If we are eating whole foods always, we don’t have to worry about sugar intake unless we are eating more than two servings daily of the higher glycemic fruits.
When eating processed foods, we need to read labels and make sure that we don’t get more than 15 grams of added sugar daily or six servings of carbohydrates daily (up to 20 grams). Up until the 1900s, our ancestors ate an average of three teaspoons of sugar daily. Today, the average American eats on average 70 teaspoons daily! This helps us understand why each year the CDC reports greater and greater rates of obesity, significantly increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease.
One teaspoon of sugar is equal to four grams of sugar. Did you know there is, on average, 10 tsp of sugar in a can of soda, in a frappaccino and in a glass of orange juice? If you look at the label of one candy bar, you will see that you have exceeded the sugar and carbohydrate grams in one day.
So how do we pull back from all of the sugar that we are accustomed to eating?
1) Eat a diet rich in whole foods.
2) When eating processed foods and reading labels, allow up to 120 grams of carbohydrates daily divided out over the day, not eaten all at once or even broken up into just two meals.
3) If you enjoy alcohol, keep it to a minimum and remember that gin, rum, vodka and whiskey in water have the lowest glycemic load, while beer has the highest. The most important aspect of alcohol is to remember that it is used for celebration only – never to suppress, or you have a double whammy against your health.
When it comes to carbohydrates, the following is a guideline you can use while making your choices:
- one cup of rice is about 40 grams of carbohydrates
- one potato is about 40 grams of carbohydrates
- one cup of pasta is about 45 grams of carbohydrates
- nonstarchy vegetables contain about two grams per cup of carbohydrates, higher in root vegetables like beets and onions up to 8 grams per cup.
Sugar creates energy in the body. If we don’t burn the amount of sugar we consume, we store it. It is no surprise that we have alarming rates of obesity in our country, increasing every year.