Become a Sugar Sleuth

subar cubesAmericans are literally drowning and sinking in sugar. Adults now eat some 22 teaspoons of sugar per day or more than 350 calories of the sweet stuff.  That’s 2-3 times more than what most health organizations recommend.

Since added sugars lurk in foods that you wouldn’t expect, you need to become a sugar sleuth to help you cut back on the sweet stuff.

 All that sugar adds up to more than 150 pounds per person per year!

Added sugars are now thought to be more harmful to your health than almost any other negative nutrient, like saturated fat or cholesterol.  Sugars are so metabolically damaging because they cause blood sugar levels to spike, which elevates insulin and a whole cascade of other reactions follow.  In addition, eating lots of added sugars drive up huger and decrease satiety, making it harder to control calories. It’s so bad, many refer to it as toxic.

Too much added sugar is linked to overweight and obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammation, premature aging and  wrinkles, and much more. That’s why we all need to do more to eat and drink less of it.

While it’s easy to know that candy, chocolate, baked goods and sodas are sugar-rich, food companies often hide a lot of sugar in many other foods that you would not necessarily expect. Breads, crackers, peanut butter, adult cereals, granola bars, marinades, soups, sauces, spice packets and condiments are often loaded with added sugars.

For a few days, you should become a sugar sleuth to see if you’re keeping added sugars in your diet to no more than about 100 calories or 25 grams or 6 teaspoons a day. Read the Nutrition Facts and ingredient list for everything you eat and drink. If “sugars” on the label are more than 8 grams, go directly to the ingredient list and skip it if you see a form of added sugars in the ingredient list. If there is no sugar in the ingredient list, it means that the food or beverage contains natural sugars; we don’t we don’t worry about them because they’re not “metabolically equivalent” to added sugars.

Sugar aliases to look out for on labels include: Cane juice, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, agave, sucrose, dextrose, honey,  dextrose, sorbitol, mannitol, honey, agave, dextrin, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup and any other syrup.

For the most part, if  there is an “-ose,” or “-ols” it means it’s a sugar. Although sucralose is a sugar substitute.

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