Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sugar: Is it killing us?

[Source: Uwe Hermann]

I came across an interesting blog post this week: Sugar: It's Killing Us and Our Children. The post outlines how we are feeding our children (and ourselves) too much sugar, and cites that each American consumes 152 POUNDS of sugar a year.

One thing that surprised me is how much sugar is in ketchup - 10 g!! I know some of that is naturally occurring, but still that seems like a lot. For comparison, there are 10.5 grams of sugar in a Reese's peanut butter cup.

The article also mentions Gatorade. How after a 1 mile run your child does not need a bottle of Gatorade. So true! I very rarely drink sports drinks even after long runs. Usually I opt for a banana after my long runs. According to Calorie Count, there are 42 grams of sugar in 12 ounces of Gatorade. And don't think that the sugar free version is any better. You're only trading sugar for chemicals!

[Source: Saxarocks]

While I was looking into Gatorade, I took a look at a popular water "supplement" - Vitamin Water. A bottle (20 ounces) of this stuff will run you 32 grams of sugar! That's about 8 teaspoons of sugar just in one drink. They have no real nutrition sustenance and if we are eating properly in the first place we don't need the "vitamins" these sugary drinks offer.

If you are tired of plain water and need "flavor" opt for water with lemon or a flavored, caffeine free brewed tea.

Admittedly, I am a complete sugar addict and I've recently realized how much eating sugar just makes you crave more sugar. I will never "cut sugar out completely," but I can make conscious choices to consume more natural sugar rather than the refined stuff. By limiting it in my coffee and tea, and making choices of moderation. Also, cutting artificial sweeteners when possible (diet coke *cough*cough*) because I feel the "fake" forms of sugar are just as bad - just in a different way.

By adding more vegetables into my diet, I can naturally reduce the amount of sugar I consume in whole grains. I will always eat 2-3 servings of fruit a day because I love bananas, apples, and berries. And I will never cut out whole grains completely. But if I make sure I have something green on my plate at every meal, I can also ensure I am getting 3-5 servings of veggies too. I seriously can't wait until the Farmer's Market at work opens the 1st week of May.

Posts like the one above make me scared for the future of my nieces. "Treats" are given to my 4 year old niece regularly by everyone in her life. It's hard for me to comment on this because I am not a parent. I can't say "what I will do when I have kids" because it is too easy to say what you will or will not do when you aren't already in that situation. But I hope that I can share my love of "healthy" food with my niece every time I share a meal with her.

I know there are a lot of other conversations going on out there about sugar - 60 minutes recently did a piece and the video linked in the post above are two things I'm planning on watching this weekend.

For me, the next step in this journey is being more conscious about what I am fueling my body with and it's topics like these that will help me establish the best guidelines for myself to ensure I am treating my body with the best respect possible.


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