Imagine this: Take a quarter measuring cup, fill it to the brim with sugar, and then eat the whole thing in one sitting. Delicious, right?
Disgusting is more like it. Even as an intensely sweet-toothed kid, I wouldn’t have been able to do it (a teaspoon was my crunchy, decadent limit). But guess what? That’s exactly how much sugar is in a 16-ounce Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato.
Feeling sick yet?
Okay, no one goes to Starbucks for healthy drinks. But what about its frequent neighbor, Jamba Juice? They have a fresh smoothie called Amazing Greens, which they describe as a blend of “super greens, pumpkin seeds, peaches, lemon and bananas.” The actual ingredients aren’t so innocent. They also add up to 54 grams of sugar, which is equal to 16 teaspoons, or about 1/3 of a cup. Oh and that’s a small.
For further comparison: A regular can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar.
It’s not just in your drinks, however. It’s hiding in packaged foods everywhere. Without even realizing it the average American is consuming over 70 grams of sugar daily. Meanwhile, most health organizations suggest we limit our daily consumption to 25 grams.
“We tend to think that added sugar is mainly found in desserts like cookies and cakes, but it's also found in many savory foods, such as bread and pasta sauce. And some foods promoted as "natural" or "healthy" are laden with added sugars, compounding the confusion. In fact, manufacturers add sugar to 74% of packaged foods sold in supermarkets. So, even if you skip dessert, you may still be consuming more added sugar than is recommended.”
-SugarScience from UCSF
You’re not average, though. You forgo packaged cookies and candy bars. You don’t frequent Starbucks. You make your own smoothies, thank you very much. Your daily sugar intake must be below 25 grams.
Do you put creamer in your coffee? Trader Joe’s Vanilla Coffee Creamer is a popular option. It has 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon (and other questionable ingredients we won’t get into here).
Having a plain bagel and cream cheese for breakfast? That’s almost 10 grams of sugar. Well, then—you’ll have Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt, which only has…9 grams of sugar (just imagine how much the regular version has).
At least a Larabar Fruit and Nut bar can’t hurt, right? Wrong. It has 22 grams of sugar. in it.
You’re way over the sugar limit and you haven’t even had dinner.
Are there healthy alternatives to sugar?
Yes! But there are a few things you need to know first.
Artificial sweeteners are not the healthy alternative they’re made out to be. While they’re low-calorie or calorie-free, they don’t just pass through your body without any effects. In fact, they can potentially do three very unhelpful things:
You may not think your daily diet Coke is a big deal. It’s just a calorie-less treat, right? Uh-uh.
“A 14-year study of 66,118 women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (and supported by many previous and subsequent studies) discovered some frightening facts that should make us all swear off diet drinks and products:
Diet sodas raised the risk of diabetes more than sugar-sweetened sodas.
Women who drank one 12-ounce diet soda a week had a 33 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and women who drank one 20-ounce soda a week had a 66 percent increased risk.”
-Dr. Mark Hyman
Another big problem with sugar alternatives—even “healthy” ones, such as stevia—is that they continue to feed your sweet tooth. You lose the ability to appreciate the natural sweetness of vegetables and fruit. This is sad. You deserve to get all of the pleasure you can from the foods that love you back.
So what can you do? How can you learn to break free from sugar’s addictive nature? Look for my new program, Freedom From Sugar in 21 Days, to launch very soon!
It will set you on the path where you can enjoy an occasional organic chocolate chip cookie or artisanal ice cream (only the best for you, darling) and then walk away from it with no regrets, cravings, or concerns about your clothes fitting. Even better—sweets simply won’t be a big deal anymore. Yes, this can be your new normal.
Wishing you wonderfulness!