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Sugar seems to be having a Hollywood “it girl” moment. Every “expert” in the diet industry is trying to get you to detox from the sweet stuff, including sugar’s even sweeter counterpart, artificial sweeteners. Is it really necessary, or is this the modern version of the war against fat of the 1980s?
Yes and no. I know, I know, people hate gray areas when it comes to nutrition. But that “all or nothing” thinking is generally what gets us into these predicaments in the first place. So what gives?
For the first time, Americans are now being specifically told to limit added sugars. New Dietary Guidelines recommend we should consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. Added sugars are the key words here. Naturally occurring sugars, like those in fruit, are not included. For someone older than 3, 10 percent of daily calories means eating no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, or about 193 calories of sugar a day. The problem for many,are hidden sugars.
Unfortunately, sugar or some version of it lurks in almost everything that we eat, especially packaged and processed foods. So where are these hidden sugars? You might be surprised. Read on to see a few of the sweetest culprits in your own refrigerator:
Although there is no official RDA, there are limits recommended by health organizations like American Heart Association, World Health Organization and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have suggestions for limiting added sugars. Women should get no more than six teaspoons of added sugars daily and men have a limit of nine.
So, what should you do if you want to cut back? Just check the label and the ingredient list. If the first few ingredients include sugar, skip it. And a sweetener by any other name is just as sweet… or even more so. Honey, agave, syrup, fructose or anything ending in –ose, beet sugar… it’s all still sugar… which means it’s going to add a lot of calories and no nutrients.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for nature’s candy: fruit!
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