Updated: Sep 16, 2019
"Sweets are fun, Sweets are yum! But too much sugar is bad for your tum!" - Theodora (a wise child).
Let's start with
It provides structure, texture, and flavor and even acts as a preservative
Sugars are found naturally in a wide range of fruit and vegetables
Almost all of veggies and fruits are healthy for us
Added Sugar contributes zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity and other health problems reducing heart health, diabetes, tooth decay and immunity weakness
an average American
consumes about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day
= 128 grams/day
Sugar can be: toxic, addictive and even deadly
What about drinks? It turns out some drinks and juices have as much sugar as several "Snickers" candy bars and are contributing factors to the obesity and diabetes crisis the developed world is experiencing. Explore the chart (per Rhode Island Medical Society) and see if one of your favorite drink is listed - are you surprised ?
So how much sugar is safe to eat daily ? Per American Heart Association : " There's no easy answer - some people can eat a lot of sugar without harm, while others should avoid it as much as possible.
Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) "
What about children and adolescent?
Per AHA, it should be less than 25 grams per day (or six teaspoons)
Run an experiment with your kids - I call it "Sugar Hunting". Pick a typical day in a week and look up ingredient label on every meal, snack and drink your child eats. Log and add up amounts of added sugar. If you don't have a label use one of these mobile apps or online tools to determine it:
Even if you think you and/or your children have a limited amounts of sweets you might be in for a shocking surprise how much sugar is added to almost everything we eat.
So do we do to reduce sugar consumption ? Well in my personal case, I made a very incremental change with sugar consumption, for example:
first week, I just skipped adding sugar to my tea or coffee
next week, I replaced a dessert (including ice cream :-) with a piece of fruit
the following week, I stopped a soda or a juice, but instead drank a smoothie with an added banana (as an alternative, agave syrup)
Up to this day I'll still have a couple of cheat days per month where I eat a tiny bit of dark chocolate or a kiddy scoop of frozen yogurt. The point is to retrain your brain and build new habits. You want to transform the taste palate where less sugary foods become the norm. You'll be amazed how much sweeter the sweet tea will taste and to me even disgusting that can of coke will feel. Make it a death to sugar by 1000 cuts - that way your body won't even know there's a major change. After all what can be more important than your own or your children's health.
I hope you have enjoyed this post (please reply and share your experiences with sugar)
-Coach Leonard Fingerman