By Jeni Tackett, Lets Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger
Sugar is the hot topic in nutrition news. Added sugar grams are now listed on food labels, revealing the foods and beverages that contribute the most sugar to our diet.
How much added sugar is too much? The American Heart Association recommends that you limit added sugars to less than half of your “discretionary” calories each day.
For most women that means limiting added sugars to 100 calories per day. For men it means limiting added sugars to 150 calories.
Translated, that means women should consume less than 6 teaspoons, and men should consume less than 9 teaspoons.
That’s less than you find in a regular-sized 12-ounce soda, which contains 9-3/4 teaspoons of sugar. That single can holds more than a day’s worth of added sugar!
Why it matters
Added sugar provides no nutrients but plenty of empty calories. This can result in weight gain and increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
The average American consumes 20 teaspoons (80 grams) of sugar. Most of us need to tighten up our diet when it comes to sugar.
My teenage daughter tells me about all of the Snapchats she receives from friends who eat large amounts of candy on a daily basis.
Adults, teens, and children need to focus on healthy sources of carbohydrate (such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans) instead of fueling with zero nutrients in added sugar.
Ask yourself how you feel after drinking a can of soda versus a glass of water, or eating berries versus jelly beans. Added sugar can contribute to a feeling of sluggishness instead of energy!
Is all sugar bad?
No! Foods such as fruits, vegetables and milk contain natural sugar. Naturally occurring sugars do not qualify as “added sugar.”
The sugar in whole fruit, for example, is attached to fiber, which slows down the absorption of the carbohydrate into your bloodstream.
Thus, natural sugars in whole foods are not included in the added sugar restriction.
Read the label!
Added sugars do not contains vitamins, minerals or fiber.
The new food label (shown below) can help you make better decisions to avoid foods with added sugar, including some yogurts. Use this information to make decisions to fuel your body – and your children’s bodies – for life!
For more information on added sugars, go to the American Heart Association’s FAQ page.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|