Are you addicted to sugar?

Would you ever eat several teaspoons of sugar at a time? Most of us would have difficulty eating just one teaspoon of sugar by itself. What if I told you that you are pretty much doing that very thing when you eat some of your favorite foods? Do you know just how much sugar is in the foods and drinks you consume on a regular basis? Do you read the labels? If not, I suggest you begin now and learn how much sugar you are putting in your body. Most products label their ingredients like sugar in “grams.” If you are like me the word “grams” does not quite register, however, “teaspoons” does. Here is a quick calculation to determine how many “teaspoons” of sugar is in food and drink we love:

1 teaspoon of granulated sugar = 4 grams of sugar

Well, what does all this mean to us? According to recommendations from American Heart Association:

  • An adult male should not consume over 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar per day
  • An adult female should not consume over 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar per day
  • Children should not consume over 3 teaspoons or 12 grams of sugar per day per day

Here is a breakdown of some of our favorite foods and the amounts of sugar they contain:

Food or Drink Grams of sugar Teaspoons of sugar
Nutella 21 5.75
Peter Pan Natural Peanut Butter 3 0.75
Quaker Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar 12 3
Cheerios 9 2.25
Cheerios Protein 17 4.25
Organic Granola 15 3.75
Hungry Jack Pancake Mix 6 1.5
Almond milk 13 3.25
Ken’s Steak House Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing 7 1.75
Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce 16 4
Kind Bar 5 1.25
Kashi Granola Bar 5 1.25
Cliff Bar 23 5.75
Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream 17 4.25
Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies 6 1.5
Yoplait yogurt 21 5.25
Minute Maid Orange Juice 24 6
Gatorade 21 5.25
Canada Dry Ginger ale 35 8.75
V8 Splash Island Strawberry 18 4.5
Doritos 1 0.25
Pepsi 27 6.75
Coke 36 9
Red Bull 30 7.5
Snickers 57 14.25
Milky Way 45 11.25
M&Ms 45 11.25
DiGiorno’s Frozen Pizza 8 2
Baked Lay’s 2 0.5

Are you shocked yet? Well, let me further ruin your sweet tooth with what all this sugar consumption can do to us.

Consuming more than the recommended amounts of sugar can lead to chronic and debilitating conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, liver dysfunction and more! I know for a fact I have well over consumed my daily allowance of sugar, how about you?

Additionally, sugar contains no nutrients! As a result it is commonly referred to being “empty calories.” One cube of sugar contains 9 calories. You have to walk briskly for 2 minutes to burn 9 calories. Sugar also causes the body to release dopamine which can lead to sugar addiction as it activates the “reward” center in our brains. Sugar can also lead to tooth decay.

So now that we know how to calculate how much sugar is in our food and the recommended amounts, we can take better control of our eating habits. Let’s do what we need to do to avoid developing one (or more) of those chronic diseases I mentioned. Cut back (or out) the sugar today and see the big difference it makes in your health.

Dr. Burgandi Collins

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