Most of us love the sweet taste of sugar. We like it added to baked goods and put in our tea and coffee. But sugar is not good for our health. Even when we read food labels sugar is often given a different name to confuse us on how much of the sweet stuff is in there. Let’s get the facts on sugar!
Sugars are simple carbohydrates that provide your body with energy. Sounds good right? Unfortunately, our bodies do not need sugar to function. Sugar provides NO nutritional value.
Natural Sugars vs. Added Sugars
There are some sugars that are found in milk, fruits and root vegetables. The natural sugar in fruit is often called fructose or glucose. The natural sugar in milk is often called lactose. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods during processing, preparation or when you put a teaspoon or so in your coffee.
Natural sugars found in fruits and veggies are good for you. When you eat these sugars you get vitamins, minerals and fiber. All healthy good things.
Added sugars affect the taste of foods only. They don’t fill you up and they are usually in very unhealthy snack or cereal products that have limited nutritional value. The more processed the food the less healthy it is. Common products that contain lots of added sugars are: soda, candy, cakes, cookies and pies.
We don’t need to worry about the sugar found in fruits, veggies and milk. These are natural and healthy. We need to cut back on added sugars. The average American consumes 270 calories of added sugars every day! Yikes.
When you eat or drink added sugars you are creating an unhealthy eating pattern that can lead to obesity and/or contribute to diabetes.
How much added sugar is safe to eat?
Men should limit their sugar consumption to 9 teaspoons per day or 36 grams.
Women should limit their sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons per day or 25 grams.
The 2015-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you limit added sugars to 10% of your daily caloric intake.
Added Sugars are Everywhere
There are hidden added sugars everywhere. Here are some examples:
Sweetened Cereals – 1 cup = 48 calories added sugar
Flavored Yogurt – 6 ounces = 72 calories added sugar
Regular Soda – 12 ounces – 126 calories of added sugar
The Many Names for Sugar:
Some products contain sugar but they don’t call it sugar on the labels. Here are some names to watch out for:
- Agave Nectar
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Corn Sweetener
- Corn Syrup
- Fruit Juice Concentrates
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Malt Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Rice Syrup
Too much sugar is not healthy for you. High sugar consumption can lead blood sugar spikes, weight gain and increases your risk for chronic disease. It is important to educate yourself on the aliases for sugar so you can track accurately how much sugar you are actually consuming.
Take care of yourself: consume sugar in moderation; eat 3 well balanced meals daily; stay adequately hydrated; and get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. These are the successful lifestyle to habits to stay healthy.
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Too much sugar can lead to many health problems! How much is too much? #HealthSurgeon