Cutting down on sugar

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

In addition to guidelines for nutrient rich foods to consume, the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that we cut foods high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and Trans fat. We have done segments in the past on salt and sodium and since a significant number of calories come from added sugar especially sugar sweetened beverages we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at sugar in beverages. I think you will be amazed at the number of teaspoons of sugar we can unknowingly consume in one day.


Sodas have been the subject of much discussion about added sugars and health and they should be really because they provide us with A LOT of calories and NO nutrients. This either causes us to not eat healthier foods and beverages (displacing the healthier fare) or causes us to just take in more calories attributing to the very evident obesity epidemic. However, soda is not the only culprit. Here is a day in the life of someone who drinks lots of sugar sweetened beverages.

Breakfast: 16 ounces of juice 12 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories
• Okay juice is healthy and does not contain “added” sugar but 16 ounces is excessive….try for 6-8 ounces instead
Mid-morning snack: Smoothie 7 teaspoons added sugar and 190 calories
• Again some smoothies can be very healthy without added sugar but some are high calories and have more added sugar than you think so check the labels or make your own!
Lunch: 16 oz. sweet tea with lunch = 8 teaspoons added sugar 120 calories
Mid-afternoon snack: 20 oz. soda =17teaspoons added sugar 250 calories
Before dinner walk: 12 oz. sports drink= 7 tsp. added sugar 115 calories
• A sports drink may be warranted if you exercise more than an hour or less than and hour at high intensity.
Dinner: WATER (yippee nice choice) = 0 tsp. added sugar 0 calories

Total calories consumed in beverages: 783
Exercise equivalent = 2.5-3 hours of walking just to burn off beverages!

Think before you drink.
Practice portion control.

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