Do YOU Know Where Sugar is Truly Hiding?
By Barb Marco
Sugar – that sweet white stuff that makes food taste so good and makes our taste buds tingle with happiness.. yep, unfortunately that irresistible sweetness is actually KILLING us!
Pure, real sugar, found in many natural foods (like fruit), is not the enemy though. The true enemies are the refined sugars and the MASSIVE doses that we are ingesting every day.
Sugar consumption has been on the rise continually since the 1900’s, but in the last 30 – 40 years or so, it’s gone up exponentially. Why, you ask? Because food manufacturing is putting it in just about everything and changing the names.
I hear it all the time, “ I don’t eat a lot of sugar”, or “I don’t drink soda” but the other places it’s lurking may shock you.
1. Your “healthy” store-bought green juice? Yep, I know you are shaking your head, but unless you are juicing with your own hands and keeping the fruit to a minimum, you are getting an abundance of sugar. Yes, they are natural, but quantity is still an important fact. I know a TON of people who love Jamba Juice and Smoothie King so I pulled the info (right off the website) to show you what I am talking about!
Smoothie King’s “Slim Blend Mango-Fest” contains 51 grams of sugar and “Strawberry Extreme” has 76 grams. That is almost 20 teaspoons! Jamba Juice’s “Healthy Green Smoothie” has 28 grams in the small and their “Kale-Orange Power” has 33 grams!
And what about that Grande Mochachino with no whip from Starbucks? Many of those drinks are also loaded with sugars.
Here’s the deal…
Sugar is sugar, no matter the source. Even the FDA, JAMA and CDC agree that quantity matters, quite a bit!
Maximum daily intake recommendations:
Men = 9 tsp (36 grams)
Women = 6 tsp (24 grams)
Rule of thumb: 1 tsp = 4 grams. Most servings sizes on packaged food offer more than just one in a box, bag or bar, which is often where people get confused.
2. Another sneaky place is the condiment aisle. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings… Oh, and even peanut butter! I can see the look on your face, “I only use a little bit of ketchup/salad dressing…” I am going to show you that even a little has a lot of sugar.
3. Let’s look at barbecue sauce. We slather it on in the kitchen and maybe again on the grill. A serving size is typically 2 Tablespoons and, based on the average, there are 3 teaspoons in most commercial sauces. 3 teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon, so HALF of your sauce is sugar.
4. Let’s talk about the snack foods. Many of us grab some kind of bar, or give them to our kids for a quick snack-on-the-go. Those little guys are loaded with sugar and usually in different forms. Maybe it’s sugar, maybe it’s corn syrup, or maybe it’s barley malt syrup. The most important thing for you to do as a consumer, is KNOW THE INGREDIENTS and pay attention to the labels.
Here is the average sugar content from some popular bars:
- Clif – these bars average 20-24 grams, depending on your flavor.
- Nature Valley Trail Mix – 15 grams.
- Luna bars – 11-13 grams.
5. And of course, my favorite “health food”, yogurt. Yogurt is branded as a healthy option by so many, but some of those little cups have your entire days’ worth of sugar in them. Greek yogurt seems to be all the rage these days, but it still has sugar, especially if you are purchasing the flavored ones. Some of those little cups have up to 20 grams per serving!
6. Other places to keep your eyes on are packaged cereals and oatmeal. Of course the cookies, treats and beverages like soda are obvious, but how about the sports drinks, like Gatorade or Powerade? 9 teaspoons… Yep, CRAZY amounts.
So, now you are probably thinking, “okay, yep, I eat too much, big deal!” Well the Journal of American Medicine has determined that high sugar consumption leads to heart disease. Additionally, taking in too many calories from sugar can contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Sugar is also being studied for its addictive nature.
Here are 4 easy things that you can do RIGHT NOW to help you reduce sugar in your diet:
1. Understand the math: 4 grams of sugar is 1 teaspoon. So if an item has 20 grams, that is 5 teaspoons. (remember, max intake is 6 tsps – women / 9 tsps – men, or LESS per day).
2. Know your sugar: Learn and know the other names for sugars and check your labels.
3. Do your research: Look up your favorite drink at Starbucks or local smoothie/juice bar and find out where they stand.
4. Keep track: Track your sugar grams for a couple of days and it will really open your eyes. Then, make a plan to cut down or even cut those things out.
The bottom line, folks, is that all these refined sugars and copious amounts of it that we are ingesting daily, is really harmful over the long term. They are addictive and are hiding in places that are unexpected. For optimal health both today and in the future and for the future of our children, I urge you to become a sugar detective and help get control over this sweet killer.
About the Author
Barb Marco is a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Certified Health Coach with a passion for helping individuals reach their health goals while focusing on improving their overall well-being. She specializes in weight management, pre-diabetes and managing excessive stress.
Barb leads nutrition, health and wellness seminars and workshops. In addition, she offers health and nutrition coaching to individuals, groups and families. She is also a Certified Personal trainer and teaches group fitness, including Yoga, Martial Arts, and Resistance formats.
Her approach encompasses the entire scope of wellness, which goes beyond just the food we eat and the habits we hold. She supports her clients to engage and integrate a healthy lifestyle program for long term success.
Connect with Barb:
Image Credit: Today’s Abundant Living
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As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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