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Hide and seek with Sugar


This week’s article comes to you by way of a wonderful e-mail I received from one of our dedicated readers of the Searchlight and Sugar Matters. He was kind enough to forward an article he read in Yahoo! News about recent recommendations from the American Heart Association.{{more}} The full article can be found here:

As a quick summary, the article basically discusses a major health issue of there being too much added sugar in the average American diet, and the need for this to be cut back. My guess is that the average Vincentian diet has some of the same problems with added sugar.

Now to be clear, ADDED sugar does not include naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits and dairy. The sugar referred to in the recommendations is sugar added during processing. It comes in various forms, like syrup, cane juice, and of course plain old sugar. The amount can also be difficult to figure out even if you read all labels, but you should try. The biggest culprits are sodas, various processed foods and of course baked goods like cookies.

What is the recommended amount allowed for adults? 8 teaspoons for women, and 9 for men. This is TOTAL added sugar per day. In contrast, the average American takes in about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and I am sure my Vincentian family is probably in the same ballpark. Well, that sounds like a lot, you say, and wonder how in the world someone could end up eating that much sugar in one day.

Consider this: just one soda, yes, that one Ju-C or pepsi, has about 8 teaspoons of added sugar. That is the 12 ounce size, so those of you guzzling a bigger size are getting even more. Had any cereal this morning? It probably had a few teaspoons of sugar there, too. Even yogurt with fruit flavor has added sugar. See, you already had a bunch of sugar and we didn’t even get to the cookies you ate at lunch…

I am not asking that you cut sugar entirely out of your life. If your body can tolerate a bit of sugar there is no reason for you to try to go completely sugar-free. BUT, you do need to keep an eye on what you are putting into your mouth, meals, drinks, snacks and all.

In addition to the obvious rise in your blood sugars for all diabetics drinking sodas (PLEASE stop drinking regular sodas, they are some of the worst things for you to drink unless your blood sugar is very low), added sugar brings you more calories with almost no nutritional value. They pack on weight in a sneaky way. The article makes a point that increasing your physical activity is a way to help balance the sugar intake so that you do not gain weight. BUT remember that it is harder to burn calories than it is to simply restrict them. You need to run about 1 mile in order to burn through those three cookies you had at lunchtime. Take your pick-start running or cut back on the cookies!

Thank you again to our reader for sending me a copy of the article. I encourage those of you with computer access to check it out and let me know your own thoughts. And remember-a little sweetness goes a long way. Don’t overload on it!

Until next week stay safe and healthy, Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227