HOW MUCH SUGAR IS TOO MUCH?
The average American eats close to 100 grams of sugar in any given day, but according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, no more than 10 percent of calories (about 50 grams) should come from added sugar. The American Heart Association's added sugar recommendations are even lower, with men at 37.5 grams and women at 25 grams.
Let’s take a look at some common high sugar culprits.
Soft drinks (12oz)- 39 grams
Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino (16oz)- 66 grams
Low Fat Yogurt (1 cup)- 47 grams
Barbecue Sauce (2 Tbsp)- 14 grams
Sports Drinks (20oz)- 37 grams
Ice Cream (1 cup) - 28 grams
Ketchup- (2 Tbsp) - 7.4 grams
As you can see, staying within the American Heart Association’s guidelines is difficult given the normal eating habits of most Americans.
𝗦𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗹?
First and foremost, rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main causes.
Second, high-sugar diets have been associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
The worldwide prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 30 years. Though there are many reasons for this, there is a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and diabetes risk.
It may be hard to resist desserts, pastries, chocolate bars, sodas, even fruit juices. However, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.
When you have arthritis, your body is in an inflammatory state. Sugar may not only increase inflammation, it can also set you up for other chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Although consuming small amounts now and then is perfectly healthy, you should try to cut back on sugar whenever possible.
Fortunately, simply focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods automatically decreases the amount of sugar in your diet.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your intake of added sugars:
1) Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water or unsweetened seltzer.
2) Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
3) Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt.
4) Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
5) Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
6) Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
7) Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
8) Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
9) Swap your morning cereal for our Overnight Oats recipe, or a veggie omelet.
10) Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich. Use natural nut butters in place of sweet spreads like Nutella.
11) Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
12) Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
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