With all the information on sugar the Organizations and governments are (finally) declaring a maximum amount of daily sugar intake.
While this is a huge step forward, there are still a few problems. For one reason they don’t all agree with each other.
We all know sugar is NOT a health food. It isn’t full of nutrition, and excess consumption is not associated with great health.
The problem is that sugar is everywhere. It’s naturally occurring. It’s also added to just about every processed food there is. And this “added sugar” is a factor of many chronic diseases. Sugar is inflammatory. Too much is associated with weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and cavities. Eating too much sugar is a health risk.
So how much is sugar is “too much.”
Added sugar vs. naturally occurring sugar.
Before we talk about some “official” numbers, you need to know the difference between “added” sugar and “naturally occurring” sugar.
Fruit and other healthy whole foods contain sugar. But they also contain water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals. They are good for you. Eating fruits and vegetables is a well-proven way to reduce your risk of many chronic diseases.
“Added sugars.” On the other hand, are more concerning. In 2013 the American Heart Association calculated that about 25,000 deaths per year were due to sweetened beverages.
“Added sugars” are also in baked goods, candies, soups, sauces and other processed foods. You can find sugar on the ingredient list as many names.
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Invert Sugar
- Malt Sugar
- Raw Sugar
And anything often ending in “-ose.” These include glucose, fructose, sucrose, ect.
So, “Total sugars” = “Naturally occurring sugars” + Added sugars.”
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends for women no more than 100 Calories or 6 teaspoons 25/g. And for men 150 calories or 9 teaspoons 37.5/g of added sugar.
To put that in perspective a Chobani Greek Yogurt contains 28 grams of sugar or 5.68 teaspoons of sugar and a VitaCoco coconut water is 30 grams of sugar per 16 ounces or 6.09 teaspoons of sugar. A snickers bar contains 20 grams of sugar (4 teaspoons) and an Odwalla Orginal Superfood Drink contains 37 grams of sugar (7.4 teaspoons).
As you can see some healthy foods also contain “added sugars”.
So, let’s talk about ways to reduce the amount of sugar you are getting per day.
How to reduce your sugar intake and daily goal
First, ditch as many processed foods as possible, regardless of their sugar content. There are a ton of studies that show that processed foods are bad for your health. Period. I wouldn’t recommend eating your “daily value” of sugar from sweetened processed foods. Get your sugar form whole, unprocessed fruits first.
Second, you don’t need to max out your daily goal daily. You can reduce your sugar intake below the “official” amounts for a better goal.
Here are my recommendations for reducing your sugar intake:
- Reduce (or eliminate) sugar-sweetened beverages; this includes soda, sweetened coffee/tea, sports drinks, ect. Instead have fruit infused water. Or try your coffee/tea “black” or with a touch of cinnamon or vanilla instead.
- Reduce (or eliminate) your desserts and baked goods or bake or own instead. You can easily reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe in half. Or try my delicious (no added sugar) dessert below.
- Instead of granola bars (or other sugary snack), try fruit, or a handful of nuts, or veggies with hummus. These are easy and fast grab-and-go snacks. And can be prepared in a “to-go” container the night before.
Recipe (NO added sugar); Frosty
- ¾ cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- ½ banana, frozen
- Ice cubes
Add everything to the blender except ice. Blend
Add a handful of ice cubes and pulse until thick and ice is blended.
Serve and enjoy!