Curbing Your Sweet Tooth

We are just coming off of the candy holiday, Halloween and I am sure you have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.”

This is not always 100% true, but there is some real truth to this statement. As a Registered Dietitian Los Angeles, I have learned from experience that optimal nutrition comes from within. Once you start to listen to your body, you will feel the benefits of heart healthy foods and exercise. You are only given one body; therefore it is important to nourish it the right way for long lasting overall health. I recommend filling up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and being physically active for at least 30 minutes per day. It is all about balance, variety and moderation in regards to both nutrition and life. Optimal health can be achieved when you are ready and motivated.

Nutrition For Body And Mind will teach you…

* Essential components of nutrition
* Nutrient composition of specific foods
* Physical Activity benefits and exercises
* Behavior & lifestyle modification
* Motivational tactics
* Emotional support
* Guidance to help you achieve your individual goals along the way

We just came off “the candy holiday”, Halloween, so I’ve decided to include some pertinent information regarding sweets and learning how to curb your sweet tooth!

WATCH OUT! In general, we are on a sugar overload! Consuming excessive calories from sugar is oftentimes to blame for weight gain. Research has shown that added sugars or sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to obesity and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. With the diabetes epidemic on the rise, we need to watch our intake from added sugar!

Between 1970 and 2005, our intake of added sugars (i.e. cane and beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and other sweeteners) jumped by 20%. Currently, Americans consume 22-30 teaspoons of sugar per day, equivalent to 350-480 empty calories per day that most people cannot afford!

Added sugars either crowd out healthy foods, or make you gain weight, if you eat them in addition to healthy foods. In 2001, Americans got an estimated 21% of their calories from beverages (9% higher than in 1965).

What are the sources of the added sugar??

* Regular sodas add the most sugar to a typical American’s diet
* Sugars and candy, chocolates
* Cakes, cookies and pies
* Dairy desserts (i.e. Ice cream, yogurts)
* Fruits drinks (i.e. Juice, Snapple, Hawaiian Punch)
* Sports drinks (i.e. Gatorade
* Energy drinks (i.e. Monster, Red Bull, Rockstar)
* Dessert coffee drinks, sweetened teas
* Grains (i.e. pastries, muffins, scones, biscuits)
* Other (i.e. honey, corn syrup, sorbet, ect)

Most sugary foods are junk, such as Cinnabon, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, Little Debbie, Hostess, etc. They are termed “empty calories” because they offer little to no nutritional value and virtually worthless white flour to your total daily calorie allowance. In addition, if liquid calories are consumed before a meal, people do no compensate by eating less at the meal in the same way they do from eating solid calories, which leads to weight gain.

However, you are given a small discretionary calorie allowance. Think of it like the discretionary income that people can spend on luxuries once they’ve paid their bills.

* “Discretionary calorie allowance”: the amount of room you have left for calories once you’ve eaten all the vegetables, fruit, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains that your body requires.

In addition, if you drink a glass of wine or beer regularly, you should consume less added sugar to balance out your total daily intake. If you want to eat more sugar, you need to exercise more in order to maintain your weight and keep your blood sugars within range (especially if you have Diabetes).

Rule of thumb:

If you’re trying to cut back on added sugars, pay close attention to what you’re drinking. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and limit fruit juices to no more than 8 ounces per day. In addition, monitor your intake of solid foods with added sugar (see the list above for sources).

What is the new target for daily sugar intake??

The American Heart Association suggests only 100 calories (25 grams or 6.25 teaspoons) a day of added sugars for women and 150 calories (38 grams or 9.4 teaspoons) a day of added sugars for men. Be more aware of your sugar consumption and watch the pounds shed away.