Yesterday Preston and I watched a documentary on Netflix: Sugar Coated. I highly recommend that everyone checks it out. The film discusses studies concerning the effects of sugar consumption.
Obviously, sugar has a lot of calories which is “bad,” but there may be more to sugar than that. One study found that subjects who consumed large amounts of added sugar tripled their chances of developing heart disease. There are many other factors that connect to heart disease and obesity (lifestyle, weight, ect.), but I do feel that reducing your sugar intake is an important step in your overall health.
According to the American Heart Association, the average daily sugar intake (of added sugars) should not exceed 37 grams for men and 25 grams for women. This amount is specified for added sugar-– the sugar that does not naturally occur in the food— but it can be really difficult to separate added from natural sugar in your food. Assume that anything packaged contains added sugar, and then try to replace it with whole or raw foods.
The easiest way to stay below the recommended sugar goal is to cut out caloric drinks and candy. Obviously, these have absurd amounts of added sugar and provide no nourishment for your body. The only times that we drink our calories is when the beverage is vodka; otherwise Preston and I stick to water. Below is an example of a day with less than 25 total grams of sugar to help you structure your own diet. Keep in mind this is natural and added sugar.
- 3 oz of Strawberries 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar
- 2.4 oz of Mushroom 15 calories and 1 gram of sugar
- 2 oz of Onion 23 calories and 2 grams of sugar
- Morningstar Farms sausage patty 80 calories and 2 grams of sugar
- 1 Egg 70 calories and no sugar
- 3 oz of Grilled Chicken 93 calories and no sugar
- 2 cups of Asian-style Vegetables 70 calories and 6 grams of sugar
- Dannon Vanilla Greek Yogurt 80 calories and 7 grams of sugar
This was a very light day for me– because we went to the movie and I had popcorn later– but this is a great basic outline that you can layer in additional food as necessary. Fruits and processed products contain the most sugar, but remember that the sugar from whole fruits (because you gain other nutrients, fiber, and minerals from the fruit) is not the concern. It is easy to keep your sugar rush down when you use whole foods and minimize processed products.
Watch Sugar Coated and pay attention to the sugar you consume!