The Great Sugar Debate!

It’s no surprise that Americans eat way too much sugar. We do! The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended last week that we tone down our sugar addiction, and by tone down I mean cut it in half. In 2002 WHO recommended that 10% or less of our daily food intake come from sugars, but now that number is down to a mere 5%. Think that’s easy? I wish. Ten percent works out to about 50 grams per day; a can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar, woah, and the average bowl of cereal has between 8 to 12 grams per serving. No one eats just one serving! Slicing our sugar intake in half, eating only 25 grams a day, leaves us with about one bowl of cereal (2.5 servings), or just over a half a can of Coke to enjoy. Hot damn! We definitely eat way too much sugar, and there are a lot of contributing factors. Sugars are hidden everywhere and there are both good and bad sugar sources. I’m here to feed the debate and clue you in on all that sugar.

Damn people, what are we going to do? How can we live without all that sugar? Let’s face it; a majority of the sugar we eat is added, meaning we can get rid of it. Pre-packaged goods are our problem people! They come loaded with all kinds of weird ingredients, including sugar, sugar substitutes, and sugar like entities. Individual sized cookie packages have at least 12 grams of sugar per serving! Individual sized flavored yogurts have anywhere from 12-20 grams of sugar. Why? It definitely doesn’t need to be so sweet. Yogurt was once my go to snack; I loved that bad boy with only 100 calories per serving, but no more. I cut out all that added sugar!

Sugar is hidden everywhere in all kinds of foods. The most shocking exposure of sugar is in a slice of bread. Yes, many types of bread have 3 grams of sugar per slice! One slice, that’s unacceptable people! What about those low calorie products? Big red flag people, they’ve added sugar there too. Compare a low calorie/low fat salad dressing to a full fat one and you’ll find the fat’s been taken out and sugar’s been added right in.

With all the added sugar taking over our diets, what about good old natural sugar? Embrace this sugar; the natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables! It always has and always will be way better than the artificial versions (And I’m not just talking about sweeteners… corn syrup anyone?). Fruit sugars have fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. We definitely need all of those things! Not to mention you don’t crash from a sugar high after eating it and I don’t know anyone who got fat from eating too much fruit! Yes, some fruits like grapes are high in sugar, but berries don’t have much at all. Watermelon and pineapple are also great, low sugar per serving fruits. Fruits also have a ton of water in them, another big bonus. I’ll take some fruit over added sugar any day!

Sugar is everywhere, so what do we do? We need to take a stand! A stand. How do we take a stand? By loading up on natural sugars and shunning the added ones. Eat more fruits and veggies. Avoid pre-packaged foods, soft drinks, fruit juices, flavored yogurts, and to much candy. They all have loads more sugar than we need for the day! Be aware of the sugar you put in your body. Try juicing your own juice for a natural alternative to sugary drinks. No added sugars in there! Cut out soda one can at a time, even the diet soda with its artificial sugar. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit to it. It will taste great and keep you stuck on the natural stuff. Finally, stick to the serving size on pre-packaged sweets, or even better, make your own. Find a friend to bake those cookies for you if you don’t know how. It puts you in full control of what kind and how much sugar gets into that desert.

Added sugars are everywhere, so it’s our job to keep them in check. Even natural sugars like those in fruit have recently been sucked into their wake, lumped together to confuse the issue. Let’s not let them! Educate yourself on the difference and be mindful of what’s in those pre-packaged foods. Know what you’re eating and don’t let your diet become all sugar! Practice mindful eating; you’ll feel healthier, livelier, and more full of life. Sugars weigh us down, and we’re all eating too much. Take control because we definitely don’t need all that sugar!

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