How much sugar is too much?
It is recommended that adults not consume more than 10% of calories from sugar. In a 2,000 calorie diet, that is equal to 13.3 teaspoons. However, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, that’s 6 cups per week!
But, what about the children?
It’s recommended that children ages 2-18 not consume more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, the average American child consumes 19 teaspoons per day and 144 teaspoons on Halloween.
Why does it all matter to me?
While enjoying sweet treats in moderation can be part of a healthy diet, overeating sugary foods can lead to an array of health risks. Learning to have a healthy relationship with sugary foods is key to maintaining healthy nutrition.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic substitutes but could be derived from natural products such as herbs. At this time the FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners (saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose) and one natural low-calorie sweetener (stevia).
While artificial sugars can be appealing for their high sugar taste and low calories, it’s important to remember nothing comes for free.
Artificial sweeteners are considered super sweeteners because they are sweeter than sugar and can change tastebuds to require higher levels of sweetness.
Many avid artificial sweetener users will find they make up for the low calories else where. For example, “I drank a diet coke so it’s ok to have the extra cookie.”
Studies show that consuming artificial sweeteners can lead to an increase craving of sweets and cause consumers to choose sweet foods over nutritious foods.
While more long-term studies on artificial sweeteners need to be completed, preliminary results do show that those who consume large amounts of artificial sweeteners are at higher risk for obesity and diabetes.
While artificial sweeteners need to be consumed in moderation they can still be part of a healthy diet when consumed responsibly.
SUGAR’S IMPACT ON
Overeating high-sugar foods can lead to many health risks that impact many areas of the body. Some health issues you may already have could be made worse by diets high in sugar. Below are common health risks that can be impacted by sugar.
Signs of Aging
Don’t eat the cookie…It’s been a hard day, eat the cookie. Don’t eat the cookie…It’s just one cookie. Who hasn’t had this circle run thought their head?
Managing sugar in your diet can be very difficult but often times eliminating sugar can cause more cravings and binges. Instead of trying to cut out sweet treats, this time try focusing on moderation. Here are a few ways to get started.
Know which sweet treat actually curbs your craving and go with that one.
Learn what a satisfying portion size is for you.
Ask, “was this bite as good as the last?” When the answer is no, stop eating.
Try having designated treat days or times.
Practice stress management techniques to better control stress eating.
Find new hobbies to prevent eating when you are bored.
Prepare sweets in smaller batches and purchase smaller amounts.
Encourage other family members to create healthy sweet-treat behaviors (including kiddos).
Resources & Tools
“Kindness is like sugar, it makes life taste a little sweeter.“
~ Author unkown