(CARLSBAD, CA) – Valentine’s Day…It’s the season for heart-shaped candies, chocolate truffles, and giant-sized cookies. Love is in the air, but calories are in the edible gift exchanges. And while giving a box of chocolate-covered cherries may seem like an innocent, kind-hearted gesture, the toll that excess sugar takes on our health is reason to re-think your gifts from Cupid this year.
On any given week, the average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar. This is five times the amount of average sugar consumption just 20 years ago. It’s not surprising that sugar is creeping its way into every part of the American diet. Valentine’s Day aside, refined sugars are found in everything from bread to breakfast cereal to ketchup!
Foods that are high in refined sugars may taste great, but they are loaded with calories. The excess sugar that cannot be burned is stored as fat. Furthermore, sugar is devoid of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. And it’s deteriorating effect on the body’s immune system is just one reason why several health organizations, including the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetic Association, list sugar consumption as one of the three main causes of degenerative disease.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett suggests an alternative to sugar overload this Valentine’s Day. Talk to your sweetheart, friends, and loved ones, and suggest a moratorium on all sugar-laden gifts. Then, take a few extra steps to lower the sugar intake in your daily diet.
What’s on Tap? - Carbonated beverages are the single greatest source of refined sugar in the American diet. A whopping one-half of all added sugars in the average American’s diet comes from soda and fruit drinks. Try eating the whole fruit instead of fruit juice and drink flavored water in place of soda.
- Mini-Size It – Portion sizes have grown exponentially during the past couple of decades. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average commercial cookie had 55 calories in the 1980s compared to 275 calories in the present day. Meanwhile, the average slice of cheesecake increased from a mere 260 calories to a gut-busting 640 calories. Battle back against this super-sizing phenomenon by cutting your portion sizes in half.
- Au Naturale – Got a sweet tooth? Try appeasing your palate with natural sugars instead of refined ones. Eat a small bowl of fresh fruit for dessert. Or eat an apple, which contains only 73 calories, rather than the 390-calorie slice of apple pie.
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.