By Guest Blogger,
Barbara H. MS, RD, LDN
Charlotte Nutrition and Wellness Consulting
Picture yourself sitting down eating 30 pounds of candy and gum! Yuck! Well by the end of the 20th Century, that is exactly what Americans were consuming each year! On average, sugar contributes an additional 318 calories a day to our diet. This totals to 33 pounds of weight gain a year. It is no wonder Americans are so challenged with fighting the bulge. These calories are subtly hidden in the processed foods we eat.
Foods are sweetened with more sucrose and high fructose corn syrup today, than in years past. In 1915, only 40 calories of sugar a day were consumed by the average American. Why the change? The manufacturing of corn syrup! Cost savings by manufacturers became a priority over your health. In the 1960’s high fructose corn syrup became a much cheaper option to sucrose (table sugar) in sweetening products. Just look at those juices our children are drinking! High fructose corn syrup is a primary ingredient.
So what are the potential adverse affects of all this sugar? Increase in blood pressure, triglycerides, diabetes, tooth decay, and because of the oxidative damage sugar places on our tissues, it speeds up aging and places us at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, in order to process sugar, the body leaches calcium from our bones, thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Now do you have the ‘Sugar Blues’? Here are some tools to use, so you can stay young and healthy!
* When reading food labels, do your best (I know it is a challenge), to make certain sugar in any form is not among the first 3 ingredients, particularly high fructose corn syrup since the concentration of sugar is so high. Words with the “ose” ending refer to sugar.
* Splenda is splendid! When choosing a sugar substitute, opt for Splenda (the yellow packets) over the other artificial sweeteners. However, I much prefer my little child’s body to have sucrose sweetened (sugar cane) gum over artificial. We just don’t know the long-term safety, especially on young children.
* Lastly, look for high fiber foods. They will help your body slow the absorption of sugar. Choose a product with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving. Now that would be a sweet choice!