Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Added Sugar: Can Sweeten Life & Can Mess Up Life

I must say one of the many things that makes life sweet is sugary foods. Yes, that is correct. I did say sugary foods. I will continue on to admit to the world that I do love ice cream! I love ice cream especially with some kind of crunch effect to it. However, I do practice moderation even more so when it comes to added sugars in food, like ice cream, across the board. Let me just make it clear before I go on, I am not talking about the natural sugars found in fruits and milk, but the sugars that are added through processing.

A few years, I was going through a difficult time. Being a registered dietitian, I knew better, but what soothed my soul at that time was eating ice cream, with chocolate, once a day for a month. Even though it was just one ice cream sandwich a day, my body was not use to all this extra added sugar, because I don't eat that much added sugar on a regular basis. At the end of the month, my immune system was weakened that it opened up the gates to the former allergies I use to have. My allergies came back with a vengeance. That difficult health situation I dealt with was difficult. I thank God that is resolved now. I am also thankful to God, I am now back on track to healthy eating with enjoying sweets in moderation.

Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, and doughnuts do add flavor to life. These wonderful food delights certainly can also make us feel happy. Therefore, this should never be taken away from anyone's healthy eating plan. We know that added sugars are found in all pastry goods, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and last but not least, sodas. We all know that added sugars provide extra empty calories that our bodies do not need. Again, sugar does provide wonderful flavor. However, if we continue to consume these food items and beverages on a regular basis in great amounts, this can then contribute to weight gain, obesity, and eventually chronic diseases. Yes, we have been told this and that truth still stands to this very day.

Added sugars are also found in food items you wouldn't expect it would be in. Added sugars give extra delicious flavoring to side dishes, entrees, and condiments as well. Baked beans, ketchup, french dressing, and canned fruit have them. Some entrees that are served in certain cuisines have added sugars to achieve a certain flavor. I have listed a few here just to make you be aware where added sugars can also be contained in.

The take home message here is not "do not ever have added sugar". The take home message is be mindful of how much added sugar you have on a regular basis, so that you will not end up in an unhealthful situation. Once again, moderation is the key. The American Heart Association recommends that women should have no more than 100 calories or 25 gms of sugar per day and men should have no more than 150 calories or 37.5 gms of sugar per day. Enjoy your sweets in whatever form the desire of heart calls for. Just make sure to mindfully enjoy it in moderation.

What is your favorite dessert?

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