Lee Ann Fields, Judd, Cathy S.
Last news article I left readers with a challenge to eat healthier. March started out with good healthy eating intentions. I spent time looking through healthy cookbooks. I got a good handle on two weeks of healthy eating plans, but I didn’t get the groceries. Life happened, night meetings, deadlines, and the unpredictable. Not being prepared, I reverted back to the quick meals I whip up without much thought.The hectic schedule and not having healthy food on hand created extra calories, eating out, and picking up take out.Two family reunions also altered my plan. So what do I do? When you get lost on vacation do you stay in that lost zone? No, you navigate your way out on the right path. That is what I plan to do. Get back on the right road. Plus my readers are expecting better from me.
This month I plan to work on just one nutritional challenge so not to be overwhelmed.I am looking at ways to reduce added sugar. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we not eat more than ten percent of our total daily calorie intake of added sugars.All food labels are based on 2,000 calories a day.That means we should not get more than 200 calories a day for added sugars. That is about 13 teaspoons of sugar.The American Heart Association is a bit stricter. They recommend no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men of added sugars daily.
Now I am a true Southerner; I like my sweet tea. Sweet tea can pack as much as 180 calories in 20 ounces. What if you drink two of these 20 ounce teas a day? That is 360 calories a day, 2, 520 calories a week or 150,040 calories a year! This calculates into 42 extra pounds a year! If we pack on an extra 42 pounds a year of sugar, do you know where that goes?That extra weight packs around the body, for most of us around the waist and hips. Unless you’re Si Robertson! Sweet tea seems to not pack around him! These extra pounds increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Drinking your calories is the worst thing you can do. There are no nutritional benefits to sweet drinks. No vitamins or minerals. I know the best drink is water, but I also know my body craves that glass of tea most days.One thing I have done is reduced the sugar when ordering tea is getting half sweet and half unsweet tea.At home I have reduced the sugar even more by added sweet fruit, strawberries, blueberries, and lemon.
When making changes, be realistic.Make changes you can live with. Cut back slowly.If you like to put added sugar on cereals try spices to give that sweet kick. Cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger might just do the trick.
Read the labels for these hidden sugars. They can be listed as corn syrup, fructose, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, honey, maple syrup, and malt syrup. You may have heard that honey, brown sugar and fruit juice concentrate has nutritional advantage over sugar but there is none.
Remember little changes can mean a lot.