I don’t like sugar. I don’t like that sugar is a leading factor for obesity and diabetes. I don’t like that people don’t watch their sugar intake or understand its damaging effects. I don’t like that fake sugars are seen as better alternatives when they are equally as bad. I don’t like that sugar is so addictive. I don’t like that our own government subsidizes sugar growers. I don’t like that our own government does not require % listings on food labeling for sugar in foods when it does for all other ingredients.
That’s a lot of dislike and why I have a major issue with sugar. Not the naturally occurring sugars found in fresh fruit, I am referring to added sugars. It’s everywhere, many people are not worried about it and seems to be linked to so many of our nations medical and weight problems. There are over 60 names for sugar added to food (I listed just a few at the bottom of this post). The government does not require the food label to state how much of the sugar per serving is added vs natural. So you need to know the names of those added to understand how much you are getting.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that on a daily basis no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) should be consumed for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The range issued for kids is hard to narrow since it depends on their age but typically they agree that children should not consume more than 3-6 teaspoons (12-15 grams) per day. So based on these numbers, that is not a lot of sugar to take in.
You don’t even have to eat junk food to reach your daily sugar totals. I find that most added sugars can be found in popular breakfast choices. Especially when they are flavored. Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal packages 13-19 grams (3rd ingredient listed) vs 1 gram in the plain Steel Cut Oatmeal. Special K Red Berries is 9 grams vs regular Special K cereal has 4 grams (3rd ingredient listed on both). Typical bagel with nothing on it has 6 grams of sugar. Add a flavored smear and you add 5 grams of sugar per 2 tbsp. Plain nonfat Chobani yogurt has 4 sugars which are naturally occurring, but opt for the Chobani Coconut and you are up to 13 grams of sugar. Flavored varieties over plain always have more sugars.
Sugar needs to be reduces in all diets. One way to do this is to limit packaged foods used in meals and move to fresh foods. Naturally occurring sugars are fine when consumed in their natural state. So opt for strawberries or apples and nuts vs. a breakfast bar. Or try slow cooked version of steel cut oats and add fresh blue berries for sweetness. Great site for low sugar, natural food recipes is www.mindbodygreen.com
My preference is go cold turkey. I think it’s better to just cut it all out and go through the withdrawals and feel better in a shorter window of time vs going slow. But you have to know your personality and your level of tolerance. So if you need to start slow then start with one meal a day and each week make small changes until you can incorporate more fresh items. Eliminating packaged foods is ultimately your goal. Preferring fresh options. Quality over speed. It may take you a little longer to prepare but your longevity and quality of life are worth every minute.
Here are just a few names for added sugar:
Dextrose, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, carbitol, disaccharides, galactose, isomalt, sorghum, sorbitol, malted barley, glucitol, erythritol, Florida crystals (seriously!), mannitol, maltodextrin, hexitol, inversol, malts, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol, evaporated cane juice, maltose….