An orange has four times the fiber of six ounces of orange juice and has 65 calories!
Choose your carbohydrates from a range of nutrient-dense, low saturated fat foods whenever possible. Choose a diet with low to moderate amounts of simple carbohydrates and higher amounts of fiber and other complex carbohydrates.
There are many different types of sugars; naturally occurring sugars, which are found in foods such as fruit and dairy products, and added sugars, which are added by manufacturers to foods such as soda or candy. From a nutritional standpoint however, there is a big difference between these sugar sources.
Foods that contain naturally occurring sugar tend to be nutrient dense and thus provide more nutrition per bites, where foods that contain added sugar tend to give little else. The calories in sugar laden foods are called empty calories because they provide so little nutrition.
Between 1980 and 2000, our yearly consumption of added sugars increased by more than 20%! Sugars function as preservatives and thickeners in foods such as sauces. It is also used to make yeast in breads rise. And of course, sugars make foods taste sweet.
A super large soda at a movie theatre, 64oz. contains 800 calories, and over 50 teaspoons of added sugars.
While it is not completely necessary to avoid all sugars, reducing added sugars and consuming nutrient dense high fiber carbohydrates may be effective. This will help avoid weight gain and excess body fat. Research has shown that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 11 types of cancers including colorectal, postmenopausal breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer.
Check the Nutrition Facts Labels for the following ingredients; it does not distinguish between naturally occurring and added sugars. For example, the nutrition labels on ready to eat cereals such as raisin bran and dairy products such as milk list 21 grams of sugars for raisin bran and 12 grams for low fat milk. This can be misleading, as the grams of sugars listed for the raisin bran cereal include both the amount of naturally occurring sugars from the raisins and the sugars added to sweeten the cereal. For the milk, the sugar listed on the Nutrition Facts panel includes the naturally occurring sugar, lactose.
Look for these added sugars: Sugar, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and fructose.
Added sugars are found in soft drinks, sugars and candy, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit punch, ice cream, yogurt, and grains, cinnamon toast, canned fruit, and sweetened waffles. Sugar consumption should be kept at about 8-9 teaspoons daily or 9% of total calories. Most American’s consume, on average over 30 teaspoons of added sugars daily!
Naturally occurring sugars and added sugars
There are two types of sugars in American diets: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.
- Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).
- Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).
You can use sugars to help enhance your diet. Adding a limited amount of sugar to improve the taste of foods (especially for children) that provide important nutrients, such as whole-grain cereal, low-fat milk or yogurt, is better than eating nutrient-poor, highly sweetened foods.
Sources of added sugars
The major sources of added sugars in American diets are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks; dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified some common foods with added sugars. The table below lists a few examples and the number of calories from added sugars they contain. Note the calories here are only from added sugars in the food, not the total amount of calories in the food.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell easily by looking at the nutrition facts panel of a food if it contains added sugars. The line for “sugars” includes both added and natural sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose). Any product that contains milk (such as yogurt, milk or cream) or fruit (fresh, dried) contains some natural sugars.
Reading the ingredient list on a processed food’s label can tell you if the product contains added sugars, just not the exact amount if the product also contains natural sugars.
Names for added sugars on labels include:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
Here are some product terms related to sugars, and their meanings:
- Sugar-Free – less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving
- Reduced Sugar or Less Sugar – at least 25 percent less sugars per serving compared to a standard serving size of the traditional variety
- No Added Sugars or Without Added Sugars – no sugars or sugar-containing ingredient such as juice or dry fruit is added during processing
- Low Sugar – not defined or allowed as a claim on food labels
Although you can’t isolate the calories per serving from added sugars with the information on a nutrition label, it may be helpful to calculate the calories per serving from total sugars (added sugars and naturally occurring sugars). To do this, multiply the grams of sugar by 4 (there are 4 calories per 1 gram of sugar). For example, a product containing 15 g of sugar has 60 calories from sugar per serving.
Keep in mind that if the product has no fruit or milk products in the ingredients, all of the sugars in the food are from added sugars. If the product contains fruit or milk products, the total sugar per serving listed on the label will include added and naturally occurring sugars.
Over the past 30 years, Americans have steadily consumed more and more added sugars in their diets, which has contributed to the obesity epidemic. Reducing the amount of added sugars we eat cuts calories and can help you improve your heart health and control your weight.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day, 25 grams for women and 9 teaspoons per day 30 grams, for men).
Monosaccharaides are one-molecule sugars, most commonly found in food are Glucose (blood sugar) Fructose (fruit sugar) and Galactose (found mainly in milk)
Sugar can contribute to dental cavities, elevate the level of fat in your blood, and lower the good HDL cholesterol. Foods with added sugars can rob your body of nutrition. A diet high in simple sugars causes insulin resistance, because of the constant release of insulin from the pancreas. The body begins to ignore it! Excess sugar causes; high cholesterol, triglyceride levels and hypertension and the development of type II diabetes.
Dietary Sweeteners The perception is that consumption of sweeteners will lead to a reduction in calories consumed. This in turn will lead to weight loss or prevention in weight gain. Unfortunately, this is not the case as detailed studies have not shown these sweeteners to reduce the number of calories consumed or to have any significant effect on body weight. In fact, aspartame may actually increase your appetite. Saccharin was banned in 1977 because it caused bladder cancer in rats.
Sugar Substitutes are sweet and sometimes sweeter than sugar but contain fewer calories.
Sucrose – 4 calories per gram (Table Sugar-found in tenderizes and enhances flavor, contributes to browning properties to baked goods)
*Stevia – is a natural sweetener extracted from the Stevia plant. (300 times sweeter that sucrose)
*Naturlose– low calorie natural sugar found in milk that has just been recognized as safe.
*Nectresse-from the Monk fruit, (green melon) in Central Asia, it is 150 times sweeter than sucrose.
Sorbitol – 2.6 calories per gram (Found in sugarless gum, baked goods, and candy, may cause diarrhea)
Mannitol – 1.6 calories per gram (Found in gum and jams)
Xylitol – 2.6 calories per gram (Found in gum and candy)
Saccharin– 0 calories per gram (Sweet Low)
Aspartame – 4 calories per gram (NutraSweet and Equal) 200 times Sweeter than sucrose
Sucralose– 0 calories per gram (Splenda) 600 times sweeter that sucrose
Since your body can’t identify these sweeteners, your body cannot metabolize them. They actually make you gain weight!
Saccharin was banned in 1977 because it caused bladder cancer in rats.
What to Eat:
Eat more whole fruits, which includes much needed fiber
Use Stevia as a sweetener. You can grow the plant and use the leaves to put in your tea or coffee for sweetness. You can also buy it in the grocery store.
Choose organic or locally grown fruits when available
Frozen fruits are great, add to smoothies
Dark Chocolate 60-70% pure cocoa
Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate add nuts
Fresh Berries, drizzle with honey