Sugar is all over the news lately. We’re hearing all about how many sugary sodas we should drink from a variety of sources. I’m reading about it on every healthy living website I follow and it’s all over the news where reports on the recent New York City ban on large sodas are making headlines.
The obesity epidemic and the dramatic rise in people suffering with type II diabetes have been linked to the amount of sugar that we consume as a culture, and diet experts are all telling us that we need to cut back. Now, according to new government data, we’ve discovered that 13 percent of the calories in an average American adult’s diet come from added sugar, and 1/3 of that amount comes from sugar-sweetened beverages.
Busting the Sugar Addiction
So what can we do? It’s easy to measure how much sugar we add to our coffee or tea, but how much of the sweet stuff is in other foods that we don’t even think about? While there’s no room in this article for a comprehensive list, here are some of the biggest offenders, who hide behind the label of “healthy”:
- Yogurt. Check the label to see how much sugar has been added to your favorite brand. Greek yogurt naturally contains less sugar and may make a healthier alternative.
- Red sauce. Premade tomato sauce can contain a surprising amount of sugar. Tomatoes are naturally sweet so consider a sugar-free alternative or consider making your own, so you can be sure of exactly how much sugar your family’s consuming.
- Granola bars often seem like a healthier alternative to a candy bar, but they often contain just as much sugar. Check the label carefully and stay away from the brands that have sugar listed as one of the top three or four ingredients.
- Fat-free salad dressings may seem like a smart dietary choice, but when they remove the fat they have to add something else to make it taste good. Too often that “something else” is sugar.
- A bran muffin may seem like a healthy alternative to a donut, but it’s important to remember that bran is kind of a bland ingredient. This leads manufacturers to add sugar in order to make it more palatable.
- Steer clear of canned fruits that have added sugar or syrup. Fresh or frozen fruit is a much better alternative, and some fruits like raspberries and blackberries lose very little of their nutritional value even when frozen.
If you’re trying to lower your sugar intake, the keys to your success are to be vigilant, read labels and do your homework. If you have any questions about what you’re eating, or if you’re considering a dietary or lifestyle change, talk to your primary care physician or your chiropractor, as they may have even more information about how you can kick the sugar habit.
Photo credit: Sugar by Uwe Hermann. Used under a Creative Commons license.
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