The fact that most Americans consume way too much sugar shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Americans have become notorious for over-indulging in all things edible. However, a recent report revealed that on average Americans are ingesting 22 teaspoons of sugar each day (when most women need no more than 6, and most men need no more than 9 per day).
Barring a few, strange exceptions it’s not that people are opening bags of C&H, grabbing a spoon and “chowing down.” The majority of this refined madness is finding its way into diets via sugary, carbinated beverages. Thus, “going big” on that fast food or movie theater fountain drink is literally like piling up a couple of giant candy bars and having a meal of empty calories.
A couple of small things you can do to reduce overall refined sugar intake and reduce your overall daily (empty) calories:
- No more sodas. I’d say no more regular sodas, but the diet ones are terrible for you, so strike carbonated soda pop from your dietary repertoire eentirely.
- Drink more water. As simple as it sounds, water does so many good things for you from a health standpoint (skin, weight control, etc.), that increasing your intake of H2O/day is a smart thing to do. Use a reusable bottle, so that you can also feel good about the environment, and save some money in the process. If you just need something with a bit of taste in it, try some citrus slices (lemon/orange) in your water.
- Cut Back On Sauces/Dressings. Order them on the side and use very sparingly. I’m a lover of sauces and anything you can dip something in, but many sauces are a trap. That Chinese Chicken Salad that you order while your friends mow down pizza at CPK probably has more calories and sugar than an entire pizza, and the sugar content comes largely from the dressing. Ketchup (or for you weirdos Katsup) is also an easy way for too much sugar to sneak into your diet.
- Eat Your Fruit (Don’t Drink It). Fruit is great for you and while it has natural fructose (sugar), it brings a lot of great things to the table like fiber, nutrients and sometimes disease fighting components like polyphenals. However, that concept I grew up with that a big glass of orange or apple juice with breakfast is good for you, is just wrong. While it isn’t inherently bad for you, it has far too much sugar and not as much of the good stuff as the whole fruit.
Lastly, if you’re an adult and your name isn’t Willy Wonka, there’s really no reason for you to be eating Candy Bars. I know that it’s tough to avoid candy, fudge, brickle, etc. around the holidays, but this is where you need to channel your Anti-Nike “Just Don’t Do it.”
Small steps add up!