I often get asked about sugar. Then come the questions! How much to eat...then when I say well not much because you know sugar is hidden everywhere...blah blah blah... WELLL, what about aspartame, truvia, etc!
Sugar and artificial sweeteners is a debate that has raged for decades. This is not something that will be solved with my simple blog. But I will do my best to give you some facts so you can make your own decision.
Fact 1: Americans consume A LOT of sugar in any form- artificial or otherwise. The average American consumes 150-170 lbs of sugar a year. (that's a whole person). We are in good company along with Germany, Netherlands,Ireland, Australia, Belgium, UK, Mexico, Finland, and Canada.
You should consume between 6-9 tsp for women and men respectively per day. Ugh some of us already blew that getting a large coffee- a caramel iced coffee with cream has 9.8 tsp of sugar- whole day of sugar gone in one drink.
Fact 2: Sugar/ sugar substitute is in foods you wouldn't imagine. Salad dressings, flavored water, yogurt, ketchup, crackers, instant oatmeal. We have a taste for sugar. You may have seen research that says you can be addicted to sugar. This was from a 2012 article in the journal Nature that pointed to the fact that sugar in ANY form is harmful to the body.
The main take away for me was and has always been PORTION control. Limit your sugar intake.
Fact 3: All "sugars" have issues. Each one has pros and cons. There is no way to have a sweetener that is a freebie.
Seven are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), monk fruit extract (Nectresse), neotame, saccharin (Sweet’N Low), stevia (Truvia, Pure Via) and sucralose (Splenda). (Sidney Stevens)
The pros: low calorie or no calorie
good for diabetic or weight management
The cons: The sugars are replaced by chemicals so that could be a risk for cancers, neurological problems, and making the liver work harder to process all of this.
SOOOO....do I stick with things like honey, raw sugar, etc? Sure but you have to limit portion because these pack a lot of calories leading to weight gain. This sound familiar. You have to use it sparingly.
Fact 4: Getting off sugar is really hard! Most people do crave sweets and seeing how sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn't think of you are eating more than you think.
61 Names for Sugar (http://www.sugarscience.org/)
Barley malt syrup
Cane juice crystals
Coconut palm sugar
Corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice
Free-flowing brown sugars
Fruit juice concentrate
HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)
Find a processed food product and check it out. Chances are one of these is on of these in it. it.
Back to what to do??? I want to lose weight and get healthy. Start by really looking at how much sugar you eat.
1. Stop adding sugar to food. You probably are eating more than you think in your processed foods already.
2. Limit your portions of sugary foods.
Juice and other sweetened beverages
Bakery Items (muffins, cookies, etc)
Frozen yogurt and ice cream.
3. Make your decision to use artificial sweeteners wisely. Consider the pros and cons and your OWN health issues. For example, if you have diabetes, it may make perfect sense for you to use an artificial sweetener. But in general we can't have our cake and eat it too. You have to remember it is all about portion and control.