Processed sugar: What is it, and where does it come from?
First, let me start by reassuring you that there’s no shame in having a little sweet tooth. I promote nutritional moderation and lifestyle balance in my practice, but moderating sweets can be challenging, especially around holidays like Halloween.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 100 calories per day for women, and no more than 150 calories per day for men. This comes out to a maximum of 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men. For reference, there are 8 grams of added sugar in a Snickers Original Fun Size candy bar. Even products that are marketed as “healthier” like iced tea vs soda, aren’t always healthy. A standard 18.5 fl. oz. Pure Leaf sweet tea bottle contains 42 grams of sugar.
So what exactly is “added” sugar? Processed or added sugars refer to sugar that is not naturally occurring in that food. Most Nutrition Facts panels now list the number of Added Sugars relative to total grams of sugar, so that’s the first place to check. Another key place to look is the actual Ingredients List for words including (but not limited to) ‘syrup’ and ‘cane sugar’. This indicates that addition sugar has been added to the food.
The effects of processed sugar on our body are nothing short of spooky, but artificial sweeteners aren’t necessarily “better”, either. This can be a sticky topic (pun included), so if you’d like to know more about reducing processed sugar in your diet, discussing healthy sweet swaps, or want to create your individualized Nutrition Care Plan, we encourage you to schedule a Nutrition Consultation with our new Wellness Practitioner Natasha Schultz. She will meet you wherever you’re at on your journey, and help you reach your optimal well-being, one small change at a time.
By Tasha Schultz CWP, NASM-CNC