Sweet Tooth Dilemma: What Kind of Sugar Should I Eat?

With the ever increasing amount of research linking obesity to diseases decreasing a healthy life span, focusing on what we are eating is critical.  Elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus are all diseases related to being over weight.  The likely culprit is not only the high number of calories we are consuming, but also the quantity of sugar in our diet.

All sweets, whether sugar, honey, or high fructose corn syrup, have the same amount of calories.  With any diet, treating yourself to carbohydrates, sweets, alcohol, etc is acceptable and in some instances encouraged.  Focusing on the amount of ‘extras’ allowed is a critical part to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Sugar is usually the number one problem for most readers, so see what you can do to reduce the amount of sweets in your day.  Here is a list of some common but surprisingly sugary foods:

1. Soda pop – May contain between 6-12 teaspoons of sugar per can.

2. JuiceFruit has sugar, juice has even more sugar.

3. Coffee – Naturally contains zero grams of sugar.  Unless the coffee is a mocha, cappuccino, or latte, then the sugar amount may be up to 8x as much in comparison to 1 teaspoon of sugar added to black coffee.

4. Cereal – Do you add sugar to your already sweetened cereal brand? Do you know how many tsps of sugar are in that bowl?

5. Bread – If you think you have a ‘healthy’ bread brand, look again.  Is sugar one of the main ingredients listed?

6. Crackers – Again, look at the label.  It may taste salty, but the ingredients are probably loaded with some form of corn syrup.

7. Yogurt – Yogurt gets a healthy rep for losing weight, but really the dairy product is loaded with sugars.  Go Greek for added protein and less sugars.

See what you can do to reduce the amount of foods with added sugars in your day.  A few here and there are harmless, but a latte a day in the morning, a sandwich sided with crackers for lunch, all washed down with a soda, amounts to a sugary day.  This dilemma may not even be for those with a sweet tooth, but for those who may think their snacking is ‘innocent’ snacking but is actually causing them to consume more sugar.  Sugar is everywhere, and there is no one sugar worse than the other.  All sugar has the same number of calories.  Aim to cut back on your sugar by reducing seemingly unsweetened foods that do contain some form of sugar.  The simplest way to do so?  Reducing the amount of carbohydrate foods eaten in a day.  Save the sweet calories for the foods you know you’re indulging in.

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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