Thursday, February 23, 2012

The One Day Sugar Challenge

As noted in a previous blog, I love sweets. Most people do. Recently I decided to count my sugar intake for the day to see how much I was really eating. As a health-conscious dietitian, I was surprised with how many grams of sugar I was consuming a day. While eating at a hotel continental breakfast and trying to eat healthy, I went over my recommended sugar intake for the day! All I had was one package of oatmeal, 4 oz of Yoplait yogurt, a hard boiled egg, and a coffee with a packet of sugar. Prepackaged oatmeal usually has a lot of added sugars. The next day, I found a plain packet of oatmeal with no sugar. Some yogurts are known to have as much sugar as candy!

So how much sugar should you have in one day? The American Heart Association recommends, on average, no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of ADDED sugar for men, and 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women. This isn't very much! This does not include naturally occurring sugars, such as sugar found in fruit and milk.

Why should you limit sugar? Sugar has no nutritive value, but adds on extra calories. There are 4 calories for every gram of sugar. Extra calories lead to obesity, which leads to heart disease and yada..yada..yada. It also causes high triglycerides, which thickens the blood, making it harder on your heart to pump.

Try the One Day Sugar Challenge, and count how much sugar you eat in a day. You'll be surprised! Remember, only count added sugars. Look on the ingredient list to see if sugar is added. Sugar has many names including sucrose (and anything else ending in "ose"), high fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweetener, cane sugar, honey, and fruit juice concentrate. 

Next time you're grocery shopping, compare nutrition labels to notice the difference in sugar.

Added Sugar in common breakfast foods

Yoplait yogurt (6oz, 14 g sugar)

Instant cinnamon oatmeal (1 pkg,13 g sugar)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch  (1 cup,13 g sugar)

Cheerios (1 cup, 1 g sugar)

Krispy Kreme Doughnut (1 doughnut,10 g sugar)

Pop-Tart (1 pastry, 17 g sugar)

Eggs (1 egg, 0 g sugar)

Greek Yogurt - plain (1 cup, 0 g sugar)

Plain Oatmeal (1 cup, 0 g sugar)

Take the challenge, then figure out ways to cut some sugar from your diet. Let me know how it goes!