Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Too much sugar

I remember when I was in my adolescence when the whole "fat is evil" campaign started. Eggs became evil too because of cholesterol. So, we Americans stopped eating so much fat, especially saturated fats and eggs. I remember the big deal when McDonald's switched from lard to vegetable oils for making french fries, supposedly making them healthier. I remember people not using butter any more to opt for the healthier margarine. And I remember the craze of eliminating eggs, especially the yolks.

Fast forward 30 years and things are changing. Some of those "healthier" fats weren't so healthy. Butter is seen as healthier than margarine (I switched back to butter back in 1995 or so feeling the chemicals in margarine were worse than the saturated fats in butter. I believe, whenever possible, natural is better). My nurse midwife told me to start eating more eggs when I was pregnant, including the yolk because so many trace elements are in the yolks. She recommended at least one a day! Now eggs are seen (again) as a great food - very dense in protein and nutrients and filling with relatively few calories.

And, with all that fat ridding craze, what really happened is that sugars (and salts) were added to foods to make them taste yummier as fat gave a lot of flavor to foods. (alfredo sauce anyone?). Processed foods tasted too bland without the fats. So, yogurts became sweeter. Lower in fat, but the same number of calories because it was loaded with more sugar. And sugar started to be added in places you wouldn't even think to look for sugar. Packaged meals enticed you back with your sweet tooth.

And then, of course, health foods became all the rage. We needed more whole grains.. So, we started eating more whole grains, but again, because we were shying away from fats, we used sugars to make them taste better. Granola. Oh, sweet granola. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granola Good for you, right? Add some granola to your yogurt. Eat it as cereal, as a nutrition bar. Yes, there is some good stuff in granola, but man is it sugary! A Kashi granola bar has 8 grams of sugar. A half cup of Quaker Oats Natural granola oats and honey has 14 grams of sugar (and who eats just a half cup of cereal?)

How much is too much sugar?  I heard this upon waking up this morning: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/02/06/146481752/taxes-and-food-stamp-restrictions-proposed-to-tame-americas-sweet-tooth (the Morning Edition piece is at the top of the page, but this blog post talks about the radio segment if you don't want to hear it).

Women should get no more than 30 grams of refined/added sugars to their diet every day. That is about 6 teaspoons. (Fruits sugars are excluded). So, if a woman eats a half cup of granola for breakfast, she has already eaten nearly half of her allotment of refined sugar for the day. Want a coke for lunch? Just a 12 ounce can (which is 1.5 servings, by the way)  That is 39 grams of sugar. OK, so no 'real' Coke. Maybe a McDonald's Sweet Tea? That is 69 grams of sugar.

Ok, so you don't drink your calories (good for you, that is a huge problem), but you have one serving of cookies every day - either two Nutter Butters (8 grams of sugar) or 2 regular Oreos (8 grams sugar). Oh, after dinner, you just have to have a scoop of ice cream.  Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is 20 grams of sugar (that is half a cup people... How many of you eat just half a cup??? There are 4 servings per little container... be honest, does it last for four servings?) Breyer's Cookies and Cream is 16 grams of sugar for half a cup.

And of course, that is not counting the jam on your toast, the sweetened fruit yogurt at lunch or the sweetened peanut butter we use nearly every day. A Greek yogurt, pre-sweetened is 19 grams of sugar (you know, that full of protein, healthy Greek Yogurt?). Oh, and that fruit juice drink that is 100% juice, sweetened by fruit juice. What a marketing ploy! Fruit juice is grape juice used to sweeten your cranberry juice and it's refined sugar - just refined from the grapes, not corn syrup or sugar cane. A cup of that (a cup people, not a tall 16 ounce glass) is 30 grams of refined sugar.

That peanut butter you spread on your kid's toast every morning. You know, the stuff they love, not the healthy peanut butter, has 2 grams of added sugar per tablespoon (so like what you would put on normally on a single slice of bread). Nutella? 11 grams of sugar per tablespoon.  No wonder why it tastes so good!

We eat a lot of sugar. A lot of it. And we are eating it on top of an already calorie dense diet. We are not a starving nation for the most part. And those refined sugars get converted really quickly in our bodies and it's killing us. It's creating fatty liver disease, making us obese, giving us heart disease and creating a type 2 diabetic epidemic.

The worst part about sugar (and especially paired with a low fat diet)? It makes you hungrier! I'm convinced it's the trigger for most binge eating and is responsible for most out of control eating.  Read this: (and if you have time, watch the imbedded video about sugar addiction and the evils of sugar:) http://howtothinkthin.com/. This is the same man giving a lecture that is in the blog above. I strongly encourage you to listen. It's eye opening. And said so much better what I am trying to say here.

Why do I feel so strongly about it? Because I was/am addicted to sugar. It was destroying my health. I needed endless sugar highs to function.

I got the wake up call to change everything. And the first thing I gave up was sugar. And I gave it up only because I had sugar issues. I didn't give it up when I was losing weight a decade ago and I still had binge eating issues back then. Now I do not and I'm convinced it's the sugar.

Even when I'm done with this weight loss journey, and even though my blood sugars are perfect, I'm keeping my refined sugars low.

I'll be curious to see the follow-up studies to this. He's onto something and anyone who has given up sugar and realizes how much better they feel without it, will believe he's onto something too.

Me? With fruit I eat about 40-50 grams of sugar a day on average. In refined sugars I eat about 10 grams of refined sugar a day (at most).  And I will continue this way forever!

Stats for 2/7/12:

Highest Weight: 275  Now: 175.2 (yep, ovulation is over and scale is going down - phew!)

1 comment:

  1. Is there a yogurt you prefer?

    I found your blog by checking the sugar content of the yogurt I was eating!