Did you know that sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of sugar in the diets of American children and adolescent? And that over 25 million Americans have Diabetes and about two thirds of our country is obese? It is at epidemic levels, but the question is how to make a change?
Recently New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces in most restaurants, theaters, delis, sport venues and vending carts. Exempt from the proposed ban are diet sodas that contain fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, fruit juices, dairy drinks and alcoholic beverages. Fast-food chains would be required to hand out cups that are sized 16 ounces or less regardless of it someone purchases a diet drink, but refills would not be prohibited. There has been a lot of chatter about the mayor stepping over the line calling him “Nanny Bloomberg.” What do you think? Let’s see what happens, as the proposal requires the approval of the city’s Board of Health, and could go into effect as early as March 2013.
Wonder what the daily recommendations on sugar intake are? You might recall a “teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down” but much more may lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more. According to the American Heart Association the recommended sugar intake for adult women is 5 teaspoons (20 grams) of sugar per day, for adult men, it’s 9 teaspoons (36 grams) daily, and for children, it’s 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. Surveys have found that the average American consumes around 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar every day. It is easy to see where the sugar is when we eat sweets, add it to coffee or tea but it is hidden in foods from breads to salad dressing.
To help out I provided a list of some of the various names for sugar that you might see on a label:
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
High-fructose corn syrup
A healthy diet should include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Do not fear from the sugar in beets, carrots, or bananas, I can’t tell you how many people ask if they will make them fat! The best way to cut added sugars out of your diet is to limit processed foods as much as possible, and satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit.