Tuesday, March 23, 2010

National Nutrition Month: Ahh Sugar, Sugar

March is National Nutrition Month and so it is a good time to revisit a nemesis those of us who are overweight or have struggled with our weight: sugar. Specifically, liquid sugar.

One of the easiest ways to lose weight permanently, naturally and safely is to reduce the amount of sugar we consume...and one of the easiest ways to do that is to forgo soft drinks.

I'm not in favor of saying you should "never" eat or drink something but sodas are best put on a list of items we extremely rarely ingest.

A single can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar!!! But sodas aren't the only culprit. We may think a high-energy drink or sports drink would be better for us...or iced tea, fruit juice or lemonade...but we'd most likely be wrong. Quick flip that can or bottle over and see what makes the list of ingredients. If it reads high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or other sugars and/or syrups it is pretty much the same--sugar that adds unneeded calories to our bodies.

While you are looking at that ingredient list, take a look at the number of servings in that can/bottle. You may be surprised to find that single can/bottle is actually more than a "single serving"...that is just one of the ways that manufacturers get away with misleading the consumer into thinking they are taking in fewer calories, less sugar/fat/etc.

When I was a kid we sometimes were traveling to countries where drinking the water was not safe and therefore we drank sodas. Fortunately, we don't have that problem much in the USA, and if your tap water is bad either temporarily or long-term, it is usually possible to get excellent water locally--a quick drive to the grocery store.

Still, in the USA, 47 gallons of soda per person was consumed in 2008. Some of us aren't doing our share...so that means most people are probably drinking more than 50 gallons of the stuff a year. That would be about a gallon of soda a week per person! With sugar consumption like that it should be no surprise we are a nation of overweight people with attention problems!

If you drink just one soda a day at roughly 150 calories per soda, that is a total of 54,750 calories of pure sugar. And a pound is equal to about 3500 calories. That means by eliminating just that one soda from your diet every day you could theoretically lose 15.64 pounds in a year--without changing any other habit!

But if the fact that soda has no nutritional value and only serves to make us fat isn't enough, it also increases our risk for diabetes and heart disease. So focus on loving yourself enough to be healthy and reduce the amount of sugar you drink this month...and start a trend you can live with...and have weight loss success with!

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