14 Feb Too Much Sugar?
I was stunned to learn just how much more sugar there is in processed foods compared to unprocessed, and how little is recommended for consumption. Women should have no more than 6 tsp. (24 g) per day, and men 9 tsp. (36 g) [1 teaspoon = 4 grams].
So if I make flavoured oatmeal, I get 3 1/2 tsp. (14 g) of sugar, or even more from sugary cereals, compared to 1/4 tsp. (1 g) from regular oatmeal. And if I have 1/2 a glass of orange juice, I consume another 3 tsp. (12 g).
Or what about a sweetened coffee with 1 tsp. (4 g) and a muffin with 8 tsp. (32 g)? A day’s quota can be reached or surpassed before the day has barely begun!
Here are more comparisons. An apple contains 4 tsp. (16 g) of sugar, whereas apple juice contains 7 tsp. (28 g). Half a cup of strawberries has 3/4 tsp. (3.5 g) and 1/2 cup of strawberry ice cream has almost 4 tsp. (15 g).
Natural vs. processed sugar
It’s true that the natural sugars found in raw fruits (fructose) and dairy products (lactose) are different from the teaspoons of sugar (sucrose) people add to tea, coffee, and baked goods. Fortunately, fruits give us fiber and unsweetened dairy products provide protein, both of which keep us feeling satisfied longer, give us younger-looking skin, and reduce the risk of over-eating.
Conversely, refined sugar (sucrose) from sugar cane and sugar beets, and high-fructose syrup from corn, add calories with precious little nutritional value. They are the sugars we most need to avoid, especially because of the havoc they play with normal hunger signals. Worst of all, manufacturers often add sugar to low-fat foods to add flavor, such as a low-fat flavoured yogourt.
I would go crazy trying to add up all the bits of sugar I might consume in a day, but one easy guideline to reduce intake is to make unprocessed foods the first choice, such as fresh blueberries rather than jam, grapes rather than raisins or grape juice, black coffee or clear tea rather than sweetened, and certainly no more than one baked good per day.