This week, the U.S. Government released updated dietary guidelines just in time for dieters to amend their New Year’s resolutions. Some critics have stated that the guidelines are influenced by big farming and the food industry, and don’t go far enough in suggesting limits on meat, dairy and eggs. That’s probably true. However, it is very encouraging to see that these new guidelines are finally addressing the sugar issue. I think they are headed in the right direction.
The new guidelines suggest limiting added sugar to 10% of your calorie intake (the old guidelines was 25%). For the average 2000 calorie diet, that’s about 50 grams or 10-12 teaspoons of sugar. That may sound like a lot, but drink just one 12-ounce can of soda (about 40 grams of sugar), and you’re pretty much done. So don’t even think about ordering the big gulp!
And don’t be fooled into thinking you are in the clear if you are not drinking soda or adding sugar to your coffee, tea, or morning cereal. Certainly you should limit sugar you are adding by the teaspoon, but also consider the sugar that is already in the food you are eating. You may be surprised that an 8 ounce glass of your morning OJ contains 20+ grams of sugar. Most store-bought salad dressings, spaghetti sauces, sports drinks, and other processed foods contain more added sugar than you might think. The best advice I can give is - Read the labels!
Why is it important? High consumption of sugar has been linked to a myriad of health problems, including bloating, fatigue, arthritis, migraines, obesity, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease. The government’s report states that about half of all American adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns, including too much sugar.
A word of caution about substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar – uh - Please DON'T. Too much sugar isn’t good for you, but no amount of artificial, processed chemical crap is good for you either. But, that’s a subject for another day.
There are many components to a healthy diet. Reducing sugar is just one way to increase your odds of living a longer and healthier life.
Remember - the sweet life doesn’t include added sugar!