Sugar…The New Tobacco?

Sugar…The New Tobacco?

Recent studies indicate that excess sugar can greatly increase our risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.  The main source of sugar in our diet comes from drinks (sports drinks, iced tea, pop, fruit drinks, energy drinks, lemonade) desserts, breakfast cereals, donuts and pastries.  Even so-called “healthy foods” (such as granola bars, muffins, peanut butter and yogurt) can contain high amounts of sugar.

There is nearly triple the risk of dying from heart disease for people who consume 25% or more of their calories from added sugar.  For a 2000 calorie diet, that is 125 grams (or 31 teaspoons) of sugar.  The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25 g (6 tsp) of added sugar for women, and 37 g (9 tsp) for men.  Canada is presently working on specific guidelines.

How to Cut Back:

-reduce sugar in recipes by 30%

-eat fruit and nuts rather than sweets and granola bars for snacks

-cut back the amount of maple and agave syrup, honey and sugar added to foods and drinks

-avoid chocolate and vanilla flavoured cow’s milk and soy, rice and almond drinks

-eat plain yogurt with your own fruit rather than vanilla and fruit yogurts

Read the “Nutrition Facts” on food packages so that you know how much sugar you are actually consuming – you might be surprised !  It does not take much to consume 30 tsp of added sugar a day.

Bonnie Baxter, BASc, Registered Dietitian