Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sugar, Sugar....

Americans consume a staggering 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day (that's 17% of the average American's daily calories. Consuming too much sugar can cause fatigue, digestive issues, headaches, brain fog…you might even be addicted to it!

I have been thinking about this for some time. I know I eat too much sugar. I’m not a big soda drinker (Soda and sweetened drinks are the biggest offenders) but I love to have a dessert with every meal. I’m also married to someone with a huge sweet tooth—that doesn’t help! My goal is to start limiting the amount of sugar I eat by a little more each day.

What's so bad about that? It's not just the extra calories. Sugar added to food ages you (so much for all the anti-aging lotions and creams) and takes the place of healthy foods, making it tricky to get the nutrients you need. Sugar is attracted to collagen, a structural protein in your skin. Normally, collagen keeps skin elastic and supple. But when it hooks up with sugar, its structure changes and it can't do its job properly, so you end up with a face that looks older.

When you eat more sugar than your body can burn, your liver repackages it into fat. Your liver then takes that fat and dumps it into your bloodstream, where it clogs up your arteries. Sugar can lower your good cholesterol and raise the bad.

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. has written a book called Beat Sugar Addiction Now! He believes that here are 4 kinds of sugar addicts. An Energy Loan Shark feels tired and needs regular hits of caffeine and sugar. The Feed Me Now or I’ll Kill You has depleted adrenal glands. The Happy Ho-Ho Hunter searches for sugar because of an overgrowth of yeast in the body. The Depressed and Craving Carbs desire for sweets is linked to changing hormones. (You can read more details in his book to find out which type fits you.)

**To find out how much sugar is in a food, divide the grams of sugar by four.

( 1 teaspoon= 4 grams therefore 1/4 teaspoon= 1 gram
One cup of granulated sugar is 200 grams
1 gram of sugar equals 4 calories
There are 3-4 grams of sugar in a packet of sugar)

Here are some examples:

Flipsides Pretzel Crackers (Townhouse) 1g of sugar divided by 4 = ¼ g/serving

Oreos 14g of sugar divided by 4 = 3.5g/serving

Multi-grain Cheerios 6g of sugar divided by 4 = 1.5 g/serving (My breakfast cereal)

Reese’s Miniatures 23g of sugar divided by 4 = 5.75g/serving

This maybe doesn’t seem like much but if you kept track of how much sugar you eat in a day, it would add up. You should try to limit your daily total to 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Check labels: don’t buy it if any of the first three ingredients ends in “ose” (fructose,glucose,dextrose).

Dr. Teitelbaum suggests using sugar substitutes such as Stevia, Erythritol and xylitol but says to be sure to check the substitution equivalents. (One pkg. of Truvia provides the same sweetness as 2 teas. of sugar.) I have not personally used sugar substitutes mainly because I haven’t researched them. Do you use them?

(I might have to change my sign to "Keep Calm and have a Carrot", sigh)

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