Sugar… hmm, we all would probably say that we like sugar and sugar-containing foods. But USDA research of dietary habits of Americans indicates that added sugar intake is on the rise. It is estimated that 15% of calories come from added sugar – or about 21 teaspoons ( 360 calories/day). The primary source of added sugar is sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages and energy or sorts drinks.
High added sugar intake may be associated with:
- higher BMI or body weight (linked to diabetes & high blood pressure)
- high blood triglycerides levels (linked to strokes)
- lower HDL (good)-cholesterol (linked to heart disease)
- a rise in blood pressure readings (linked to strokes)
Nutrition label and ingredient lookout:
- Syrup: corn, high-fructose corn syrup, maple, agave
- “Ose”-ending ingredients: fructose, glucose, sucrose, dextrose
- Sugar: white, cane, brown, honey
The new 2010 American Heart Association Added Sugar Guidelines:
- Women: limit to 100 calories or 6 teaspoons per day
- Men: limit to 150 calories or 9 teaspoons per day
It will be pretty much impossible to completely eliminate added sugars – you will have to be very vigilant with looking at the nutrition and ingredients labels on food products.
Check out the sugar content – it will be listed in grams. Try to keep foods to 5 grams of added sugar or less per serving. For example, a serving of Raisin Bran has 17 grams of sugar but a serving of Cheerios has only 1 grams of sugar. What a difference!!
Do not worry about the natural sugars in fruits, milk, plain yogurt and certain vegetables (carrots and beets). These are very healthy foods that contain loads of good nutrition.