Monday, April 7, 2014


It's difficult to turn on the TV lately without seeing the BREAKING NEWS that too much sugar is bad for you.  Duh.  Newscasters are delightedly reporting that studies have shown that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar per year (some studies have indicated that we eat 140 pounds a year, but what's a few pounds among friends?).

Let's do the math:

        one pound of sugar = two cups x 130 = 260 cups per year

        260 cups divided by 365 days (we won't do leap years) = .71 cups per day

That's very close to 3/4 cup each day.  Now I know you're thinking that you certainly do not consume that much sugar in a day.  If all you're considering is the spoonful or two that you put in your coffee, remember that virtually ALL processed foods contain either some form of sugar or an artificial sweetener.

Do you eat flavored yogurt?  Sugar
Do you drink milk?  Sugar    Chocolate milk?  Sugar, sugar, sugar.
Soda?  Sugar or Splenda or aspartame, etc.  
Bread or other baked goods?   Sugar
Cottage cheese?  Sugar
Energy or breakfast bars?  Sugar
Fruit juice?  Sugar

Just check out the ingredients in the packaged food you buy.  Better yet, stop at your local MacDonald's and ask to see the ingredient list of any of their 'food'.  Lots of luck with that.

If you really want to get scared, figure out the calories.

           one cup of sugar is 768 calories
           .71 cup is 545 calories PER DAY
           545 calories x 7 = 3815 calories per week
           Every extra 3500 calories you consume = one pound of weight

Presumably you don't lounge all day in a pile of pillows with servants bringing you goodies and peeling you grapes.  If that were the case, math tells us you would gain in excess of one pound per week.  Since most of us have places to go and things to do we will work off some of those calories, but they are always there, lurking, waiting for us to take a few days off.

I'm sure our readers are much more savvy than average and probably are careful about what they eat, but it's easy to fall into the trap of a Starbuck's latte with soy milk (21 g. of sugar), or a 6" sweet onion chicken teriyaki at Subway (19 g. of sugar).  Don't forget the office donuts or Aunt Tillie's double chocolate brownies.  It would be rude to decline.

The point is that we are surrounded on all sides by the beguiling allure of sweetness.  If sweetness is what you want, make it a piece of fresh fruit.  Sure it has fructose, but it also has fiber and all those macro-and micro-nutrients that make it a whole food.  Save the indulgences for special occasions and you may find that you have lost the taste for them.

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