This week for our Summer Shape Up 28 Day Nutrition Challenge we have been focusing on sugar and sweets. Anybody else out there have a sweet tooth? It can be shocking to learn how many foods we consume are laden with sugar, even the so called healthy alternatives out there.
So here is the deal, sugar gives you calories which converts to energy but it has no nutritional value at all. These empty calories are not only robbing you of nutrition, they are highly addictive and can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, obesity,diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and cavities.
It’s estimated Canadians eat an average of 110 grams of sugar per day. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends limiting daily sugar intake to less than 10% total calories; 24 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet. One can of pop contains 39 grams of sugar! Do you have any idea how much added sugar is in your diet? Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to sugar, it effects you even when you don’t know it’s there.
The tricky part is companies do a really good job of hiding the fact there is sugar in their products. They know sugar tickles your tastebuds and even releases a little spark of happiness in the brain that keeps you coming back for more. I encourage you to take the One Day Sugar Challenge to see how you measure up.
As you read labels and track your food for a day, you may be surprised to learn some of the ingredients are actually filled with added sugars. Keep your eyes open as sugar comes in many forms and names:
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- maple syrup
- corn syrup glucose
- agave syrup
Some of the biggest offenders are things like breakfast cereals, protein bars, granola bars, coffee creamers, flavoured yogurts, or your favourite coffee shop latte. Also keep in mind that there are naturally occurring sugars in vegetables, fruit and milk which are better than added sugars as these do have nutritional value.
Begin reading those labels to find out how much added sugar you consume in a day. Remember you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Maybe you are a rock star when it comes to avoiding added sugars, or maybe it is time to make adjustments. There are healthy options out there which I will talk about next week.