The average person consumes 13 POUNDS of sugar each month!
That’s according to Dr. Ian Smith in his new book Blast the Sugar Out. He states the average person eats 39 teaspoons of refined or added sugar daily at 19 calories per teaspoon. That equals 741 calories from just added sugar each day!
That’s a whole meal!
From an article in Living Strong, they say that a 2-ounce serving of grilled chicken, 1/3 cup of brown or wild rice, 1 cup of sautéed, steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables like asparagus and mushrooms, a whole-wheat bread roll, and a serving of fresh fruit could provide a 340-calorie meal. Did you read that? 340 calories! You could eat 2 of these meals and still only add up to 680 useful calories.
Why do I highlight useful calories? Refined sugar like white table sugar or the sugar that’s added to our processed foods and drinks are empty calories. It doesn’t have any useful nutrients our body needs to stay strong and healthy.
In 2016 the AHA set out recommendations on how many sugar calories we could consume daily to reduce the risk of many different diseases. According to a scientific statement in the journal Circulation which stated, “… excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as shortfalls of essential nutrients.” It also says, “There has been strong scientific data linking excess sugar above these limits and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.”
So, what are the AHA recommendations for daily sugar intake?
First, we should get as many of our sugar calories from ‘natural’ sugar, meaning sugar that is naturally found in our fruits and vegetables. Like apples and carrots, just to name a couple, these foods have vitamins and minerals our body can use in combination with fructose (natural sugar) and doesn’t get stored as fat or raise blood glucose levels the same as refined sugars, which can help to prevent disease instead of causing them.
Women: 100 calories or less per day which equal 6 teaspoons or 24 grams
Men: 150 calories or less per day which equal 9 teaspoons or 36 grams
What does this look like in real life eating? On average a sugared cereal per serving has 4 teaspoons. If you are like many Americans, you are eating more than what the box states as a serving, which is usually 1/2 cup. So you are probably getting your recommended daily serving of sugar at breakfast if you are eating sugared cereal or at least a third of your daily intake. Take a look at the label on your box of cereal in your pantry.
It might be time to rethink what food you eat to start your day and your individual sugar intake.
It’s just as easy to cook a bowl of oatmeal. If you feel like you just don’t have time to cook it each morning you can always make a large batch and keep it in the fridge. Then toss some nuts, seeds, spices or fruit on top each morning and start your day off knowing you have made a better choice for your health.
You can also make your oatmeal in your crockpot before you go to bed at night or make a fresh batch in your refrigerator while you sleep. You could also have eggs in the morning; they don’t take much time to fix. Boil a dozen and take 2 of them to work with you each morning.
Who said you have to eat breakfast food in the mornings? Have that leftover chicken breast or avocado on toast. Think outside the ‘norm.’
Starting next week challenge yourself to read the labels before you buy your usual ‘go to’ favorites. Check out how much added sugar is in it and then decide if it’s worth adding the calories. Or worse, is it worth the risk of heart disease or diabetes?
Your body will thank you!