No doubt about it, sugar is a hot topic for anyone wanting to lose weight. Unlike fat or sodium, you don’t actually have a physical need to eat sugar. It has zero nutritional value. However, your body naturally turns food into sugars (glucose) to fuel the body and brain. The challenge is that sweet foods tend to make us overeat. Plus, artificial sweeteners trick our body about how food should be metabolized.
We know that foods, like candy and ice cream, are high in sugar. But you may be surprised at the high amount of sugar in foods that you wouldn’t expect. It’s added to most processed foods and beverages. Sugar is added because of flavor but also because it can help preserve foods, fuel fermentation (like in bread) and serves as a bulking agent. Sugar occurs naturally in foods like fruit, milk, vegetables and even some grains. Remember sugar has n0 nutritional benefit!
Why you want to stay away from added sugars:
- Tooth decay - Sugar allows bacteria to grow in your mouth
- Poor nutrition - You fill up and then don’t eat the healthy foods
- Weight gain - It adds calories but no nutrition to foods and usually causes overeating
- Higher triglycerides - Eating too many sugars can increase triglyceride levels which can increase risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association suggests no more than 100 calories/day (or about 30 grams) for women from added sugar. That is about 5 teaspoons per day. Most Americans are eating closer to 31 teaspoons per day! Eye opener: One soda has 9 teaspoons of sugar!
Sugar Surprise- These foods are all high in sugar:
- 1 Package Oatmeal – 15 grams
- 1 Protein Bar – 15 grams
- 1 Tbl. Salad Dressing – 6 grams
- 1 Cup Granola – 24 grams
- ½ Cup Tomato Sauce – 10 grams
- 1 20 oz. Bottle Ice Tea – 56 grams
- 1 oz. Ketchup – 6 grams
- 12 oz. Sport Drink – 42 grams
- 8 oz. Fruit-flavored yogurt – 26 to 39 grams
Eliminate Hidden Sugars
You don’t have to worry about naturally occurring sugars in fruit and milk, for example, for your health. It is the added sugars that cause the problem. Read labels and stay away from: Fructose, Maltose, Sorbitol, Evaporated cane juice, Syrups, Xylotol and sugars ending in "ol" or "ose".
More to come on artificial sweeteners later this week!
(Originally written and posted on www.strollerstrides.com by Lisa Druxman 7/2011)