This post is the 5th in a series of 10 titled “10 Simple Steps to Make Good Habits More Delicious” from the Sport, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition group.
Sugar is definitely getting a bad reputation lately. Do you know why? Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that gives some foods their sweet taste. Sugar is dense in calories and not very dense in nutrients. Let me explain what that means: sugar can contribute to weight gain while it does not have any nutritional value.
Let’s set something straight: a little sugar will not kill you! Sugar can be used as a quick energy boost or a sweet reward! However, we should control how much we eat daily. Each teaspoon of sugar has 4 grams of sugar. Men should limit the amount of sugar to 9 teaspoons (36g) a day. Women are encouraged to limit their daily sugar consumption to less than 6 teaspoons (24g) a day.
Here are some foods high in sugar that should be limited:
- Regular soda (1 can has 33g sugar!)
- Grain based desserts
- Fruit drinks
- Dairy based desserts
Next, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to limit the amount of solid fats we eat. Fat is a nutrient that we need, but in less quantities than we eat every day. Solid (saturated) fat is very high in calories (9 calories/ gram!) and has minimal nutritional value. High solid fat intake has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. Here are some foods that are high in solid fat and can be limited as well:
- Grain based desserts such as cakes, cookies, pies, and doughnuts
- Regular cheese
- High Fats meats such as sausage, bacon, and ground beef
- Fried foods
- Dairy based desserts made with whole milk
You may be asking, “so what can I eat instead?” Here is a list of great and nourishing alternatives!
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low fat dairy
Remember, small changes can have a big impact on your health!
As Always, Trust Your Gut!