lump sugar Are You Consuming More Sugar Than You Realize?

After writing the initial post, The Not So Sweet Sugar Reality, there was more to say about how sugar sneaks into common foods that this topic deserved a follow up.

Before addressing how much sugar sneaks into our everyday foods, let’s put it into context.

How much sugar should we be consuming each day?

According to the American Heart Association and World Health Organization, the recommended amounts of daily sugar consumption are 5 % of total caloric intake or:

                Less than 38 grams or 9 tsp per day for men

                Less than 25 grams or 6 tsp per day for women

                Less than 12-25 grams or 3-6 tsp per day for children depending on size and age

Yet, the average American consumes about 194 grams or 48.5 teaspoons of sugar per day based on what we learned from the last post that the average American is consuming 156 lbs of sugar per year.

How is so much sugar sneaking into our daily plates?

Below is a list of the amounts of sugar found in common foods:

                12 oz can of coke = 39 g/9.3 tsp

                8 oz cup of apple juice = 26 g/6.2 tsp

                Yoplait yogurt = 27 g/6.4 tsp

                1 Cups Raisin Bran = 19 g/4.5 tsp

                3 Oreos = 13 g /3.1 tsp

                AMP Energy Drink = 58 g/13.8 tsp

                Starbucks Grande Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino = 65 g/15.6 tsp

                Bottled Starbucks Frappuccino Coffee Drink = 46 g/11 tsp

                1 Medium 3” Apple = 19 g/4.5 tsp

                1 Medium 2.5” Nectarine = 11 g/2.6 tsp

                1 Cup Whole Strawberries = 7g/1.7 tsp

Sugar is everywhere!

From this list you can see how common foods, even “health foods” are often loaded with sugar.  For example, one Yoplait yogurt cup contains more sugar than an average size woman should eat in the whole day!

In fact, added sugar hides in 74% of processed foods. This is why it is important to get in the habit of reading ingredient labels to spot that extra added sugar. Look for words that end in “ose” (like lactose or sucrose), “tol” (like sorbitol), or ending in malt, juice, or syrup.

It is important to keep in mind that not all sugar is created equal.

The natural sugars found in vegetables and fruits are not as potent. These items also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients which moderate the affects of sugar on the body.  However, when the natural sugars in these foods, like beets, are separated from their water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other beneficial components, what is left are the refined white crystals we know as sugar.

What is the big problem with this refined sugar?

Besides all of the negative health affects (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, weight gain) that were addressed in the first post, The Not So Sweet Sugar Reality, sugar can be compared to drugs in the way that it affects the brain and body. In animal studies, sugar causes cravings, tolerance, and withdrawal, similar to the affects of substance abuse. In one study, given the choice, rats chose sugar over cocaine because the high that they received from sugar was more pleasurable. In humans, sugar has a similar affect in the brain as addictive drugs leading to cravings and addiction.

What Can You Do About a Sugar Addiction?

This is exactly what we will address in our next RESTART class where we will specifically focus on a 21 day sugar detox based on consuming real, whole foods to eliminate sugar cravings and break that sugar addiction while providing a ton of information, support, and resources!

Additionally, check out the ideas suggested in the The Not So Sweet Sugar Reality!