Americans consume about 150 pounds of sugar a year in processed foods, sweets, and beverages according to a 2000 study published by Disease Prevention And Treatment by Life Extension Foundation. That amount of sugar is a five pound bag every seven to 10 days per person. Compare that statistic with the nearly six pounds of broccoli consumed a year (up from 2.7 in 1980), according to an agricultural resource website.
Most of us know that sugar is found in Halloween bags, cookies and cakes at the office and of course in the double latte at our favorite coffee shop (more when we add the munchkins or muffin that comes with it for free if you get a large.) However, when we really start to read labels we find sugar hidden in almost everything we eat.
Where is 150 pounds of sugar hidden? According to heart.org, the content of sugar in the following is:
- Soft drinks, 33 percent
- Sugars and candy, 16.1 percent
- Cakes, cookies and pies, 12.9 percent
- Fruit drinks, 9.7 percent
- Dairy desserts (frozen yogurt, ice cream), 8.6 percent
- Sweetened grains (cereals, waffles, cinnamon toast), 5.8 percent
Learning how to identify sugar is the first trick to decreasing consumption. Don't let fool you with the nutrition labels. Read the ingredients to find sugar is often one of the first three ingredients under many aliases. Anything with an "ose" or "ol" at the end of a word (such as in dextrose and sorbitol) is a form of sugar. The Corn Refiners Association has figured out that people are starting to avoid "High Fructose Corn Syrup" and have changed the name to "corn syrup".
Sugar and sweets may be yummy but due to the large consumption of sugar in our diets, the average American has a one-in-three chance of becoming diabetic and/or obese and at younger ages than ever before, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Did you know that three "fun-sized" candies are the equivalent to the maximum suggested 40 grams of sugar per day?
Don't buy it. Sugar-filled foods are expensive. The complaint that 'healthy food is more expensive' is simply not true. Compare a bag of Snickers or a latte which offers no nutrition to that of a pepper, cucumber, tomato and small bunch of romaine at $3 to $5.
Not having it in the house or office is another easy trick to stop the treats. Its like having in a house where one is trying to quit. This is a huge challenge when businesses and visitors are guilting us with the "if you love me you'll have another." Give some (or all) of your Halloween candy away. A group of 12 local businesses have come together to put a smile on the faces of the American troops overseas while they help to keep your fun-sized candy to a minimum. Bring your candy to any of the following locations by Nov. 9. They will gratefully combine it and create a care package for those away from their families during the upcoming holidays.
4 Better Health (contact me for pickup)
(in Milford and Holliston)
(collecting at Milford Youth Center)
Hockomock Area YMCA