Should You Give Up Sugar?

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Tamar Genger MA, RD
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Alec Baldwin, star of NBC hit comedy “30 Rock”, attributes his recent weight loss to giving up sugar.  In a recent interview, he told Access Hollywood, “I gave up sugar. I lost 30 pounds in four months. It’s amazing.”  From Hollywood to the American Heart Association, sugar is under attack.

The American Heart Association says no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar for most women and no more than 150 calories a day for most men. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 for men.

Most Americans get more than 22 teaspoons — or 355 calories — of added sugar a day, which far exceeds anyone’s recommended limits.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for the first time recommends cutting back on calories from SoFAS, solid fats and added sugars.

Isn’t sugar in everything?

All sugar, whether natural or processed, is a type of simple carbohydrate that your body uses for energy. Sugar occurs naturally in some unprocessed foods that are staples of a healthy diet — fruits, vegetables, milk and some grains.  These natural sugars are not a problem.

Added sugars are those used in most processed foods and are found in different forms.  Such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup, fructose, crystalline fructose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup solids, etc. These and other forms of sugar are common in processed food because they boost flavor, give texture and color, preserve foods such as jams and jellies, assist in fermentation of baked goods, and balances the acidity of foods containing vinegar and tomatoes.

Too much sugar can lead to many health problems, including tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and increased triglycerides with can lead to heart disease.

It is very hard to give up sugar entirely and I am not ready to suggest that to all of you, but you should try and cut out as much as you can.  Switch from processed foods to whole foods.  Make your own meals, sauces and snacks so you can control how much sugar goes in, if any.  Try to replace added sugars with the natural sweetness from fresh and dried fruit.

Don't miss our article on lowering sugar for Purim.

Sources http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/added-sugar/my00845