WISDOM NUGGET: WE SKEW OUR SELF-PERCEPTIONS, OFTEN EXCUSING NUTRITIONAL FAUX PAS.
BASICALLY: WE LIE TO OURSELVES
Twenty five grams of sugar. That is the suggested daily maximum sugar intake for the average adult female.
Diabetes has reared its ugly head on both sides of my family. Although I eat a very nutritious, well balanced diet, I decided to cut back on my “added sugar” intake. I didn’t think it would be a noticeable change because I rarely eat prepackaged foods and felt I had a good handle on overall dietary balance.
I was really, terribly wrong.
Celebrating one year of sugar success this past November, I was reflecting on what a tremendous learning experience this has been. I have been eating no more than 24 grams of added sugar each day.
I do eat natural sugars—fruit specifically—and I made the personal decision to not track this but to be aware that it is still sugar and not overdo it. I eat trail mix when I am adventuring and traveling but not as a day-to-day snack, keeping in mind the dried fruits are high in sugar.
The added sugar in yogurts or other seemingly healthy foods, these are the areas that needed a new strategy.
Any nutritional element that you take the time to track, even temporarily, is a real eye opening experience. We have a way of skewing our perceptions, often excusing our nutritional faux pas by simply focusing on celebration of our dietary “wins”. It’s just what we humans do.
No one is perfect and that’s just fine; we should absolutely continue to be proud of ourselves for the good choices we might be making. Unfortunately, we also need to shine a light on our little faux pas. Each may be small but they’re cumulative and herein lies the long term health concerns.
Did I eat a sleigh full of buttery cookies in December? Yes, I did. I savored every naughty little morsel too.
DARK YOGURT SECRETS & DARK CHOCOLATE? - READ MORE, CLICK TO THE RIGHT
It really is okay to have our treats now and again but often our palates are so out of whack, we lose sight of the appropriate balance. Sugar is hidden in a dizzying array of foods.
Tracking what you eat can be a real snooze-fest. But if you want to see if you’re off balance in some area, it’s a full proof way to educate yourself. I temporarily kept a spreadsheet of my added sugar intake and was floored by what I learned.
Much like Elaine in the now-famous “sponge worthy” Seinfeld episode, I had to ask myself each and every time—is it worth it? Are those whopping 17 grams of organic peach yogurt-sugar worth it, knowing it would allot for more than fifty percent of my total sugar intake for the day?
Needless to say, yogurt got a pretty quick demotion to plain yogurt only. I need to save those sugar grams for a little honey in my tea, a few squares of dark chocolate and my decadent post-dinner coconut “ice cream” bar.
Looking for a way to ease into a sugar reduction?
Dark chocolate, now lauded for its health benefits, can be a lower sugar treat. I beg you, though, read the label. If it’s loaded with “cookies and cream” then it’s loaded with sugar. Plain, espresso beans and mint can often be a good choice. Look for a cocoa content of 70% or higher, most of the claimed health benefits are said to kick in at this higher level.
Everyone needs to make choices that are best for their lifestyle and dietary outlook. If you want to dabble in sugar reduction, start by reading the labels for everything you eat. If you want to have an understanding of how much sugar you’re truly consuming, then take the time to track your added sugar intake for just 5 days.
Really track it; be honest and don’t sugar coat the results.
If you’re looking to really dive in, then email me for additional tips, tricks and recipes. I’d be happy to share more about my journey.
chef mel has been creating food experiences for over 20 years. she embraces an "aspiring homesteader" lifestyle & grows over 40 types of edibles when she's not teaching classes & hosting farm dinners. she adores simplicity, new food & edible flowers. her writing reminds us there's wisdom & humor among the seeds, stalks & sauce pots. we're not perfect & that's okay - keep it genuine & journey on!