January 15th-19th is Sugar Awareness Week. The Sugar Awareness website is challenging all of us to not eat sugar for 5 days. Can you do it? Do you know how many foods we eat daily contain sugar?
There are natural sugars that we find in foods such as milk and fruit. There are sugars we add to our food and drink, or that we use in cooking. Some sugar in our diet is okay, but too much added sugar can be harmful. According to a study by the American Heart Association, having too much sugar in your diet could significantly increase your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults.
We know there are sugars in sodas, baked goods, and snacks. There are a lot of hidden added sugars in products that we buy that aren’t sweet – like bread, crackers, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. Reading food labels can help us to see added sugars, if you know what to look for.
All of these ingredients are sugar:
Brown sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Fruit juice concentrates, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Malt sugar, Molasses, Raw sugar, Sugar, Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose), and Syrup.
To help know how much sugar each serving contains, each gram of sugar contains 4 calories. 1 teaspoon holds about 4 grams of sugar. So if the label says it has 13 grams of sugar, that’s just over 3 teaspoons, or about 52 calories from sugar.
This past weekend I attended an event and hockey game at a sports arena. They do not allow you to bring outside food or drink into the arena, not even a water bottle. My daughter was hungry so I purchased a kids meal deal. It had a hot dog, package of cookies, medium-sized container of popcorn, and this drink. Obviously the entire meal had a lot of added sugar in it. I took pictures of the food label and contents list on the drink bottle. This 10 oz bottle contained 13 grams of sugar. I counted at least 2 sugar ingredients on the label. I would rather see the arena put a small water bottle in the kids meal than this beverage.
She didn’t like the drink. No surprise since we don’t drink a lot of sugary drinks at home. I wouldn’t write that we don’t use added sugars in our house because we do. Probably a lot more than we should, being completely honest. We make sandwiches, eat snacks, add sugar (agave and honey included!) to foods and drinks. We consume probably as much sugar as any other family would.
Can we go 5 days without added sugars? Can I convince my family to go without sugar for 5 days?
I took the sugar quiz at Sugar Awareness website. No surprise, it suggested I could make some improvements. So beginning today – 1/14/18 – I will take the 5 day Sugar Awareness Challenge. I’ll update how I did at the end of the week.