Nutrition label for granola bars

Less Sugar

I’m going to suggest something lifesaving and FREE. It’s really very thrifty. LOWER YOUR SUGAR INTAKE. Overconsumption of sugar is linked to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and fatty liver disease to name a few. Just think of the hospital bills you’ll avoid by cutting back on sugar! Cha-ching! Inspirational reading: Time Magazine: Sugar is definitely toxic.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume < 6 teaspoons/24 grams and men consume < 9 teaspoons/36 grams daily.

So just to put things in perspective—one 12 oz soda is about 9 teaspoons/36 grams. OMG! Your average American adult now consumes 22 teaspoons and average kid consumes 32 teaspoons A DAY!

Cutting back seems simple enough—stop drinking soda (even diet soda) and other high-sugar drinks including sports drinks and fruit juice. Regular sodas account for roughly 33% of sugar consumption.Then skip dessert. That should knock off about half of those teaspoons. Take a look at this illuminating sugar infographic.

However, after you’ve quit the obvious offenders, you’ll probably need to go a bit further. Processed foods—everything from bread to pasta sauce to salad dressing—has added sugar! Because these foods are so convenient, most of us eat lots of them and it all adds up!

Here’s what I found in my relatively healthy kitchen:
V8 Fusion 100% juice pomegranate/blueberry 5.5 t/22 g per serving
Signature Kitchens granola bar 2.5 t/10 g per serving
Classico Four Cheese pasta sauce 1.75 t/7 g per serving
Annie’s macaroni & cheese 1.25 t/5 g per serving
Essential Everyday ketchup 1 t/4 g per serving
Trader Joe’s peanut butter .5 t/2 g per serving
Trader Joe’s wasabi almonds .5 t/2 g per serving

If I ate one serving of these things, I’d be over 12 teaspoons/48 grams! Ouch! And, I’d still be pretty hungry. These servings are small and ketchup isn’t that filling!

Need more inspiration? This awesome documentary Sugar Coated is available on Netflix streaming. Watch the trailer

Here are some more good articles:
Time Magazine: Sugar is definitely toxic
Bad news, diet soda drinkers
Harvard Medical School: Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease
The Sugar to Fiber Dietary Ratio

Notes:
1. 1 teaspoon = 4 grams of sugar.

2. Sugary drinks are absorbed into your blood stream faster than sugary foods. This causes a spike in blood sugar … bad. So, it’s better for your system to eat whole fruit than drink fruit juice.

3. It’s not just that sugar is empty calories, crowding out more nutritious food. In a recent study, “Regardless of their Healthy Eating Index scores, people who ate more sugar still had higher cardiovascular mortality,” says Dr. Teresa Fung, adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

4. A bowl of plain fruit makes an excellent dessert. If you’re trying to curb a soda habit, Dr. Fung suggests mixing a little fruit juice with seltzer water as a replacement.

5. Don’t know what to do with the sugar in your house? Don’t eat it, make your own sugar scrub!

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