putting us at greater risk of obesity. A recent study has now linked 1-2 high sugar sodas per week to pancreatic cancer. http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=2534371
The more we increase the sugar we are consuming, the more we see a trend of these now common diseases. Our portion sizes and frequency of sweet foods continues to increase. Dessert used to be some that was enjoyed once per week on Sunday night dinner. Now we are enjoying these sweet treats daily or numerous times throughout the day and our portion sizes are continuing to increase. Now the regular chocolate bars are not enough, we need to supersize it.
One of the problems is that sugar is in foods that we might not think of as high sugar foods. Yogurt, whole grain cereals and breads are just three common examples of foods that can contain a lot of hidden added sugar. The “low fat” craze of the 90’s just took out the fat and added a bunch of sugar. We got fatter from the low fat craze. Why is that?? This was in large part due to all of the extra sugar that was added to our diets.
At most, the average amount of added sugar you should consume is no more than 40 grams or 10 tsp of sugar per day. Now that can be pretty easy to get considering that your morning yogurt can contain up to 35 grams of sugar per serving. Even your healthy “whole grain” cereal can contain 16 grams or more of added sugar.
One can of coke contains 44 grams of sugar; one regular size mars bar contains 43.6 grams of sugar. These both provided more sugar than you should be consuming in a whole day.
For optimal health and a healthy waist line, I recommend trying to consume ½ of the added sugar recommendation. Aim to get 20 grams or less of added sugar in per day and watch your waist lines decrease. Please note: This is added sugar, not the sugar that is naturally occurring in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
And for those of you who think that they are okay because they drink diet pop and get treat with no added sugar (sweetened with artificial sweeteners).....please see the following link;
Tips to satisfy your sweet tooth without reaching for the Mars bar include
- Enjoy 2 squares dark chocolate (70% or greater)
- Enjoy sweet herbal teas – I love Celestial Seasoning Bengal Spice or Apple Cinnamon
- Try using natural sweeteners. Agave syrup is much sweeter than sugar therefore you can use less to achieve desired sweetness. Try using it in replacement of sugar in your coffee or tea!
- Enjoy a piece of fruit when you are craving something sweet.
- Make homemade popsicles with your favourite fruit and plain yogurt
Please feel free to ask me any question regarding this topic or any other topic on nutrition.