Let's Talk About Sugar Awareness!
Sugar awareness is a term you probably are not familiar with but it is something you should definitely become accustomed to.
Sugar is a pretty polarizing substance. While many of us love it, we also know in the back of our heads that it is not good for us at all. The natural remedy to that is to moderate it, of course! While it sounds easy on the surface—just avoid donuts, cookies, and candy—it deserves more attention than that. Sugar can be found in many different products these days, products I'm sure many people are not aware of. Has it always been this way? Sugar sneaking its way into almost every area of the supermarket? Not quite. Let's look at how we got here.
In the 1970s, the American government started to spread the word around that the typical American diet consisted of too much fat, which was true and was easy for people to understand, seeing as how "fat" contained the very word: fat! This began a process of many different diet fads throughout the next few decades. One of those fads showed up in the 1990s; it was the "low-fat, non-fat" diet. It was simple, offering an option that eliminated most or all fat from the product that usually contains high amounts of fat, and would be almost the same as the original product!
Except, it wasn't anything like the original product. It tasted pretty terrible. People still bought the stuff for a little while, until they just couldn't take it anymore and the low-fat non-fat industry started to take a hit. They then realized if they throw some good 'ole sugar in there to replace the fat, then it won't taste so bad! That's what happened. Companies wanted to make foods that tasted good, and had a low number on the "fat" section of the food label. That brings us to now, where we are facing what some call a sugar epidemic.
According to the American Heart Association, the average American male should consume nine teaspoons of sugar a day at most, and six teaspoons for women. The reality is, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, which translates to 57 pounds of sugar a year. 57 pounds! There is no one guilty party here; there are various reasons we have gotten to this point, where we are today. I just want to highlight some foods that perceive themselves as healthy, or even just neutral, in the health department, that contain high amounts of sugar.
- Fruit Juice
- BBQ Sauce (other condiments as well)
- Packaged Fruit
- Protein Bars
- Cereal/Breakfast Bars
- Pre-bottled Fruit Smoothies
- Yogurt (even low-fat)
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Frozen Low-Fat Desserts
- Bottled Iced Tea
- Vegetable Juice
While some of these aren't the peak of healthy eating, it was surprising to me to find sugar loaded in a lot of these products. A few months ago I began a sugar detox, and the first thing I had to do was add the habit of reading food labels. That is what I am going to suggest to anyone reading this, that are worried about their sugar consumption. For the most part (we won't get into this here), food labels are facts. Anything you buy outside of freshly-packaged goods will have a food label. Fortunately, food brands are now catching onto the fact that sugar is the problem as much as fat used to be the problem, and are offering low-to-no sugar options. You know what? Those options are surprisingly good these days! Whatever research and progress that has been done the past few decades has been a step forward, in the healthy option food category.
My message here isn't to completely eliminate sugar from your life. What fun would life be, if we could never eat cake ever again? As I titled this article, it's time for more of us to gain sugar awareness. Take a look at what you eat and what it contains, and I'm positive for many of you, the results will shock you. With sugar awareness, you can moderate the sugar you put in your body big time, and make over-consumption a thing of the past.