Jar of Sugar.

The Sweet but Awful Truth About Sugar

Gulf Coast Healthy Living Magazine Volume 3, Issue 2 - Healthy Lives

It’s been vilified as a cause of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But it’s everywhere and many of us crave it more than we’d like to admit. Meet both enemy and friend: sugar. How bad is it and should we eradicate it from our diets altogether?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day (about 100 calories) and men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (about 130 calories). To put this in perspective, a 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. Sugar is one of those things in life that we may love but must enjoy in limited quantities. Below are a few tips on how to manage your sugar intake.

Check food labels

Food marketers are great at making packaged foods sound healthy. Just because something says low-fat, fat-free or whole grain, doesn’t mean it’s low in sugar.

When baking, look for recipes that use less sugar or consider making ingredient substitutions.

You may be able to use unsweetened applesauce, sugar substitutes or simply reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe.

It’s all about moderation.

Choose your favorite sweet food and select a modest portion. Eat slowly and really enjoy the taste and texture.

Although sugar consumption may not be a direct cause of diabetes, it may lead to weight gain that also can contribute to developing diabetes. Once a person has diabetes it is crucial to monitor sugar intake at all times. The Healthy Lives GoFight program offers diabetes education to residents of the Gulf Coast.