I know it's a surprising title, especially from a dietitian, right when quitting sugar is the trendiest thing to do these days. I think most people eat too much sugar -- 25 teaspoons a day is the average, which is higher than the recommended six to nine teaspoons -- so this post isn't about encouraging you to eat more.
Here comes the sugar rush. You know how much fun it was for you to trick or treat and you want the kids to have the same kind of fun. Only now, you know that sugar is really bad for them. So how do you balance the fun with the responsibility of knowledge (without getting egged for giving out lectures for Halloween)?
It's been a rather tough year for artificial sweeteners. In that time, three new studies have been released suggesting they are poor substitutes for sugar. In the spring, an investigation into their use revealed a disconcerting association with the onset of depression. Then, a long-term analysis of their use revealed they may contribute to overall weight gain.
As with all matters of nutrition, context is important. Sugar shouldn't be shunned altogether; rather looked at in context within the lifestyle and other dietary habits of the person. To help you better understand the context of sugar in your diet, let's look at the role of sugar in your food, what else you are eating, and the quality of the carbohydrate you're consuming.
The so-called "War on Sugar" has ramped up recently. But anyone with a child should have already been aware that sugar is a drug. I clearly recall the joys of quaffing corner-store candies. Nobody wants to be the parent that denies their child that pleasure. But, at the very least, we need to be the parents who are saying "no" more often.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that are either chemically made or derived from natural substances. Consumers love them because they are calorie-free and can aid in weight loss, but no one ever gets a "free ride." They are usually nutrient empty and still trick your brain and body into craving more sugar.
Only by calling food addiction by its proper name can we begin to speak frankly about how to help one another recover. Until then, food addicts like me will continue to struggle to control that which cannot be controlled. Many will keep trying, and failing, to "eat like a normal person." And many will decide, like I did, that their inability to change is simply a sign of weakness.
Many moms are wakened on Mother's Day by an ominous clattering in the kitchen: your loving-hearted children preparing to surprise you with coffee or hot chocolate in bed. There's also that cinnamon toast or oatmeal positively doused with sugar. What many moms don't realize is that such meals usually come courtesy of a whole crew of children.
As a dietitian, I'm often posed nutrition and fitness questions by my clients, friends and family. Free and mainly confusing advice from non-food and nutrition experts and often the media makes my role as a communicator both interesting and challenging at times. Let's explore the top three subjects I'm frequently asked about, in order to set the record straight on some common questions.
I used to think that fat was the bad guy in our diets. We were told to cut back on butter, cream and full fat anything because saturated fats contributed to heart disease. But a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that there was no significant evidence that dietary saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. But it's not quite that simple.
These days many would consider "sugar" a bad word. The basis for such thinking is flawed, and the important thing to note is that sugar, in any of its forms, is not the enemy of our diets. Just like everything else, sugar needs to be consumed in moderation. It doesn't make sense to completely eliminate sugar from our diet.