- Dr. Liz Homan
Who just consumed more sugar than they would like to admit and are now feeling the sugar blahs? I know I am…
Today I want to talk to you a little bit about sugar… but not about the refined sugars that we all know we need to cut back on, but about the hidden sugars that are in our foods…
The recommended amount of sugar consumption should be limited to 5% of your total caloric intake, so for a 2,000 calorie diets, that would be about 25 grams per day. 25 grams of sugar is around 6 teaspoons a day or 20 pounds per year. It has been found through the United states Department of Agriculture that the average American consumes around 150 pounds of refined sugar in one year… that is 6 cups of sugar each week, when we should be having a little over ¾ cup of sugar a week…
But most people do not believe that they consume this amount of sugar each week. I mean we all try to avoid sugar, but it is added to foods that we wouldn’t expect it to be added to and it also occurs naturally in foods that we have often times been told are healthy and nutritious for us.
For example, 1 cup of raw spinach contains 1 gram of sugar, 1 cup of sweet peas contains 10 grams of sugar and 1 cup of cooked butternut squash contains 21.5 grams of sugar. 1 cup of raspberries contains 5 grams of sugar, 1 cup of raw apple contains 11 grams of sugar, and 1 cup of bananas contain 28 grams of sugar.
There are so many varying levels of sugar in all produce and that is natural, but you may want to limit the fresh fruits and veggies that contain super high levels of sugar. Or at least rotate them out for produce that has lower sugar content.
Beyond the sugar we consume that occurs in our food naturally, there are often times hidden sugars added to our foods. Yogurt, spaghetti sauce, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal, dairy-free milk substitutes, dried fruit, granola bars, canned soups, and more all contain added sugars.
What can consuming all of this sugar do to our body? Well let’s talk about some less obvious reasons first.
· Sugar is an inflammatory agent- this is done by increasing the gut permeability which leads to low grade inflammation and can impact how all areas of the body function.
· Sugar feeds all cells in the body- the good and the bad… this in turn raises our body’s acidity which can suppress key immune responses and weakens the body.
· A study showed that sugar intake was associated with more than double the cancer risk
· Obesity- which this in turn leads to us not feeling good and heading down a negative cycle of lifestyle choices.
Okay, so now you are aware, but what can you do (other than getting rid of all the Halloween candy)? Well, awareness is key, and admitting that there is a problem is half the battle. Start looking for hidden sugars in your diet and start finding other food options that do not have those hidden sugars. You also want to start consuming fruits and veggies that have lower sugar content and making sure to continue to rotate what you are feeding to your family to have a greater variety!
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!