DAY # 24
WHERE IS SUGAR LOCATED?
I want to first say that sugar is NOT poison. If that were true, we’d all be dead!
There is a lot of fear around sugar and while I agree that it’s not something that the body necessarily needs on a daily basis to function optimally, there is a place in the diet for it IF you enjoy eating it.
Being mindful of sugar is part of the Gentle Nutrition approach with Intuitive Eating. This is not an anti-sugar or hate on sugar day. It’s a “let’s be mindful of where it is located” day. So while research indicates that sugar is implicated in just about every disease process from diabetes, obesity and cancer and inflammation, it’s not a bad idea to be increase your awareness of how much you do eat if optimal health is your goal. Remember, this is not to cause food fear, just to increase your awareness so that you can make informed decisions based on how food makes you FEEL.
Today I will pay attention to where added sugar is located in my food.
Every bottle, box, can, and container of food you consume today, please review the Nutrition Facts label and see how much sugar is in a serving (also check the serving sizes). Women are recommended to have no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day (24 grams total of added sugar) and men no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day (36 grams total of added sugar).
Don’t sweat the naturally occurring sugars in fruit, plain-flavored dairy, and vegetables (like sweet potatoes). Just for reference a Blueberry Yoplait yogurt is 18 grams of sugar (some of this is natural occurring sugars from dairy btw) and a can of coke is 39 grams of pure sugar, nothing “natural” about it. The coke is over the recommended amount of added sugar for both women and men.
Continue to or get into the habit of reading labels and see if you can spot an ingredient that is sugar without saying it’s sugar. The new labeling laws should assist with understanding how much added sugars are in the item you are about to consume, but it’s also added in things you might not realize like salad dressings, ketchup, tomato sauce, cereals and granola, flavored yogurts, frozen foods (including pizza).
This challenge is to help you become more aware of how much sugar you may unknowingly be consuming and can prevent you getting the health results you deserve. PS: this will be difficult if you dine out….but you can see if the nutrition information is listed on MyFitnessPal.
And for those of you who don’t eat much sugar or processed foods (anything in a can, bottle, box, jar, container) and feel this won’t be much of a challenge, you can always revisit a day or mindful eating skill that you struggled with. Make it worth your time and energy today but for the rest of us let’s get a better understanding on our sugar intake!
PS: to understand total carbohydrates of a serving size I will use my Q’ia cereal box. Take total carbohydrate (ie: 39 grams) and subtract the total dietary fiber (ie: 9 grams) leaving you with 30 grams of carbs per serving. Since the added sugars = 6 grams this means that 6 grams of the 39 grams (or 30 minus the fiber) are from sugar. Women are recommended to have no more than 24 grams of added sugar, so you essentially have 18 grams to play with for the rest of the day.
There will be days where you will eat MORE and days where you will barely eat any added sugar. In the end, you just want to pay attention to where all the added sugar is and if you struggle with diabetes or quick/easy weight gain, this is the first place I investigate…where is the added sugar located in your food.
Of the 600,00 food products sold in the U.S. 80% have added sugar. This is not to cause food fear or indicate that you should cut sugar out of your diet, it’s just to increase your awareness of what foods contain added sugar so you can find your sweet spot!