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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Take the Sugar Challenge

A lot of experts are talking about the health hazards of eating too much added sugar.  And Americans love their sugar.  Who doesn’t love sweets and desserts?  However, added sugar is now in more and more processed foods and it is getting harder and harder to avoid added sugar.  A recent newsletter from Kaiser Permanente challenges their customers to take the 2 week Sugar Challenge.  Why?
  1. Most Americans eat a lot of added sugar every day, about 26.5 teaspoons for ladies and 33.75 teaspoons for guys.  That is a lot of sugar.
  2. How much added sugar is recommended?   The American Heart Association recommends we limit our added sugars to: 
  • Women   6 teaspoons a day
  • Men   9 teaspoons a day
Cut out added sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks.   Why?  Believe it or not, this will actually help you reset your desire for sugary sweets.  Foods will taste sweeter and you will have less of a craving for sweets.  The Kaiser 2 week sugar challenge: 
  1. Don’t add sugar or artificial sweeteners to your food or drink.
  2. Avoid teas, sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks with added sugar or those that are artificially sweetened.  (Replace with mineral water, unsweetened teas, or add lemon, mint to ice water.) 
  3.  Cut out added sugar foods such as cookies, cake, candy, yogurt, soy or almond milk, breakfast cereals (with added sugar), specialty coffees (avoid those syrups). 
  4. Read food labels – aim for those foods with 5 grams or less of added sugar. 

It is OK to continue to eat yogurt without added sugar, cereals such as oatmeal without added sugar, fresh fruit, milk.
Sugar = sucrose (white table sugar), honey, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, agave, evaporated can juice, coconut palm sugar, dextrose, barley malt, cane sugar, grape sugar, turbinado sugar, raw sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, brown rice syrup, date sugar.  

Even if you can’t give up all added sugars, can you cut back?  Can breakfast or lunch be added sugar free?  Take the sugar challenge and note how much sugar is being added to the foods you eat each day.
Sources:  Hooked on Sweets:  Take the sugar and artificial sweetener challenge,   Image source: 

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