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Bitter Sweet Guidelines

Virginia Eaton Jan 2016 SNOL carrot-1085063By Virginia Eaton —

New dietary guidelines have been published and, amazingly, the powers that be finally recognize that the amount of sugar consumed in one’s diet plays an important role in overall health.

The part that amazes me is that sugar lobbyists were not able to overcome the tremendous amount of scientific data showing the relationship between added sugar intake and diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and other endocrine disorders. The evidence has been there for decades that added sugar is killing us, but the sugar lobbyists have controlled behind-the-door conversations with politicians who create these guidelines. Now, our government is on the record as saying that the amount of added sugar should be limited to no more than about 10-12 teaspoons per day for the average adult.

Americans consume most of their added sugar in liquid form: sodas, coffee and energy drinks, not to mention juices. So in real terms, how much is 50 grams of added sugar?

  • A 32-oz cup of Coca-Cola has 91 grams of sugar
  • A 44-oz Big Gulp has 128 grams of sugar
  • A 20-oz bottle of Vitamin Water has about 33 grams of sugar
  • A 16-oz bottle of chocolate milk has 58 grams of sugar
  • A 16-oz Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino has 47 grams of sugar.
  • A 16-oz ‘green’ drink may have anywhere between 12 and 48 grams of sugar

Virginia Eaton Jan 2016 snol apple-sauce-544676Those sweetened drinks are deadly in part because people rarely imbibe in just one a day. And those who are fond of sweet drinks often have a sweet tooth for other food with hidden sugar as well. Reading labels to look for sugar is tricky as sugar has a long list of aliases: anhydrous dextrose, corn sweetener, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, liquid fructose, and malt syrup, just to name a few.

Another scary thing about how sugar is treated in processed food is that it often doesn’t make sense where it’s added. For example, Cheerios cereal has 1 gram of sugar per serving — excellent! — whereas Cheerios Protein has 17 grams — not so excellent! One version of Mott’s applesauce, Original, has 22 grams of sugar. The other Mott’s brand, Natural, has only 11 grams. The only way for consumers to know how much sugar they’re taking in is to either stay far away from processed foods (food that has not been processed has no added sugar) or put on your reading glasses while pushing your grocery cart and read the fine print.

Virginia Eaton SNOL buddha-231610_960_720 (2)Kudos to our government for finally following the World Health Organization’s recommendations for sugar consumption!

Now if they would use the power bequeathed to them by the people and insist food manufactures label their products in a way that even the least educated shopper could understand, Americans might be able to get off the list as one of the top ten fattest countries in the world.

Read more of Virginia Eaton’s blog posts here.

Virginia Eaton is the owner of Oakhurst wellness center Class: The Body Pastiche

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