Holidays – Here comes the sugar!

As soon as we enter the grocery store, pharmacy, or department stores we are inundated with holiday paraphernalia.  My kids squeal with excitement at all the decorations, and most of all CANDY!

We all love the real candy corn that can only be found this time of year, but I can’t ignore that all this sugar isn’t healthy; some even say it’s toxic!

A recent ’60 minutes’ report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta explored studies linking sugar, more than any other substance, to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

It is estimated that the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, that’s 17 four pound bags of sugar per year. The average child eats 32 teaspoons of sugar daily! Refined sugar has no nutritional value, accounts for nearly 500 calories a day and according to brain scans sugar is addictive!

Of course there are a number of different kinds of sugar and not all sugars are created equal, so it’s important to think about what we are eating, and get in the habit of reading nutrition labels. Healthy sugar comes from nature and is found in fruits. For example 1 cup of fresh blueberries has about 7 grams of sugar plus vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, while just 19 of my beloved candy corn has 32 grams of sugar and no nutrition. The American Heart Association recommends 5-9 teaspoons of sugar daily for an adult and only 3 teaspoons a day for a child.

So what can we do about this?

  • Read nutritional labels
  • Drink water instead of high sugar beverages like sodas and juice
  • Make candy a special treat and limit quantity
  • Limit processed foods
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruits and berries
  • Eat high protein snacks to decrease the sugar cravings, like cheese sticks, nuts, seeds etc.

Have a fun and safe autumn extravaganza!  Prevention magazine

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