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Heads Up: FDA Proposes 10% Daily Calorie Sugar Limit

By Sandy Schroeder

The sugar question has been out there for some time, but now the Food and Drug Administration is proposing new nutrition fact labels and telling us sugar should not exceed 10 percent of the calories we eat.

If you eat 2,000 calories a day, this is 200 calories, which is 50 grams or 12 teaspoons. When you consider, one soda may include 10 teaspoons of sugar, it is not surprising many people spill over the limit.

Sugar Dangers

Backing up the new proposals, Harvard health researchers say sugar overloads can cause conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, which lists its symptoms as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and excess belly fat.

According to nutritionists, too much sugar can trigger inflammation, and increase the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It can also affect the brain and contribute to hyperactivity in children.

Tracking Sugar

So where should we start?  The best answer might be to know where your sugar comes from, and how you can regulate it. The FDA advises us to limit, not eliminate, sugar as we read nutrition labels to spot added sugar. Obvious targets are sodas, candy and cookies. Acceptable sources may show up in a healthy diet including plain yogurt, milk and fruit.

Watch Out for Hidden Sugars

As you read the labels you may be amazed to see just how many salad dressings, sauces, soups and canned pastas also carry heavy sugar loads. For example:

Ketchup - A tablespoon of tomato ketchup can deliver as much as four grams of sugar. Putting three tablespoons on your burger ramps up your sugar to 12 grams.

Vegetable juices – Some vegetable juices are listed at 60 calories per glass, but they may also contain 11 grams of sugar.

Fruit juices – Eight ounces of orange juice may only give you 110 calories and 0 grams of fat, but also deliver 22 grams of sugar.

Deluxe coffees – Your favorite carmelized honey latte checks in with 340 calories in 16 ounces, but also delivers 45 grams of sugar.

As we read the labels to track sugar, we need to know sugar also travels under all of these names: barley malt, agave nectar, dextrose, isomalt, rice syrup and high fructose corn syrup.

Retraining Taste Buds

The sugar question is not going away. But you may find that as you use less, like salt, your body demands less, too.

To retrain your taste buds, start tracking your sugars and channeling them where you want them to be, not where the market chooses to deposit them.


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