I’m a girl who loves sugar and all things delicious. If you were to crack open a dictionary (do people still use those? ) or Google the definition of “sweet tooth” you’d see a big blazing photo of yours truly. It wasn’t until I learned, or should I say my figure learned, that sugar may not be the best thing to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I can promise that these hips don’t lie!
But just seeing the pounds pack on wasn’t enough, I needed to know from the professionals just how much sugar I could sneak away without causing the scale to jump in numbers.
Be prepared to be significantly unimpressed and a little depressed.
The American Heart Association gives the following sugar consumption recommendations for an average adult:
Women – should eat no more than 100 calories or 24 grams of sugar per day, which equates to about six teaspoons
Men – should eat no more than 150 calories or 36 grams of sugar per day, which equates to about nine teaspoons
Like I said, I was very depressed which caused me to reach for my can of soda and delicious chocolate bar. No! No! No! That is wrong thing I told myself. But, I needed to gain some perspective so I did a little label checking on some common food items that many people consume in a day.
Cereal – I love cereal! But let’s be honest, I always eat the recommended serving…times two. I looked up the nutrition facts on my beloved Cinnamon Toast Crunch and found that in one serving which is 3/4 cups cereal and 1/2 cup of milk I’ve just consumed 16 grams of sugar, almost 3/4 of my recommended sugar intake.
Salads – Many people opt for the “healthier” version of fast food by ordering a salad, which is good but you have to be careful. I researched Wendy’s fresh apple pecan salad and found that this delicious salad has 39 grams of sugar, almost double the AHA’s guidelines! Not to mention that it had more calories than a medium fry!
Soda – I know more than a handful of people who can’t go through the day without a sweet frothy beverage. If you were to drink one 20 ounce Coke a day you’d be consuming 65 grams of sugar (or 16 teaspoons.) Maybe Coke’s not your thing but you’d rather do the Dew, a 20 ounce Mountain Dew leaves you with a hefty 77 grams (or 19 teaspoons more than 1/3 cup of sugar!) If you want to see just how much of an impact soda has on our health, in particular man’s heart read our post about sugar drinks.
Energy drinks – My husband is a die hard for energy drinks. Well I should say that he was a die hard until he learned that his Rockstar “pick-me-up” was picking him up more than 64 grams of sugar.
Although these facts are depressing, I assure you they are far less depressing than not being able to fit into your new favorite pair of jeans or your favorite top. Plus your heart and waist line will thank you.
A few tips to help reduce sugar in your diet are to:
- Carefully read nutrition labels and pay attention to serving size! You may think that 7 grams of sugar isn’t bad for the cookie you’re devouring until you read more closely and realize there are six servings per cookie!
- Treat yourself occasionally. Although desserts/sweets may be a staple in your daily meals try eating them only once a week.
- Swap out soda for a healthier option like water. Need some flavor? Try squirting a little lemon or lime in your water.