Monday, March 17, 2014

Less Sugar More Health

love dessert, and I love sugar. In November and December I ate tons of sugar. Didn't we all? Then, toward the end of January, the pregnancy cravings hit and I ate gobs of sugar for another month and a half.

On average, Americans eat about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day. According to the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, women should only eat 5 teaspoons of sugar per day (about 20 grams or half a 12 ounce soda). Men are rationed a whopping 9 teaspoons.

I've decided to try limiting myself to the recommended five teaspoons of added sugar per day for an entire month. I plan on gaining the recommended 25-35 lbs during pregnancy, but figure it's best if those extra calories come from nutritious foods like whole grains, cheese, and vegetables rather than cookies and brownies.

I've somehow convinced Michael to join me in this challenge! Would anyone else like to join us in consuming less sugar? If so, comment below!

A few more notes:

  • I will be trying this out March 18 (the day after St. Patrick's Day) through April 16. I'll then re-evaluate whether I want to continue this practice longer.
  • Count only added sugar. Lots of foods have naturally occurring sugar, like the 20 grams of sugar in a large apple, but they don't count because they aren't added. Yay! Instead count sugars added into foods like sweetened yogurt, Powerade, and a fun size Snickers bar. Be on the lookout for sugars that have been sneaked into healthy foods too like whole grain breads and spaghetti sauce.
  • I calculated the amount of sugar I ate in what I considered to be a pretty good day just to see where I was starting from. My total intake was 10.5 teaspoons. The thing that killed me was the two thick slabs of marmelada (a Portuguese quince paste) that I put on my toast in the morning. I consumed 7.5 teaspoons of sugar right there!
  • Although this happens to overlap with most of Lent, I'm not officially doing it for Lent. Though if you want this to be a late and abbreviated Lent fast, go for it!
The following links have more helpful information including info on how much added sugars are in various processed foods:
American Heart Association.
Yale health.
This article.

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