Is Sugar a Trick or Treat?

It is that time of year where there is sugar everywhere and it won’t go away until after the new year.  It starts with Halloween candy and ends with holiday parties, it is an unyielding parade of sugar that tests even the most iron of wills.  Maybe a few facts and tips to help you get through this season without indulging in all the sugar out there, yes?  Our fabulous nutritionist did her last “Lunch and Learn” about sugar at the fitness retreat, it was mind-blowing to say the least!

 Here’s what we learned:

1.  The average American eats 61 POUNDS of sugar each year, 25 POUNDS of that is candy, and 2 POUNDS of that is Halloween candy.  POUNDS, people.  Not ounces.  That is a LOT of sugar.

2.  Sugar, and when I say sugar I mean the refined stuff, breeds unhealthy bacteria in your gut that cause the release of inflammatory hormones.

3.  Sugar gives you wrinkles. That’s terrible news!  Excess blood sugar binds to collagen and makes it less elastic.

4.  If you eat a lot of sugar, you will lose your mind.  Not really, but your brain cells will be sapped of the energy they need to communicate and it will be harder for you to learn and remember information, concentration will be harder and you’ll feel forgetful.

5.  Don’t reach for those artificial sweeteners and think you’re safe.  The artificial stuff primes your body to receive sugar and then you don’t give it any, so it craves more and more and in turn you will consume more calories to satisfy that craving.

Lunch and Learn at Unite Fitness Retreat

So, here are a few more facts:

  • A 20oz can of cola has the equivalent of 16 SUGAR CUBES in it.  SIXTEEN.
  • Most of us know that soda is bad for you, but what about sugar in other foods you eat?
  • According to the World Health Organization we should consume no more than 12tsp of sugar or 50 grams, a day.  Let’s break that down so you can get an idea while you are label reading just what that looks like:

1 sugar cube = 4 grams

So, in the course of a day, you should eat no more than the equivalent of 12.5 sugar cubes.

  • ONE 20oz soda has 65 grams of sugar.  One. Soda! (Or even better, none at all!)
  • A quarter cup of maple syrup in the morning, has 30 grams of sugar, that is seven and a half sugar cubes.
  • How about getting suckered by your “healthy” breakfast cereal?  Raisin Bran has about 17 grams of sugar in a serving.  That is more sugar than Lucky Charms has in it!  *yes I know raisins are a step up from sugar “charms” the point is excess sugar is hiding everywhere.
  • Or, even better:  That “Healthy” Vitamin Water you wash your workout down with?  That has THIRTY-THREE grams of sugar in it, that is 8.25 sugar cubes!  The “healthy” looking green Odwalla Super Food Smoothie has FIFTY grams of sugar in it, that is your daily intake in one twelve ounce bottle!

The point here is to look and be aware.  No one is going to take sugar away from you, but there are better options out there.

Stuck on Vitamin Water?  Grab a G2.

Want a smoothie?  Make one at home, make sure you put some high protein Greek yogurt in there and don’t add any sweeteners to your fruit and veggie smoothies.

A small ketchup packet has the equivalent of 3 sugar cubes in it!  Go for the natural, unsweetened stuff and you’ll save yourself from putting dessert on your fries.

If we have the information and the tools we can make better decisions about our food and in turn keep ourselves on a healthy course.

So, when you go to the grocery store remember this:

The total for the day is 50 grams of sugar

1 cube of sugar = 4 grams of sugar

Look at the nutrition label for the amount of sugar in a product, I am a visual person hence referencing sugar cubes, and divide that number by 4 and that is the equivalent number of sugar cubes contained in that product.

65 grams of sugar / 4 (grams of sugar in a cube) = 16.25 sugar cubes worth of sugar in a 20oz cola

You can also simply just keep a tally in your head of how much sugar you have consumed, but I like to hold things up and say “this has the SAME amount of sugar as SIXTEEN sugar cubes!” It helps me to keep the amount of sugar I consume in check.  If I can only have 50 grams, then I don’t want to waste those 12.5 sugar cubes on ketchup and salad dressing.

Of course, we want you to have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN, just be sugar smart!