Sugar. In. Everything. Not that a little bit of sweetness ,every now and then, is harmful, but the typical American diet is filled with so much sugar, that keeping your added sugar intake less that 50 grams per day , about 12 teaspoons, is considered to be eating clean by some.My ginger beer from the health food store has over 30 grams of sugar which is not too different from the major cola companies. And that pint of butter pecan ice cream hits it out of the park with sugar and cholesterol. Three servings per pint vs 1 pint in one sitting.
Sugar starts and ends the day. A stack of pancakes or waffles soaked in syrup from the school cafeteria or home. Or maybe a bowl of multicolored cereal , a cup of caramel macchiato , a toaster tart, a glass of fruit juice( or blend) or a breakfast bar on the go. Wash lunch down with a can of soda( name brand or artisanal), sweet tea or an energy drink, and maybe the total is over 80 gm of added sugar before dinnertime. Hungry at the mall? . Your favorite cinnamon roll from the food court has 58 grams of added sugar. How many mall miles do you have to walk to burn off those calories?
At the end of the day, most Americans eat about 26 teaspoons of sugar per day.Yet, there is still controversy and always will be, over the role of sugar in increasing obesity rates in the US and other Western countries. Sugar is big business with deep pockets and lots of beneficiaries.
So you won't find the recommended daily amount (RDA) amount for sugar, unlike for fat, carbohydrates and protein, on nutrition labels. The documentary, "Fed Up", explains in detail why sugar is so ingrained in the American diet despite increasing obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates in children and adults. It also exhaustively outlines the long arm of the sugar industry to the White House, Congress and US supported international health organizations like the World Health Organization.
Sugar is king ,queen, the big joker and the whole royal court.
Infant formulas have lactose, found naturally in breast milk, and a drizzle of sucrose, table sugar. One infant soy formula has about almost 2 teaspoons of sugar in an 8 oz serving. After being fed a sugar filled diet since birth, is it any wonder that kids have a sweet tooth and have cavities during their first dental visit. This isn't a brushing or toothpaste issue, this is a hidden sugar issue that would surprise most parents.
When we talk about social determinants of health, food insecurity, especially to fresh food, is a risk factor for common chronic health diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart disease. Inserting grocery stores hasn't increased the daily vegetable and fruit intake in food deserts for a variety of reasons, but that's another discussion. From 2015-2016, according to the CDC, over 30% of Americans were obese- a body mass index of over 30.
Even if you don't appear to be overweight, visceral fat, visible on specialized X-rays, sees it all, hidden fat around the liver, intestines and other abdominal organs. Inside and out, Americans are growing in all the wrong places and eating themselves to medical specialists, hospitals, pharmacies ,bankruptcy and early graves .
National and international health organizations have recommended limiting sugar intake for decades. At the same time, food manufactures have focused on limiting the fat concentrations in their products while heaping on piles of sugar. The World Health Organization recommends that no more that 5 percent of daily calorie intake come from added sugar; that amounts to about 10 grams of added sugar per day for a 2000 calorie diet. The American Heart Association has recommended that 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men is more than enough for daily intake.
So when you step on the scale, remember that since childhood , your risk factors for some cancers and preventable chronic health illnesses health were fueled by sugar, some hidden, some not. From the sucrose or corn syrup solids in your infant formula , to the sugar from your favorite food truck, convenience store , artisanal food vendor, fast food, and vegan establishments , elevated added sugar i ,saturated fat , cholesterol ,and calorie intake are all risk factors for preventable illnesses.
But there is always hope and determination on the road to wellness.Take a look in your cabinets and pantry, read the nutrition labels and learn exactly how much added sugar is in your home and diet. Create a meal from scratch with whole foods. but from our CSA. It takes time to cook but look around, kids can take chicken out of the freezer and wash a bunch of parsley or lettuce. Some kids can even slice a cucumber or create your house salad dressing.
In the end, your bottomline and waistline may improve. Create your own flavored drinks-there are so many herbs, fruit and spices available to flavor your own water without added sugar, caffeine or food dyes. And most of all, read the nutrition labels, especially the added sugar content, and be careful with food products that don't have nutrition labels.
At the beginning and end of the day, it's your health and wellness that matters.
" The medication just makes me crave carbs. "
I've heard this comment for more than a few people on a variety of medications, especially ones living with depression, anxiety and other behavioural health conditions. Because of the weight gain, one friend was thinking of discontinuing one medication in particular. In medical records, in the past hopefully ,health care professionals document this as "patient noncompliance" , without asking why medications are discontinued or understanding each patient's unique needs or breaking points.
Gaining weight was a dealbreaker for my friend, but before the medication was dropped with a quickness, she talked with her physician. And the physician listened and made adjustments to the medication regime. Time will tell if the changes result in the desired effects.
But before the prescription changes, we discussed this mystery "carb craving. The usual suspects are in plastic packaging, usually low in fiber, high in salt , high in sugar ,rich in empty calories that fuel weight gain, displayed near the checkout counter, and leave you hungry 30 minutes later. Not apples, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kale, collard greens or spinach. Sugar, fiber and starch are all carbohydrates, but fiber rich foods at least keep you sated and satisfied and help keep you hydrated. I recommended keeping a food/mood diary just to get an idea of what foods, how much food , and the most likely time/place that carb consumption takes place. Like eating a pint of ice cream in bed at night while watching or binging your favorite show on a screen. All clues on the weight gain mystery.
But, the fact is, some medications can increase your appetite, affect your metabolism, or absorption of certain compounds. Some medications to treat psychosis, epilepsy,hypertension, Type 2 diabetes,inflammation, depression, and also birth control pills, can cause weight gain. Along with the original diagnosis, weight gain can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension obesity, arthritis,sleep apnea, some cancers, polycystic ovarian syndrome( can lead to infertility) nonalcoholic fatty liver disease( NAFLD), and stroke. No one has time or interest in developing another diagnosis while trying to treat the initial diagnosis.
Ideally, before the prescription is submitted to the pharmacy, healthcare practitioners discuss side effects with patients- especially weight gain- and discuss nutrition and other prevention techniques to mitigate medication side effects. If they don't, ask questions about side effects and discuss them with your physician and your pharmacist before you sign the signature line on the screen.
In some cases, consultation with a registered dietitian can help. Registered dietitians are uniquely qualified to recommend an individualized plan of action that meets your nutritional needs based on your medical history, while also understanding your unique food likes/dislikes. No food should be off limits, to a degree, but a diet that meets your nutritional needs has to take priority over packed ,highly processed, sugared ,and salted foods. In humans, vitamins and minerals don't just create themselves. Unlike goats and their ruminant bacteria that manufacture their own Vitamin, K, C and B vitamins, humans need plants for most of their vitamin needs.
So if you are craving carbs, order from our CSA, we have the carbs you need.