Curbing America's Sweet Tooth
Recently the American Heart Association issued a new scientific statement on "Dietary Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Health". The worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease was cited as the basis for its heightened concerns.
Here are recommendations:
Who can afford the roughly 400 calories' worth of added sugars that the typical American consumes? "No adults can afford the extra calories, except those who are extremely physically active-we're talking about the Michael Phelpses of the world", says Linda Van Horn, professor of preventative medicine at the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago.
shoot for 100 calories (6 ½ teaspoons, or 25 grams) a day of added sugars.
shoot for 150 calories (9 ½ teaspoons, or 38 grams) a day of added sugars.
(under 120 lbs) shoot for 50 calories (4 teaspoons, or 12 grams) a day of added sugars.
This means….don't drink sugar-sweetened beverages and limit fruit juices to no more than one cup daily. Limit ALL added sugars. High fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, fructose, (this doesn't mean eliminate fruit), honey, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, glucose, powdered sugar are all considered added sugar.
What the science is telling us:
Sugar sweetened beverages promote obesity.
Soft drinks are the #1 source of added sugars in American's diets. See the list below. These beverages don't curb our appetite for more food like the equivalent number of calories from solid food. They literally trick our brain. Consequently we continue eating until we have overeaten.
Sugar sweetened drinks raise the risk of heart disease.
Certainly the excess weight we add from this type of food is not good for our heart, but we now know that sugar increases triglycerides in our blood. These are fats, similar to cholesterol, that accumulate in blood vessels and contribute to heart disease.
Fructose may boost visceral fat.
Fructose reduces insulin sensitivity. This means more fat deposits deep in our abdomen. This type of deposition leads to diabetes and heart disease.
Fructose may raise the risk of gout.
If the blood has too much uric acid, the excess ends up in our joints, especially those of the big toe. This can cause a painful inflammation called gout.
Teaspoons of Added Sugar in Popular Foods
These numbers don't include the naturally occurring sugars in milk and fruit because these sugars have nutritional value. The caution only exists for added sugars. To convert teaspoons (tsps) to grams of sugar from the table below or on a food label, multiply by 4. To convert teaspoons to calories from sugar, multiply by 16. (1 teaspoon is 4 grams.)
|Yogurt, plain (6 oz)||0 tsps|
|Ice Cream (1/2 cup or 1 scoop)||3 tsps|
|Chocolate milk (1 cup)||3.5 tsps|
|Silk chocolate soy milk (1 cup)||5 tsps|
|Yogurt, low fat vanilla (6 oz)||3.5 tsps|
|Yogurt, low fat fruit (6 oz)||4.5 tsps|
|Fast Food Shake (16 oz)||13 tsps|
|Fast Food Blizzard (14.5 oz)||26 tsps|
|Propel (24 floozy)||1.5 tsps|
|Starbucks Café Mocha (grande)||3 tsps|
|Starbucks Caramel Macchiato (grande)||4 tsps|
|Starbucks Vanilla Latte (grande)||4 tsps|
|Starbucks Tazo Shaken Iced Tea (grande)||5 tsps|
|SunnyD or Hawaiian Punch (1 cup)||5 tsps|
|Gatorade (2o fl.oz)||8.5 tsps|
|Glaceau Vitamin Water Revive (20 fl.oz)||8.5 tsps|
|Starbucks Tazo Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade (grande)||8.5 tsps|
|Coca Cola, Sprite, Pepsi, etc. (12 fl.oz can)||10 tsps|
|Snapple Teas (16 fl.oz bottle)||10.5 tsps|
|Nestea Sweetened Teas (16 fl.oz bottle)||12 tsps|
|Tonic water (20 fl.oz)||14 tsps|
|SoBe Green Teas (20 fl.oz)||15.5 tsps|
|Coca Cola, Sprite, Pepsi, etc. (20 fl.oz voltee)||16 tsps|
|Arizona Sweet Teas (23 fl.oz bottle)||16.5 tsps|
|Minute Maid Lemonade (20 fl.oz bottle)||17 tsps|
|Sunkist Orange Soda (20 fl.oz bottle)||21 tsps|
|Candy and Syrup|
|Werther's Hard Candies (3 pieces)||2.5 tsps|
|Dove Chocolate Promises (5 pieces)||5 tsps|
|Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar (1.6 oz)||5.5 tsps|
|York Peppermint Patties (1 large)||6.5 tsps|
|Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (35 pieces)||7 tsps|
|M&M's Milk Chocolate (56 pieces)||8 pieces|
|Maple Syrup (1/4 cup)||12 tsps|
|Cereals and Cereal Bars|
|Kashi TLC Trail Mix Granola Bar (1 bar)||1.5 tsps|
|Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal (3/4 cup)||2.5 tsps|
|Honey Nut Cheerios (3/4 cup)||2.5 tsps|
|Frosted Mini Wheats (24 biscuits)||3 tsps|
|Fruit Loops (3/4 cup)||4.5 tsps|
|Kashi Go Lean Crunch (1 cup)||3.5 tsps|
|Kashi Go Lean Cookies 'Cream Chewy Bar (1 bar)||9 tsps|
|Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies (3 cookies)||3 tsps|
|Oreos ((3 cookies)||3.5 tsps|
|Jell-O (1 snack cup)||4.5 tsps|
|Krispy Kreme Chocolate Donut (1 doughnut)||7 tsps|
|Starbucks Marble Loaf (1 slice)||8 tsps|
|Panera Chocolate Chipper Cookie (1 cookie)||8.5 tsps|
|Hostess Twinkies (2 cakes)||9 tsps|
|Panera Pumpkin Muffin (1- 6oz muffin)||12 tsps|
|Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll (1- 7.8 oz)||14 tsps|
To stick to the American Heart Association's recommendations we need to be discriminating. We can enjoy some sweet foods as part of a healthy diet. However, use these discretionary calories wisely and try to pick foods with added sugars that actually provide nutrients along with the added sugar. Examples would be choosing a high fiber cereal that is lightly frosted, a flavored yogurt with added sugar, or even adding maple syrup on top of a bowl of oatmeal instead of drinking that added sugar in an empty calorie soft drink.
Try these ideas instead of sweetened beverages: top water or club soda off with an inch of fruit juice for flavor, flavored waters, crystal light, diet drinks, unsweetened coffee and tea, G2, or Propel.
Lastly, consider drinking smaller servings of the sweetened drinks when you do indulge.