Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Why should we limit added sugar?


Let's talk added sugars! 

Why should we limit added sugars?

Added sugars refer to sugars and syrups that are added to foods and beverages during processing or preparation. These are not naturally present in the food or beverage but are included to enhance sweetness, flavor, or texture. Added sugars can be found in a wide range of products, including:

Sodas and sweetened beverages: Soft drinks, fruit juices with added sugars, energy drinks, sweetened teas, and flavored waters often contain high amounts of added sugars.


Baked goods: Cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, and other sweet treats typically contain added sugars to enhance their taste.


Candies and sweets: Confectioneries like chocolates, candies, gummy bears, caramels, and other sugary snacks are typically high in added sugars.


Dairy products: Flavored yogurts, sweetened milk, ice cream, and other dairy products may contain added sugars for flavor enhancement.


Cereals and granola bars: Many breakfast cereals, granola bars, and cereal-based snacks can contain significant amounts of added sugars.


Condiments and sauces: Ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and some marinades may contain added sugars to balance flavors. 


Packaged and processed foods: Numerous processed foods, including canned fruits, fruit cups, instant soups, sauces, and pre-packaged meals, can contain added sugars.

It's essential to read food labels to identify added sugars in products. Added sugars can appear under various names, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, cane sugar, honey, molasses, and many others. The ingredients list on the food package will help identify if a product contains added sugars.

While it's wise to limit the consumption of foods and beverages with added sugars, it's important to note that natural sugars present in whole foods like fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and provide essential nutrients and fiber.

Added sugar and natural sugar is not the same! 

Limiting added sugar in our diet is important for several reasons:

Weight management: Added sugars contribute a significant amount of calories to our diet without providing essential nutrients. Excessive consumption of added sugars can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity.


Risk of chronic diseases: High sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Consuming excessive amounts of added sugar can negatively impact insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, and contribute to the development of these conditions.


Dental health: Sugar is a major contributor to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars, producing acids that erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities. By reducing added sugar intake, we can protect our teeth and maintain good oral health.


Nutrient deficiencies: Foods high in added sugars often lack essential nutrients. When we consume excessive amounts of sugary foods and beverages, it can cause us to skip eating the more nutritious options, leading to nutrient deficiencies and an imbalanced diet.


Energy crashes and poor satiety: Consuming foods and beverages high in added sugars can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash. This can lead to feelings of fatigue, lack of energy, and increased hunger, which may result in overeating and weight gain.


Overall dietary quality: A diet high in added sugars often means a diet low in nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. By reducing added sugar intake, we can make room for healthier food choices and improve the overall quality of our diet.


The recommended intake of added sugars varies depending on the source and health organization. However, several prominent organizations provide guidelines on the maximum amount of added sugar that should be consumed daily. Here are some general recommendations:


World Health Organization (WHO): The WHO recommends that adults and children reduce their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. They also suggest that a further reduction to below 5% (approximately 25 grams or 6 teaspoons) would provide additional health benefits.

American Heart Association (AHA): The AHA advises that women limit their daily added sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) and men to no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams).

Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 states that added sugars should account for less than 10% of total daily calories. This recommendation is aimed at individuals aged 2 years and older.

Remember that individual needs may vary based on factors such as age, sex, activity level, and overall health. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice on your dietary needs and sugar intake.

Do you look at your added sugar daily? If not, you should! 
Let's level up your nutrition! 
-Coach Rach 

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