What a hot topic! Nearly every food we encounter, whether “healthy” or not, has added sugar. And that’s really a shame that the food industry has gone to such extremes to get us hooked on their products… emphasis on products, not food.
When I was in college, I was seeking ways to get lean and toned over the summer before heading into a new season of swimming. I knew that no “diet” was going to cut it for a college athlete heavily in training, so I wanted some simple ways to clean up my nutrition. Man, do I wish I learned what I know now sooner.
One of the simple rules of thumb is to be mindful of sugar and to try to stay under 10g per serving of whatever I was having. Sounds easy, right? EVERYTHING has sugar! And not just some sugar- tons of sugar. Although this is now how I prefer to eat, it was extremely hard to navigate at first. I now feel so much better overall and I don’t get those high-energy/ high-crash spikes anymore. I challenge all of you to try it.
Processed sugar= high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, starch syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, sorbitol, and 56 others names.
To much of my surprise:
Per Serving (which, by the way, who follows that?):
Chobani Flip PB&J- 20g
Chobani Black Cherry- 16g
Honest Green Tea- 19g
Pure Leaf Tea Sweetened- 42g
Nature Valley Oats & Honey Protein Granola- 12g
Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness Smoothie- 26g
QuakerOats Instant Oatmeal Packet Maple Brown Sugar- 12g
4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon
Starbucks lovers read no further….
In a Grande:
Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade (yum!)- 31g
Starbucks Iced Coffee Sweetened- 20g
Starbucks bottled Iced Coffee + Milk- 21g
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato- 32g
Starbucks Flat White- 17g
Starbucks Skinny Mocha- 17g
Starbucks Vanilla Latte- 35g
Starbucks Strawberry Granola Parfait- 20g
Chobani Plain- 4g
Nature Valley Protein Bar Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate- 6g
Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened- 0g
Starbucks coffee unsweetened- 0g
LaraBar Cashew Cookie- 18g*
(Okay, I know this list is much shortened than the giant list of bad things, but practice checking for yourself and seeking more of these options).
*Larabars, are made from dates and cashews, so this high dose of sugar comes from a naturally sweet fruit, which is different than refined sugar.
Note: Don’t substitute sugar for “sugar-free” foods (spoiler alert: it’s chemicals).
Why shouldn’t you eat sugar?
- Sugar intake can affect immunity against infectious diseases.
- Sugar is strongly linked to diabetes and obesity.
- Sugar causes intense swings in blood sugar and hunger, but also in moods as well, sometimes causing depression.
- Sugar is an empty calorie, meaning it has absolutely no nutritional value.
That may be the world’s shortest list of the negative effects of sugar. But the list of benefits in a low-sugar lifestyle is also endless. Check out 10 of them from MyFitnessPal: The Surprising Benefits of Cutting Back on Sugar.
In many ways, sugar is like a drug. It’s easily addicting, gets into your bloodstream quickly, and it is very hard to avoid. The American Heart Association recommends women eat no more than 24g of process sugar per day (what? That’s like one drink at Starbucks). For men it’s 36g.
In today’s world (jk, just America) it’s very hard to avoid sugar completely. But, it only takes about 3 days for your body to lose its “addiction” to sugar. Could you go 3 days with no processed sugar? It’s time to be mindful of what you’re putting in your body.