Sweet Tooth Foodie

Not too long ago, a friend and I had a conversation about the amount of sugar added to food. This happened right after I’d read an article about the hidden sugars in foods we eat every day. She’d been interested in making changes just like I was.

I’ve wanted to be a food snob; really I have. But I can’t be one. I’ve had a history of eating junk, and sugar was a big culprit in my formerly decadent diet. I still crave it at times.

But there’s something annoying about a former food addict trying to tell people how they should eat. That said, here’s my take on sugar and why I’ll pass on something of interest you may want to take to heart. (Literally)

Besides, it’s my blog and I can.

Facts are facts. Below is some information about recommended sugar intake and a list of 56 ways–count ’em–in which sugar can be listed on an ingredients label.

So how much should your sugar intake be? Several health organizations, including the American Heart Association, suggest that added sugar should be limited to no more than six to seven percent of your total calories. This does not include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits (fructose) and dairy products (lactose). The chart below lists the maximum recommended daily sugar intake based on various calorie levels.

Maximum Sugar Intake
Daily Calorie Intake              Grams of Sugar         Teaspoons
1,200                                                  21                               5
1,500                                                  26                               6
1,800                                                  31                               7
2,100                                                  36                               9
2,400                                                  42                               10
2,700                                                  47                                12

And here’s that list of the ways sugar shows up on an ingredients label. This list had me flabbergasted.

Look how many say syrup! What do you think of when you hear the word “syrup?” Yep, sticky and sweet. Ethyl maltol sounds like something you’d put in your gas tank.burlap bag of sugar

Agave nectar
Barley malt
Beet sugar
Blackstrap molasses
Brown rice syrup
Brown sugar
Butter sugar
Cane juice crystals
Cane juice
Cane sugar
Coconut sugar
Caster sugar
Carob syrup
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Corn syrup solids
Crystalline fructose
Date sugar
Demara sugar
Diastatic malt
Ethyl maltol
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Golden sugar
Golden syrup
High fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Maple syrup
Molasses syrup
Muscovado sugar
Organic raw sugar
Oat syrup
Confectioner’s sugar
Rice bran syrup
Rice syrup
Sorghum syrup
Tapioca syrup
Turbinado sugar
Yellow sugar

As I said, I’m by no means perfect when it comes to my diet. After all, I’ve posted recipes on this blog for cookies I really like. And I’m not a doctor, a scientist or a dietitian. But I’ve made drastic changes in what and how much I put in my mouth. The reasons are many, but I began looking at food labels a few years ago and decided then some changes had to be made.

For instance, a couple years ago, I did an experiment with eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners from my diet. After two weeks (I fell off the wagon), I noticed the pain from arthritis in my thumbs was gone. As soon as I started eating sugar again, the pain came back. I’m limiting sugar and artificial sweeteners now and for the last couple months, that pain has disappeared again.

What a relief. I can only imagine the other forms of inflammation in my body that are slowly going away or being reduced as a result of the decision.

Now if I want the flavor of an apple or an orange, I don’t drink it. I eat an apple or an orange. Nothing added and there’s the benefit of getting fiber.

I wish I’d made these changes sooner in life. Some of what I’m learning about food–especially sugar–is just common sense. But in my case, common sense wasn’t so common. I have to say I really didn’t care much either.

Now I do care.

That’s why this Foodie post is about eliminating as much sugar as possible from one’s diet. Even if I don’t personally know you who are reading this, I know you can benefit from the information.

Of course, knowledge is power only if you apply it.

Foodie Friday will still feature the occasional recipe that uses sugar. I am NOT a food snob and I love to cook and bake. But there will probably be more recipes for ‘stuff’ that doesn’t include it.

Good eating to you. And here’s to your health.

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