Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Who wins the Sugar battle on Bastille Day?

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Chocolate Éclair vs Three Musketeers

Key takeaway: You have no clue how much sugar you are eating. If you are looking to lose weight or improve your health, tracking sugar is the best place to start. Sugar is often overlooked in the realm of diets. In addition to the natural sugar that is already present in our everyday food, manufacturers and food processors add sugar to the products we consume. It is this “added sugar” that is at the root of several health problems.

Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruits. (See the USDA website for more details)

It is now proven that eating too much added sugar significantly increases the risk of dying from heart disease. (Harvard Medical School Article) The extensive 15-year study conducted on over 11,000 adults throughout the U.S., published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2014, concluded to the significant risk for CVD mortality from consumption of added sugar. The United States government, however, has not endorsed the daily limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO) on added sugar, and does not provide any guidelines for how much sugar we should have in a day (or, more accurately, how much sugar we should avoid in our diet). Instead, we must look to private institutions, like the American Heart Association, which released a useful paper with recommendations for dietary added sugar intake, entitled “Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.” (AHA)



As you start monitoring your total sugar intake for the day, here is a simple benchmark to remember: one teaspoon of sugar is equal to four grams of sugar. The AHA recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day for men and 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women. This is like a maximum of one small Three Musketeers bar for men (36 grams) and one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar for women (24 grams). However, the average daily intake of sugar in the United States is a whopping 22 teaspoons (88 grams) – two to three times the recommended level.

A regular Three Musketeers bar has 36 grams of sugar (3 Musketeers), which is equivalent to 9 teaspoons of sugar in a single bar. This single snack bar has more than the average recommended sugar intake for a woman for the entire day, and it is enough to exhaust almost anybody’s daily sugar goal. Notice that there is approximately five times more sugar in a 54 gram Three Musketeers bar than there is in a 100 gram chocolate éclair.






Additionally, the Three Musketeers bar has more Bad Fat than the fresh pastry, and it exemplifies what we often refer to as empty calories: it is pure sugar without fiber or protein. Only 1 gram of protein in a bar vs. 6 grams of protein in the Éclair. Also notice the nearly identical Calorie count at the end that would completely mask all of these critical differences if that were the only factor you were paying attention to.

So, who wins the sugar battle on Bastille Day? Definitely the Chocolate Éclair. Enjoy a fresh pastry rather than processed chocolate bars if you can afford to.

The reason why most diets fail is because dieters try to avoid fat altogether with the false notion that it will solve all their problems. It does not. The main villain in your diet is most often the sugar, not the good or bad fat, therefore tracking sugar is most important.

Happy Bastille Day :)

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