Sugar is so sweet. OR IS IT?! I invite you to stop at the market today and pick up 170 pounds of sugar. So that would be THIRTY-FOUR five-pound bags of sugar. If you are an average American, you are now all stocked up for the year, because that’s our annual average sugar intake. And remember, if you’re shopping for your family of four, you need to pick up 680 pounds, or 136 five-pound bags. Phew! Guess you’ll be shopping in with your semi-trailer tonight.
How can those numbers be real? First, most people are unaware of the myriad of places that sugar hides in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Second, for every American that only eats 5 pounds of sugar a year, there is also one who eats 295 pounds a year.
This sweetly deceptive food additive is MASSIVELY eroding our health, and contributing heavily to a widespread epidemic of chronic disease—heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and ADD/ADHD, to name a few. If our kids cut their sugar intake in half and took in 500 mg of omega-3 fats each day, their behavior, cognition, concentration, and health would increase significantly.
Two Guideposts to Limit Sugar Intake
How much sugar is okay? And, when a food label lists 28 grams of sugar, what does that mean? What the heck does a gram look like? Let’s get wise about two easy-to-use guideposts that can help you limit your sugar intake:
- The average woman should take in no more than 8 teaspoons of sugar per day and the average man, no more than 9. A safe limit for kids is 4-5 teaspoons per day.
- Next, let’s turn “grams” into something more instructive. Four grams equal about one teaspoon of sugar. So, take the number of grams listed on the package, divide by 4, and that’s the number of teaspoons. For example, if a label cites 28 grams of sugar per serving, divide by 4 to uncover that that item contains 7 teaspoons of sugar PER SERVING. If there are 2.5 servings in the bottle (beverage), now your answer is about 18 teaspoons in the bottle. So 7-year-old Billy just took in 4 times what a safe limit is for the day, in ONE BEVERAGE. Learning how to do this math, and using it every time you buy something becomes quite instructive over time.
The vast majority of my clients and students make health-promoting changes to their food choices, simply by using those two guideposts. If nothing else, they’ll simply help you become more aware of what you’re eating. And awareness is truly sweet, as opposed to deceptively sweet. 😉
The trouble is, even WITH sweet awareness, sugar is actually chemically addictive—with about the same intensity of cocaine. Yeesh! If you’re interested in understanding why, check out this great TedX video.
The food you eat builds your body, every day, for better or for worse. Make choices for health!
Love & health,