Sugar, Sugar Everywhere!
- Tuesday, 25 August 2009
When I was a young girl, I can remember there being only one kid in my elementary school who was overweight. Truthfully, he was obese. Even after all these years, I can still remember his face. In the years since, I have often thought of him and wondered if he ever shed those extra pounds or if he in fact grew up to be an obese adult.
Statistics tell us obese children often grow up to become obese adults, and even adults who overcome their childhood obesity can face a lifetime of fighting their food demons.
The Centers for Disease Control says 16% of US children are classified as obese, and that more than 72 million adults are also fighting obesity, according to its February 2009 report on obesity.
How did we go from having one overweight child in an entire school to a staggering 1 in 6 children obese children on the playground in less than a generation?
The over abundance of sugar in our diet is one of the worst culprits. Sugar that cannot be used up by the body as energy turns into fat – hence the obesity. Here are some numbers to consider.
A 16oz Coca-Cola™ has 10 teaspoons of sugar (40g)
A 16oz Starbucks™ Caramel Frappuccino has 12 teaspoons of sugar (48g)
A McDonald’s™ Big Mac™ has just over 3 teaspoons of sugar (13g)
A McDonald’s™ Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad has over 6 teaspoons of sugar (25g)
A Burger King™ Whopper™ with Cheese has just over 3 teaspoons of sugar (13g)
1 cup of Catsup (Ketchup) has 16 teaspoons of sugar (48g)
1 Slice of Domino’s™ 14” Cheese Pizza has 1 teaspoon of sugar (4g)
Denny’s™ “Slam Dribbler’s” from the Kid’s Menu has over 10 teaspoons of sugar (41g)
1 Classic Cinnabon™ roll has almost 14 teaspoons of sugar (55g)
1 cup of Baskin-Robbins™ Chocolate Ice Cream has 15½ teaspoons of sugar (62g)
A 12 oz Slurpee™ has 12 teaspoons of sugar (48g).
It is absolutely vital that we try to reign in this over consumption. Food manufacturers know that sugar sells so I encourage you to start reading nutrition labels. Sugar is listed under Carbohydrates on the nutrition label and 4 grams (g) of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. Also read the ingredient lists carefully and try to choose products that only use sugars from the “Good Sugars” list below or, better yet, none at all.
|Better Sugars||Sugars to Avoid|
|Brown Sugar||Corn sweeteners|
|Evaporated Cane Juice||Corn syrup|
|Fruit juice concentrate||Dextrin|
|Raw sugar||High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)|
|Turbinado sugar||Invert Sugar|
Food labeling can be very deceptive. The serving size is often smaller than you think and may only represent a small portion of the package. Even if a product has a food label that states “low sugar”, flip over the package and check to see the actual serving size to know what you are really getting.
Here are a few terms defined:
|Calorie Free||less than 5 calories per serving|
|Sugar Free||less than 0.5 grams sugars per serving|
|Reduced or less sugar||25% less sugar per serving as compared to the standard serving size of the traditional food|
|No added sugars/no sugar||no sugars added during processing or packing including ingredients that contain sugar such as juice or dried fruit|
Adding fresh, whole foods from nature to your diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and eliminating processed, refined and “fast” foods from you diet automatically reduces your intake of sugar.