First of all, and completely unrelated to sugar, I'm back! It's been MONTHS and for that, I apologize, but life happened and this blog of mine took a seat in the way back. The reasons range from death to birth (death of family member and birth of my new son!) and a whole host of other issues in between. The important thing--I'M BACK and ready to help you get to your healthiest version of yourself.
Today's topic: Sugar. That delicious, wonderful creation that wraps its wonderfully toxic hands around your throat and doesn't ease up its grip until you take in more. Ahhh sugar, how I love to hate you. Or is it hate to love you? That doesn't really matter now does it, the outcome is the same: sugar sucks.
If you have a couple hours to kill, I highly recommend a documentary called That Sugar Film. If you don't have time to watch it, here's the gist: Man decides to consume not the daily allowed intake of sugar, but what the average person actually consumes. His health suffers and he has a team of doctors to draw his blood and run tests to prove just how terrible sugar in excess can be to your health. The best part of this film is that the guy in it doesn't even have to eat candy and other sweets to get to the average rate, he just eats normal foods that are even marketed as 'healthy.'
The American Heart Association recommends men to have 37.5g of sugar and women to have 25g of sugar each day. That amounts to 9 teaspoons and 6 teaspoons respectively (side note: why do men get to have more sugar? They get to make more money than us AND they get to have more sugar every day?! This is just getting ridiculous!). Also according to the American Heart Association, the average American is consuming 82g of sugar each day. That is THREE TIMES the recommended amount for women and over TWICE the amount for men.
We all know the obvious sugar culprits (pure sugar added to coffee, tea, etc., cookies, cake, ice cream....), but what about the ones we don't always think about. The ones we take into our body much quicker than chewing and swallowing, the ones we drink. That daily Starbucks Vanilla Latte? A grande non-fat one has 28g of sugar. Lattes not your thing? You're more of a blended coffee drink kinda gal (or guy)? A Grande Starbucks Mocha Frapp has 61g of sugar with whipped cream and 59g without. Coffee not your jam? A Grande Hot Chocolate with whip and nonfat milk has 43g of sugar and 41g without the whipped cream.
Those are just some of the obvious culprits in the liquid world. Their are countless sugary cousins to those delicious Starbucks drinks: soda, wine, mixed cocktails, lemonade, flavored iced tea, sports drinks, etc. Take a moment to think about everything you eat or drink during the day that has the obvious added sugar, then take some time to look up the sugar in foods you eat that aren't obviously dessert types. Look into the barbecue sauce you had to have, ketchup with your fries, bottled salad dressing, the bread you made a sandwich with, the 'Heart Healthy' cereal you ate this morning. You will be shocked.
What can you do to ensure you are taking in less sugar? Pay attention to food labels. Have you ever noticed that the label doesn't show what percentage of your daily intake sugar is? That's because the USDA doesn't make food manufacturers put it on there. So, just remember that your daily total is either supposed to be at 37.5 or 25 grams. If one serving of something has even a quarter of that, you're probably going to reach the limit very early in the day, maybe even before your first meal if you're the type of person to enjoy a nice flavored latte or even coffee with flavored creamer.
In addition to paying attention to food labels, try to cut just one sugary beverage or snack from your diet today. Replace the beverage with a glass of water (12oz.) or the snack with a piece of FRESH fruit. Preferably not from a can, but if that is all you have access to, avoid the ones canned with syrup- you may as well eat a candy bar.