Hold the Sweet Stuff

(CARLSBAD, CA) – The results are in. Americans consume gargantuan quantities of sugar everyday. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans eat 31 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis.

Sodas are the number one offender. One can of Coca Cola contains about 10 teaspoons of refined sugar. But even foods that are seemingly innocent – ketchup, breakfast cereal, and salad dressing – are often loaded with processed sugars.

Refined sugars – those found in cakes and cookies – are big no-nos because they have a high glycemic load. The glycemic index value tells you how quickly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. High glycemic-load foods turn into sugar more rapidly, often causing your energy level to spike, then crash.

But, the glycemic load of a food has more implications than your level of energy. Recent studies have connected an increased consumption of high glycemic-load foods with adverse health conditions, such as diabetes. Additionally, the Harvard Women’s Health Watch Advisory Board found that women with the highest dietary glycemic load have a doubled risk for heart disease in comparison to those with the lowest level.

Just what types of sugary foods carry this glycemic load wallop? Common refined or added sugars, such as white and brown sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, are the top culprits. High-fructose corn syrup, in particular, is common since it lengthens the shelf life of many processed foods.

The best way to avoid refined sugars is to read your food labels. Don’t eat or drink anything in which high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose is listed among the top three ingredients. Also, try making a few small changes in your daily diet to decrease your sugar consumption. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett offers these suggestions for holding the sweet stuff:

  • Drink 100 percent fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored beverages.
  • Choose canned fruit packed in water or in its own juices rather than syrup.
  • If your child only likes sweetened cereal, then mix it with unsweetened.
  • Cut back on sweetened beverages, such as lemonade or sodas. Only eight ounces or less per day is best.
  • When a recipe calls for one cup of sugar, use ¾ cup instead.
  • Always split dessert.
  • Limit yourself to small portions of sweets. Try one piece of dark chocolate instead of an entire Snickers bar.

In the age of saturated and trans fats, the danger of refined sugar is often overlooked. But, 31 teaspoons of sugar that the average American intakes on a daily basis adds up to 500 calories, and empty calories at that! Try one or two dietary changes to lessen your sugar intake. You may find that your palate begins to appreciate some of life’s more natural sweeteners.

Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.

Posted: 9/10/2007 9:21:46 AM by Jazzercise | with 0 comments

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