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!
I’m sorry to be a cynic, and no, I’m not a nutritionist, just someone with a little common sense. If the advice is “don’t give it to your kids, we just don’t know what the long term affects are.” then maybe we should all wait and see! How about have a little discipline, cut down on the sugar consumption! If it has high fructose corn syrup in it, don’t eat it and certainly don’t feed it to your children! Isn’t fruit juice sweet enough? Why would you add additional sweeteners to sugar in the first place? If you want something that is sweet and safe, try Stevia. It is a zero calorie, all natural sweetener that comes from a plant, not something that is sythesized in a chemistry lab. It doesn’t affect the glycemic index, it doesn’t raise your cholesterol.It is safe for diabetics. You can get it on-line or in health food stores like Home Economist or Talleys Green Grocery. Don’t eat Splenda and wait for the media to publish all the latent side effects that nobody knew about. It is much more likely that time will show that Splenda is TOXIC rather than Splendid!
I agree with the above post. I try really hard not to buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it and especially any kind of artificial sweetner. Trader Joe’s has been such an awesome addition to Charlotte where you can buy Stevia and 100% Agave Nectar to sweeten anything from coffee to homemade cookies. I cringe when I read kids cereals and yogurts that have “less” sugar, when all they have done is add a fake sugar substitute. I’m going to get off my soapbox now. Sorry, but thanks so much for giving us this forum to speak! We love Charlotte Smarty Pants!!!!