How to Lower Sugar in Your Diet | HealthiNation

Uploaded by HealthiNation on 16.02.2012

I’m Lynn Goldstein, a Registered Dietitian.
Sugar. It’s sweet and simple right? Well, no. There’s more to the sweet stuff than
you’d think, more and less. Raw sugar, honey, table sugar, brown sugar, molasses, cane juice,
malt syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, These are all
different forms of sugar, high in calories and low in nutrients.
So what’s the low down on the sugar high? Sugar is the essential energy source we need
live. In particular, glucose (the simplest form of sugar) is our body’s preferred fuel.
It’s what our cells burn. Most of our glucose comes from the carbohydrates we eat.
There are two kinds of carbohydrates. Complex carbs include whole grain breads and cereals,
and starchy vegetables. Many complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber and other nutrients
along with all that energy. Simple carbs include sugars found naturally in foods like honey,
fruits, vegetables, dairy products. Simple carbs also include sugars added during food
processing…and those are the ones to avoid, which is not always so easy to do.
That’s because the typical American diet includes more refined food than ever before
and too many of us are “mainlining” sugar as a result. That’s because of all the places
manufacturers “hide” sugar in their foods. Added sugar is everywhere, in lots of different
Table sugar (or sucrose) is a combination of fructose and glucose which are both simple
sugars produced naturally by plants.  
What about high fructose corn syrup? Now there’s no naturally occurring fructose in corn. 
But, in the 1950’s, scientists found a way to transform the glucose in corn into fructose. 
The resulting mixture is 90% fructose (which is very sweet).
The benefit of high fructose corn syrup is that it’s cheaper and dissolves more easily
in liquid than table sugar does. Also, high fructose corn syrup acts as a preservative.
These qualities make high fructose corn syrup very attractive to food manufacturers, especially
as an ingredient in many sweetened drinks like sodas and other processed foods.
But there have been growing concerns about the role high fructose corn syrup plays in
encouraging obesity.  Some studies suggest that drinking calories is more likely to cause
weight gain than eating the same amount of calories from solid foods. This may be because
liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods, so people tend to “over
do it”. And high fructose corn syrup in drinks and other processed foods sure packs
in the calories while being light on nutritional value.
The American Heart Association recommends that most American women should consume no
more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, and for men…no more than 150 calories a
day. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 for men. To give you an idea
of what that really means: one 12-ounce can of a sweetened soft drink contains 8 teaspoons
of added sugar, or about 130 calories. That’s already near or over the recommended daily
limit! In fact, most Americans get more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, or 355
calories, way beyond both the USDA guidelines and the American Heart Association recommendations.
Here’s what I tell my patients: cut down on the added sugar in your diet and keep your
eye on maintaining a healthy weight. By doing that, you’ll lower your risk for serious
conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even
tooth decay! Now that’s sweet.